The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
Published by Hachette Book Group on April 1, 2007
Series: Maximum Ride #1
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 422 pages Source: Borders
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Maximum Ride and her "flock"-Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel-are just like ordinary kids, only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time.Angel, the youngest member of the flock, is kidnapped and taken back to the "School" where she and the others were experimented on by a crew of whack jobs. Her friends brave a journey to blazing hot Death Valley, CA, to save Angel, but soon enough, they find themselves in yet another nightmare: fighting off the half-human, half-wolf "Erasers" in New York City. Whether in the treetops of Central Park or in the bowels of the Manhattan subway system, Max and her adopted family take the ride of their lives. Along the way, Max discovers that her purpose is save the world. But can she?
This book (and series) has a lot of hype around it, and hype can either improve or destroy my perception of a book. I tried, really tried hard to love Maximum Ride, but I didn’t. I just didn’t. It wasn’t the character – Max was well-formed and so was her flock. I think it was the plot. The plot was everywhere. And part of my frustration with the plot went along with the fact that, for one reason or another, when I read “The Angel Experiment,” I related that to the character Angel and not the obvious fact that these kids look like angels. So negative five points to me. But I still didn’t love it. However, some of the best series start off with a questionable first book, and you just have to be confident that everything will come together.
I really did like the concept, though. Genetic experiments gone wrong are my favorite type of science-fiction. I will be reading more, because there are a lot of unanswered questions, but I’m not compelled to pick up the next book immediately and read it. The questions just aren’t that pressing to me. The book is, as most of my read, geared towards a younger audience and perhaps things like the questionable maybe-it-will-happen? romance will compel readers to fly (no pun intended!) to book two. Or it may be that I’m just tired of the “omg who is she totally into?” sub plot.
There’s a lot of running in this book, which serves its purpose, but grows tiresome. Stylistically, Patterson does keep it moving, and if there’s going to be a lot of running (and flying!) around, then it really needs to be written with great flow, which Patterson definitely accomplishes.
This is great for a light, easy read. It’s enjoyable, even if I didn’t find it compelling. Max is a strong female lead who accepts help but doesn’t grovel for it. She definitely stands on her own two feet, and it’s always nice to see a protagonist like that!