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February 14, 2011
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Maximum Ride: Yeah. It’s a Ride all right.

I admit, I dove into James Patterson’s Maximum Ride: Saving the World bracing myself much as you might do when diving into an unheated pool. This pool wasn’t just cold... there was no water. “Filled” to the very brim with empty characters, an unintentionally underdeveloped setting, and plots that broke faster than my attention-span with the novel, I couldn’t help but get the feeling it was not written by an author, but by a pack of indecisive chihuahuas frantically chipping away at the keyboard and, when bored with the way the plot was going, switched turns. Not that I’d blame them: frankly, I had to take a breather from Patterson’s bumbling prose fairly often myself.

If the title and shiny cover (probably the most alluring parts of Max Ride) hadn’t been enough warning that this book was for the young adult with an appreciation for sci-fi literature (read: adolescent nerd-geek), the first few pages should have screamed “STAY AWAY!” Maximum Ride is a 14-year-old girl who acts as surrogate mother to a constantly fluctuating number of half-bird/half-human hybrids. A group of the world’s most elite scientists have joined together to create Max and her “family” to destroy the world. I mean save it. I mean destroy it. Save. Destroy. Save. Destroy.

The third book in the series focuses particularly on Max’s journey to find her mother and, well, saving the world. However, James Patterson seems to have forgotten what he was writing about a couple times. There is a scene where Max believes her mother lives in a trailer pack, then her mother is a veterinarian. In one scene, Patterson must be smiling quietly to himself and thinking “aha! The super evil-villain-extraordinaire will be Max’s mother.” One problem: he decides she’s not. In the following scene, a minor character explains to Max that the villain is psychotic (well, duh) and believes that Max is her daughter. A whole lot of fighting ensues. Max, in her characteristically charming way, tears apart all robots (a staple, in Max Ride) in sight in a fit of passion. James Patterson, this passion was good. Now find a way to insert the emotion without death and mutilation every time.

Once Max gets the entire teenaged population behind her, defeating corporate big-box stores and pharmaceutical giants (not even an exaggeration) becomes a game. Don’t worry, I won’t give away the ending.

To fully explain all of these dropped endings (dreams, utopian society, romantic relationship), which not even the author managed to do, would make for a longer review than the novel itself. That’s why, when reading the book, it’s my recommendation that you take his words as is. Don’t look at any deeper meaning he may have tried to plant, do not look into character relationships. Sit back. Brace yourself. And try to endure the Ride: not even head honcho James knows where he’s going.

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MaxRide said...
Oct. 27, 2011 at 11:14 am
maximum ride is one of my absolute favorite books, and i think James Patterson just wanted to make it interesting, not lose focus.  I believe Maximum Ride is the BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN, so that is my opinion.
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