Book: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Author: James Patterson
Pages: 413 (Paperback)
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Age Recommendation: 13+
Publisher: Headline Book Publishing
“Can you giggle while racing for your life and protecting a six-year-old? I can.”
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment is the first in a series of eight books in Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. It is set in the USA in the near future and follows the story of the ‘Flock’; Maximum Ride (Max), Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy and Angel. (To get an idea of the age range at this stage, the oldest character, Max is around 14 years old and Angel, the youngest, is 6). In this book, and the majority of the others, it focuses entirely on Max; the leader of the Flock and the first-person narrator of the story.
The Flock is a group of human-avian hybrids (98% human, 2% bird) who are on the run from the scientists who created them. It sounds confusing but it’s easy enough to understand: each member of the Flock was raised in a science lab since before they can remember and the scientists like to experiment with different DNA which means each of these kids has a pair of wings.
In The Angel Experiment, you get an overview of the Flock. You get to hear a bit about their back story and how they’ve ended up living on their own in a remote mountain home. It also gives you an introduction to Erasers; the half-wolf, half-human antagonists also created by the scientists.
This is a book I was introduced to when I took part in ‘The Hampshire Book Awards’ in 2008.The task was to read a collection of books and vote on your favourite for the award and those involved all got to meet up with other bookworms in local schools and at the end meet the winning author. Maximum Ride didn’t win but it was never far from it. The science fiction theme makes it really different from the other Young Adult fiction novels that are so common these days. It’s not about vampires or werewolves and there is very little focus on romance until the later books. The fact the book is written from Max’s point of view is really fun – she’s sarcastic and witty and a really bad-ass female character you’ll start to wish you could be like. It’s also nice because it’s one of those books with small simple chapters and plenty of action throughout the entire book. It is so easy to read it quickly.
I can’t stress how much I loved reading this series. I pre-ordered most of them the moment they were released and persuaded the school librarian to order them in and keep them aside for me to read first. The characters are fantastic and the story is addictive. I won’t lie to you though I had one little problem. As time went on I did start to get disappointed with where the story was heading. Parts of the storyline were just not what I wanted. However, saying that I did not regret reading any of them and would not take back the 8 years I spent obsessing over how the story would end. I would definitely recommend giving them a try.
Film Adaption: This book was originally supposed to be adapted into a movie in 2007. Since then the release date has changed a number of times and still has not been confirmed. It appears the movie is stuck in pre-production so don’t get your hopes up anytime soon – I did 6 years ago and I am still waiting…