The Angel Experimentby James Patterson
Book 1 of Maximum Ride
~ Goodreads ~
Rating: 1.0 Stars
In James Patterson's blockbuster series, fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the "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...like when 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 wack 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--this one involving 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 from her old friend and father-figure Jeb--now her betrayed and greatest enemy--that her purpose is save the world--but can she?
I guess being a popularly loved book doesn't necessarily make it a fantastic read. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy it, but to be totally honest, there were a LOT of points throughout that I found myself wanting to find something else to do. In fact, when I finally hit the halfway point, I began to look forward to the ending. And when I consistently checked my progress to see how much further I had until the I could stop reading this book, I realized that the first Maximum Ride installment was just NOT capturing my attention at all.
Sure, it was a fast-paced and simple read. I kept at it because there was always that lingering feeling of, "Something seems like it's about to get exciting." But nothing ever really happened. The first 75% of the book focused a little too much on the kids running and escaping and getting chased and running away and fighting Erasers (or getting shoved around by them) and mostly... well, did I mention running away? Okay, so there was that first story arc wherein the youngest of the Flock gets kidnapped and we must go and rescue her--but even with that, it seemed extremely bland. On top of that "rescue Angel" story arc, each of the rest of the kids kept going into their own little tangents for about two milliseconds and so we spent a lot more time travelling to rescue Angel than we should have. After that, it just kept getting less and less exciting (much less than it had even originally been).
When something finally started coming into focus for the central conflict (aside from running away and escaping) I had gotten a little excited. But then that excitement ebbed pretty quickly and I really just wanted to know when the book would end.
Honestly, the story line isn't a bad one and there is so much potential and future fun to be had with the rest of Maximum Ride and her adventures with the Flock. But somehow, as it had taken so long to even get the central conflict underway, with so much dragged out "running away" and "being beat up" and the like that I'm not sure I'm even really looking forward to the pacing of the second book. I'm curious to see where the rest of the story is headed. I was ecstatic about reading Maximum Ride because of the concept. But there's just too much filler material that could have been cut out completely and STILL the story would have taken off just fine.
I will wait out the next book, but much like for Witch and Wizard, I'm in no hurry to get there.
In an uncalled for comparison, I actually found Witch and Wizard much more appealing than Maximum Ride. At the very least, the story progressed very quickly and the humor was a lot more well-received in the former. In Maximum Ride, these kids get to being sarcastic, but it's the type that just makes you roll your eyes rather than laugh out loud (unlike in Witch and Wizard where I found myself chortling and chuckling so many times).
This review was originally posted at Goodreads in June 2012.