Maximum Ride, Book 1: The Angel Experiment

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Maximum Ride, Book 1: The Angel Experiment Book Poster Image
OK series launch about flock of mutants. Tweens.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 25 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 130 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Mutant tale has a message about the danger of scientific advancements, but it's muffled by mediocrity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The heroes steal money and a car.

Violence

Lots, some pretty brutal, with blood, broken noses and bones, knocked-out teeth, and some deaths, guns, explosions, and car chases.

Sex

A kiss.

Language
Consumerism

Some mentioned directly: soda, cookie, electronics, games. Some thinly disguised, such as AFO Schmidt instead of FAO Schwartz.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is a lot of violence here, some of it quite brutal, including serious injuries. There are broken noses and bones, knocked-out teeth, and some deaths, guns, explosions, and car chases. The marketing for this book is also pretty intense, including Blogspot and MySpace pages and a contest to put together a tie-in music CD.

User Reviews

Adult Written bynevadamistermom April 9, 2008

Definitely PG-13

Before I start, let me note that I'm writing this review primarily for parents, not the tweens/teens for whom Mr. Patterson has targeted with this series o... Continue reading
Adult Written byaln669 April 9, 2008

Excellent book. Great discussion source. Highly Recommend

To start with, I have personally enjoyed this series. Next, I have to disagree with nevadamistermom's review. I find this series of books a wonderful res... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byEliasador February 18, 2011

Worse than Twilight

I cannot believe that anybody would actually think this is a good book. It is an easy read (poorly written). It is a shallow book with no profound or original m... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTrinly April 5, 2011

Maximum Ride, a fitting title for an epic series

This will forever be my favorite book series. When I first bought the books, I read them in one day each. The first three, however, were by far the best.

What's the story?

Max and five other kids, "the flock," were created by evil scientists at a place called the School, by combining human and avian DNA. They can fly, are unusually strong, and have a variety of other talents, some just emerging. Before the book begins they have escaped from the School, where the scientists were keeping them in cages and torturing them with experiments, and have been living on their own.

The youngest of the flock, Angel, is recaptured, and the rest fly back to the school to rescue her. Now they are being hunted by Erasers, human/wolf mutants also created at the School, while they travel across the country, trying to discover the secrets of their origins and purposes.

Is it any good?

Author James Patterson, best known for adult suspense novels, makes a passable foray into the young adult market with this book about a group of human/bird hybrids. For teens who just want action and excitement and who don't much care about the niceties -- such as logic, character development, consistent voice, or plot -- this will be plenty of fun. There's lots of gritty violence, but no sex, drugs, or language problems to worry parents (at least those who don't worry about gritty violence). And there's the fantasy of winged flight, which is always a kid-pleaser.

The entire book amounts to little more than a prologue to the series: Despite more than 400 pages of chases, fights, break-ins, and almost non-stop action, practically nothing actually happens. The main characters are captured, they escape, they are cornered, they escape, they are wounded, they recover, they try to hide, they are found, over and over again. In truth, very little of it makes any kind of sense, though there are plenty of hints that it will eventually -- just not in this book.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the idea of human and animal experimentation and whether or not it's ethical.

  • In the book, the scientists are clearly the bad guys, but are these types of experiments ever justified?

  • You can also discuss the book's marketing. Why the tie-in CD and Web sites?

  • Are there different standards for book and movie marketing?

  • Could this kind of aggressive, movie-style marketing of a book actually be a good thing, or is it just manipulative?

Book details

For kids who love adventure

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