If you name yourself Maximum Ride, you better be prepared for something like that.

Hey guys! Been a while.

I’ve been having one of those too-young-to-be-having mid-life-crisis-y moments.  As a result, I’ve been feeling pretty small. It’s all go to do with my chemistry major – I always thought I’d end up loving what I study. Four years later, I’m still not feelin’ the love. And graduating with this depressed feeling is… well, not great. I feel kind of loose and direction-less and it sucks. Well, anyway, that’s why I haven’t been around. Been too busy thinking about this and surfing the web, talking to people, attending forums, hoping that maybe there’s a chemistry related career possibility that I could end up loving and embracing.

So, back to the books.

Title: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

Author: James Patterson

Genre: Science-fiction

Days to read it: One

Suggested reading atmosphere: Bored? Need some action and need it now? Well, get off your brain couch and exercise your imagination by reading this.

Review:

I finished reading James Patterson’s Maximum Ride: The angel experiment. It was quite the adrenaline ride.

Humans and animals – what’s with our overwhelming desire to transcend the inter-species boundary and see what we get? A pig-snake? A snake-pig? An unethical mess?

Max Ride and her crew are scientific success stories. With a retractable package of wings, hawk vision and other powers, they could pretty much go and do whatever they like. But the baby-stealing mad scientists of the book would rather shock them to test their reaction time, run them to exhaustion to test their stamina and, oh yes, to keep them sleep deprived and antsy by sending other genetically modified dog-people with no morals after them. The relentless march of visionaries!

At the same time this is all happening, Max, the oldest of the gang, tries to fill that missing void in their lives – family. A place to put trust and love. Who can they trust in this world? Good looking people with honey sweet voices? White coats with curious, unfeeling eyes and syringes? What starts out as a rescue mission slowly becomes a quest to discover the truth of their birth, a quest to figuring out why they were made, heck, a quest to find real homemade cookies. It’s that ultimate need to belong. To be able to crash on the couch and watch after school TV programs, receive a goodnight’s kiss from a loved one – to be accepted. But someone with wings can only be a flying freak show, right?

In this novel we have a glimpse of this on-the-run lifestyle from inside Max’s mind the most. She must make difficult decisions that could lead the others – her family – into danger and worse. Not only does she have to be on constant alert for very large dog-like mutants with bad breath and smug one-liners, she has to think of basic survival necessities – which dumpster has food that’s still relatively fresh? Which hole in the subway also has good escape routes? And things keep getting worst. As a mutant she has no idea how long she’ll last before her brain implodes from the instability of the avian DNA. And someone or something keeps hinting that she has a huge quest to save the world, to boot. But she’s tough, and she’s determined and she has a strong sense of justice. I like her.

The other characters are equally endearing. Fang, the second oldest – most in tune with his animal half, just as tough as Max, silent and broody and single worded. Iggy, the bomb building geek who lost his sight due to an experiment gone wrong. Nudge who feels the strongest need to search for her family as well as the strongest need to fill up the silence with chatter. Gazzy, a little hero in the making whose courage outweighs his fears. And, Angel, a sweet little girl with crazy powers. With such a big quest on everyone’s mind, they’ll need all the solidarity they can get.

Be prepared for surprises, on-the-tip-o-your-toes action, dry wit and a really, a pretty good story. The ending is a cliff-hanger, and I’m left wishing I had bought the book after this (but knowing that I should probably be doing some work, now).

Excerpt:

Hours went by. In the dictionary, next to the word stress, there is a picture of a midsize mutant stuck inside a dog crate, wondering if her destiny is to be killed or to save the world.

Okay, not really. But there should be.

If you can think of anything more nerve-wracking, more guaranteed to whip every fiber in your body up in a knot, you let me know.

[…]

When Angel whispered, “Where are Gazzy and Iggy?” I just shrugged. Her face fell, and I looked hard at her. They got away. They’re okay.

She read my thoughts, gave a tiny nod, then gradually slumped against the side of her crate, worn out.

After that, all I could do was send meaningful glances.

For hours.

My headache was back, and when I shut my eyes all these images danced on the backs of my eyelids.

At one point a whitecoat came in and dumped another “experiment” into the crate next to mine. I glanced over, curious, then quickly turned away, my heart aching. It looked enough like a kid to make me feel sick, but more like a horrible fungus. Huge pebbly growths covered most of its body. It had few fingers and only one toe, suck onto the end of a foot like a pod. Senseless blue eyes looked out at me, blinked.

Sometime in the next half hour, I realized the “experiment” was no longer breathing. It had died, right next to me.

Horror-struck, I looked across at Angel. She was crying. She knew.

Rating: 4.5/5 teddy bears dressed as angels

Other Reviews:

– Darla at Books and other thoughts: “The book ends with a few questions answered – but those questions all raise new issues, and challenges, for Max and her friends, and I will definitely be continuing with the series so I can accompany Max on her further high-flying adventures.”

– Nish from Nishita’s Rants and Raves: “And you know what, this book was not too bad. I can’t say I loved the book or the writing. But, I did like the characters and the concept. The book drags strangely in places (the numerous narrow escapes from sticky situations got real tired real soon). I also did not like the concept where each time they are in a spot, one of the kids discovers some strange power within themselves to solve the problem.”

– Enna Isilee from Squeaky Books: “I really enjoyed this book. I’ve heard bits and peices about it throughout the years it’s been out, but I’ve never had the interest to pick it up myself. I’m really glad I did.”

– Not Nessie from Today’s Adventure: “In summary, this is a great book, I will for sure be reading the rest of the series if I can ever snatch them before those sneaky teens at my library get their grubby hands in there.

– Sandy from You’ve GOTTA read this!: “I was mildly entertained by this audio. I would not put it in the class of The Hunger Games, but would liken it more to the Pendragon series.”

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10 comments

  1. Thanks for linking to my review Sharry. I can’t say I enjoyed this book as much as you did. It is one of the better James Patterson books though, and I loved all the children 🙂

    Sorry to hear that you are questioning your choice of study. Sometimes , years of study can kill interest in something. Hope you find something in these forums that will bring back your interest and enthusiasm in the subject

  2. Nish – I wouldn’t have read the book at all if not for the huge book sale (it was 30% off!). I think the book was a nice change for me – the fast paced action compared to the slow pace of my life right now, which might contribute to why I may have liked it more than you 🙂 Haha, I hope I can refresh my passion too! (I just hope I’m not a commit-o-phobe)

  3. You have my complete sympathy, Sharry. Realising after four years that psychology was very much Not For Me was… well, not one bit fun. Wishing you the best.

  4. Good to have you back! And I sympathize with your dilemma so, so much. I was not not not expecting it to be so difficult, after graduating from college, to work out what I wanted from Life. *hug*

  5. Nymeth – I have to stop thinking that it was a complete waste of four years – if anything it really proves how well I can stick to something even if I don’t really like it all that much, I suppose 🙂 Its makes me feel better to hear that you had not-fun moments, too!
    Jenny – Time passed by so fast that I can’t believe I hadn’t posted anything for months 😮 The hard part definitely feels like adjusting to “real life”. I may be relatively good at school, but could I work and find happiness with what I learned? Feelin’ the love from you guys!

  6. I’m glad you enjoyed this! I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on the second one. I haven’t read beyond that, mostly because I’m beginning to suspect that many of my questions aren’t going to be answered in a satisfying way. But I don’t think I’ve given up altogether.

    It may be that your studies have given you necessary background to take a new step – you never know! It wasn’t until I got a job at a library while getting my first graduate degree that I realized that I probably should be getting a library degree too, which I eventually did. Life is funny – you never know! Sorry, though, about the disappointment.

  7. Several people I know have read this book, and they had mixed reactions. I’ve never thought about picking it up until I read your review. Now I have it in my mental TBR stack– Thanks!

  8. Darla – Yeah, I have the same feeling about this series! I’m intrigued, because the characters are likable but I don’t know if James Patterson has something planned or he’s just going to keep on writing until there’s no other plot twist he can twist up left. It’s definitely a series that I’d like to keep on reading, just because I like the characters, though. Life is funny! I hope I can just learn to trust myself and what I “like” and see what I can do with it 🙂
    Allegra – I definitely encourage you to read it! It’s not as great as HP or HDM, but there’s something about the characters that I like. Definitely put it on your mental stack 😛

  9. Good luck with your next step! Maybe you could go into science writing–combine words and all your knowledge of chemistry…A friend of mine got her degree in chemistry, and then went into chemical patent law, which I thought was very cool.

  10. Just happened to stumble on your blog, and I love it!
    I’ve always wanted to read the Maximum Ride series and haven’t gotten into them yet. I guess I’ll have to check them out.
    I just started a new book/movie blog that I would love for you to check out. Thanks!

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