Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

It is kind of funny to watch the little YouTube video about this book on Amazon. I don't know if it was a good marketing tool to put the author on the video. He looks like such a stoggy old fogey, but that is not how he writes. James Patterson carefully fashions his YA books to include everything that he thinks teens will like and he has an amazing ability to recreate a believable teen voice. The Maximum Ride series is about a group of children, lead by a 15 year old girl named Max, who are are the product of genetic engineering gone bad. They are humans whose genes have been grafted with bird genes so that the children each have wings and can fly. In addition, during this book they begin to discover that they have other special abilities, like mind reading and super strength. At the beginning of the book, they are living in a nice happy flock, in a secluded house in the mountains of Colorado, when the youngest of the group is kidnapped by the bad guys at the lab where they were all originally created and tested. Now all the others in the flock must rescue Angel, and on the way they learn more about their origins and purpose in life. Patterson is good at portraying their conflicted emotions: their joy in flight, their longing to find out about their families, their sense of betrayal by the only adult they ever trusted. He also includes some teen culture candy, like the kids get to attend a rock concert, and have a punk makeover for free. This was a fun book, though a few times I rolled my eyes when new powers popped up"conveniently" right when they needed them. I am grateful, in this book, that Patterson generally avoids the kind of language that is in some of his other books written for an older audience. (444 p)

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