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Go along for a Maximum Ride

This review was written as part of a MotherTalk blog tour, and books were received from the publisher for review. Please also check out my review of book 4The Final Warning!

James Patterson’s third Maximum Ride book, Maximum Ride #3: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, is just as thrilling and engrossing as his first two books in the series, (reviewed below). How could you not want to read about the lives of 6 kids with wings who are trying to escape evil scientists and save the world? It’s engaging, exciting, and impossible to put down – you need to know what happens next! As soon as you start, you’ll be sucked into the lives of Max, Fang, Total, Nudge, Iggy, and Gassman.

As with the first two books in the series, Maximum Ride #3 is about teenagers Max (a girl) and Fang (a boy) trying to save their “flock” of four other children who have been genetically engineered to fly. These kids have real wings! They are trying to keep away from the general media, as well as from scientists bent on destroying them. In this third book, Max and Fang have some disagreements about how to lead the flock, and also how to save the world. Unlike many series, this one pulls you in more and more with each successive book.

Max wants to keep a low profile as the kids fly to different places to save the world from the scientists. Fang, however, wants to get some grassroots support for their cause. Fang creates a blog, and tries to get kids around the world to help him. The flock splits in two over the disagreement, but nothing can cut the ties between the flying kids. They are forever tied together in a fight against the Erasers (creatures and robots engineered just to “erase” someone’s existance), and because they are all flying kids.

I love that Max is a girl, and that she is the leader. Girls in charge and kicking butt (quite literally in this case, destroying horrible creatures set to eliminate them) are something I love in teen/tween books, especially as the mother of 3 girls! There are a ton of fantasy books with boys as the main characters, but not very many with girls who are taking charge of everything! The world needs more people like Max – she’s a great role model for tween/teen girls! (It’s a good read for anyone else who needs a bit of female empowerment – Maximum Ride 3 isn’t just a great young adult book, it’s a great book, period.)

I recommend reading the whole Maximum Ride series – if you’re in the 10-100 age range, go along for a great ride! (and make sure you have all 3 near you – you want to read them all at once!) While you’re reading them, make sure you check out the website for the series – it’s incredibly cool, and it will definitely lure you into the world of Max, Fang, Angel, and the other bird kids.

In the first book, the eponymous Maximum Ride is a 14 year old girl who was genetically modified (along with 5 other kids) to be an avian/human hybrid. They are tall, lean, have super-fast metabolisms – and they can fly! Max and her “flock” (3 girls/3 boys) are being hunted by the Erasers – a human/lupine (that’s wolf) hybrid that were built to kill.

In James Patterson’s first book of the series, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, the Flock is living in a home together when the youngest, Angel (6) disapears. Max divides the flock – 2 stay home in case Angel comes back (Gazzy (8yo boy) and Iggy (14yo boy, blind and good cook)) while Max, Fang (14yo boy), and Nudge (11yo girl) go to the School where they had been kept in cages to rescue Angel. The story flips between Max’s first person storytelling, and third person from the members of the flock separated from her, but it flips seamlessly.

The Angel Experiment is a fast moving book – there isn’t a lot of break in the action! You find out all different exciting things about each of the members of the Flock, and you quickly become an enthusiastic supporter. The characters stay true to themselves, a clear sign that James Patterson’s success with adult books didn’t fly away in the night when he started writing for the Young Adult audience! The chapters are very short – only 2-5 pages, so they are great for reluctant readers, as well as for folks who can only read in short bursts due to multiple interruptions (oh, like Moms for example!).

Maximum Ride: School’s Out Forever continues the story of Max and her flock. The flock is continuing in their attempts to evade the Erasers and save the world. The flock gets a few weeks rest and are able to attend a “normal” school, where Fang gets kissed and Max goes on a date! They also search for their parents, using files they have stolen from the people who changed them and experimented on them.

It’s really interesting to see the Flock try to integrate into a regular school – Iggy and Gazzy still like to try to explode things, Max is still twitchy about being anywhere for too long, Fang is still not very talkative, and Nudge is talkative enough to make up for several people. At one point, a Max, phase 2 is introduced – could she really take the place of Max? School’s Out Forever succeeds where so many other books fail – you aren’t sure which is better, the original or the sequel! An absolutely engrossing, page turning book.

Maximum Ride #3: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports is the third, wonderful book. It absolutely keeps up with the pace and quality set by the first two books.

Don’t let this series’ classification as Young Adult keep you from reading it – it should be engrossing to anyone. The level of death/scariness of being followed is too high for my 9 year old daughter, but many kids her age or a bit older would be just fine with it. It really does qualify as a 10-100 age range book!

Make sure you check out MaximumRide.com for updates on a movie, a video of Max soaring over New York City, and a lot more. Don’t forget to check out Fang’s blog!

Update: The Final Warning: A Maximum Ride Novel, book 4 is now available for pre-order. Check out our review!

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