My Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5
Author: James Patterson
Genre: YA Fiction
Six unforgettable kids — with no families, no homes — are running for their lives. Max Ride and her best friends have the ability to fly. And that’s just the beginning of their amazing powers. But they don’t know where they come from, who’s hunting them, why they are different from all other humans… and if they’re meant to save mankind — or destroy it. (Goodreads)
“Because what’s worse than knowing you want something, besides knowing you can never have it?”
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, an action-packed novel, follows a misfit group of mutant kids with wings, a psycho group of scientists who created them, and their race to find who they are and where they truly come from. This perplexing story about leadership and integrity eventually ends in regret.
The author of this book, James Patterson, has created an incredibly interesting and complex conflict throughout the book. There are the classic malicious antagonists called White Coats; a group of corrupt geneticists who fuse various DNA from animals and combine them with humans. Then we have a group of misfit kids who have wings; the most successful of experiments conducted by them. There are also other experiments made successful by the Whitecoats called Erasers; a group of subjects who can morph into wolves. Throughout the book, readers experience a conflict between these six winged kids and the Erasers in affiliation with the White Coats. It starts with the six flying kids who call themselves “The Flock” living in hiding from the Erasers. Eventually, the youngest of them, Angel, gets kidnapped and taken back to the White Coats. Their goal is then led by the main protagonist Maximum Ride to rescue Angel from the wicked scientists. Once they rescue her, however, their goal is to find a secret institute in New York to find the truth about themselves, while trying to fight off vicious Erasers. Getting tracked by White Coats and trying to survive, the conflict is resolved when the Flock finds out about who they truly are. Ending in the regret of Maximum killing her brother she never knew was her’s, the conflict contributes to the overall theme of integrity because of Max’s growing strength, and protecting her family throughout the story.
The narration is set back and forth in first person between each member of the Flock, depending on their stance in the story. Initially following the main character Max, the author shows her experience of trying to care for everyone in the Flock. She struggles to be a perfect leader and keeps the group on their feet in hard times. As the Flock splits up for various reasons the author shows the point of view of each character to set the mood of each chapter. In doing this each character is well rounded, and the setting feels real to the reader. We see the struggles of Max trying to rescue Angel, and what she feels on her journey, and the Flock sees what it’s like to live out of hiding in actual civilization. In the end, Max captures the spirit of the Flock, united as one.
I really loved this book, because it had a perfect balance between action, suspense, integrity, and finding where you belong in a world where you don’t fit in. I have been meaning to read this book and many people have recommended it to me, but I just never got to reading it until now. Now I understand why this story is loved by many. It shows the struggles and stages of childhood and the hardships of being a leader. I enjoyed the way Maximum thought and her sense of humor. I saw through the eyes of a six-year-old who has powers no one else has, and the continuous fight of teaching her how not to take advantage of her powers. Then there’s the rest of them, all with unique gifts and running from a horror no other child has experienced. All the aspects of these main characters with unique gifts and their fight for their freedom will truly thrill readers for years to come.