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James Patterson's 'Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment': A Review

Updated on April 1, 2012
The Angel Experiment: A Maximum Ride Novel (Book 1)
The Angel Experiment: A Maximum Ride Novel (Book 1)

This is the first book of the series. Definitely a series worth investing some time in!


Pages: 413

Rating: *****

Is it a bad thing that a full grown adult gets so much enjoyment out of reading a series written for 10-12 year old kids? Regardless, it means I'm guilty! I'm finding that I really enjoy the pure art of Patterson's story telling abilities. While the 'Maximum Ride' series is not the usual brand of extra gory graphic novel that I'm drawn to, I actually start to feel more like a kid myself when reading these stories with such giddy excitement. In reality, this could be considered a testament of the quality of the story and how timeless it has the potential to be.

Max is a cool kind of leader. Smart, witty, brave, strong and ruthless, she is also a super genetic hybrid. She has the appearance of your average teenage girl, but with the strength of five full grown men and magnificent bird like wings attached to her back. She and her fellow 'bird kids': Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Angel and The Gasman grew tired of being scientific pin cushions, and managed to escape from their prison inside a research facility known as The School. Each member of the flock has a special skill which they gradually discover.

Life in hiding inside a massive mountain tree house is blissful. Well, as far as six young kids are concerned. It's the kind of life where finding food is the chore and cleaning your room is like fighting the ultimate enemy. Yep, life is definitely good! Until a group of scientifically engineered human and wolf hybrids attack their little compound. Despite their best efforts, the flock if viciously beaten and little Angel is kidnapped. Grief stricken, Max launches an all out suicide rescue mission to save her littlest warrior. Along the way, the flock will find unlikely allies and dark foes who would give their all to exterminate the team. Does Max have the strength to rescue Angel? Can she keep her flock alive? How will she keep from winding up a prisoner right along side Angel?

Max is clearly the endearing character here. While we get several glimpses into each bird kid's personality, the story is 90% told from her perspective. Overly critical, suspicious and sarcastic: Max delivers some great one liners that will keep the reader grinning. Incredibly fast paced and addicting, I couldn't tear myself away and finished the story in a mere two days. Patterson does a fantastic job crafting characters that are easy to identify with. When there is a set back, I feel their pain. When they celebrate, I feel on top of the world. When they have a rare moment of bonding time, I feel like I'm part of the flock. Smart and funny, this novel easily soars above the rest. I really like the fact that there is a lack of foul language. Patterson respects the age barrier and for that gains my respect as well. The only real negative I have is the ending. It ends abruptly, leaving the reader wondering what happens next. I understand that a series has to leave itself open, but I just didn't feel satisfied with the way it left me hanging. One extra paragraph about the flock flying into the sunset would have fit the bill perfectly. Despite the ending, the lovable characters, sharp wit and non stop excitement and thrills earns Max's misfit crew an easy five stars.

Which flock member do you identify the most with?

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