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James Patterson's 'Fang': A Review
I first tried reading James Patterson at age 13, but for some reason, his writing just never clicked with me. At the time, I was already reading and enjoying novels by similar writers so it wasn't a matter of content or maturity. Moving on, I put down Patterson and figured I'd never pick him up again. Interestingly enough, Fang came my way fourteen years later, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Clearly a story aimed at younger readers, Patterson tells a simple but intriguing tale that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Patterson successfully uses the voice of a fifteen year old and is chock full of phrases like crap, emo and WTH! It's actually quite refreshing to find such a good read that is void of any bloody fight scenes and lacks a single curse between it's covers. I couldn't help but chuckle out loud at the youthful sarcasm.
In this story, you'll follow Max. A tough teen who acts as leader to a flock of genetically engineered super humans with bird like wings attached to their backs. Ages ranging from 8-15 and talents ranging from super healing, mind reading and strength. As if puberty wasn't bad enough! These brave fighters oppose scientific testing and crimes against humanity. When the youngest member has a prophecy involving the demise of Fang, Max's right hand man and secret beau, her world is flipped upside down. Max tries to be strong and maintain her leadership, but the it's obvious that the prophecy troubles her greatly. As the flock returns home from a mission in the African desert, she puts her focus on downtime instead of future missions as a means of keeping Fang safe. However, when a mad scientist bent on surviving the upcoming 'apocalypse' ambushes their stronghold, it becomes apparent that Max is too distracted to lead efficiently. Thus, she is overthrown by a mutinous flock member.
I didn't realize at first that 'Fang' is part of a series. I was thrown into a mix of characters that I was already expected to know. Luckily, it doesn't take long to get acquainted with the team. There are a lot of references to previous novels, which get a little annoying, but don't interfere with the current plot too much. Chapters are short, two or three pages at max, which makes the book easy to read in short intervals.
All and all 'Fang' is a refreshing story. Just because I'm older than the target audience doesn't mean that I couldn't enjoy the tale. As endearing as Max and Nudge are, or as annoying as Angel may be, Patterson has opened my eyes to a world that I will absolutely revisit. Normally, I would advise to start at the beginning of a series, but if the rest are written like 'Fang' you could pick anyone of them up at any time. I'm curious as to see what led up to the events in 'Fang', so I'm excited to see what other youthful novels Patterson has to offer. For producing a story that anyone can read, and for providing a book that parents can give their kids without any reserve, I'll generously offer 'Fang' a four star score.
The Mass Market paperback prices make Fang really easy to try.
This is book 1 of the Maximum Ride series. This will most likely be my next James Patterson book.