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
Parents recommendPopular with kids
OK series launch about flock of mutants. Tweens.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 151 reviews

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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.


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


A kiss.


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

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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
Adult Written bybookworm__ December 30, 2019

Great Writing with Mature Themes and Discussions

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson is a fast-paced action novel geared towards young adults. The book is written from the perspective of Maxi... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byhihihihi April 25, 2017

Maximum Ride Review

Maximum ride has no point. A bunch of mutant kids with wings with SUPERPOWERS are running from mutant WEREWOLVES. As creative as this idea is, there is no deep... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 23, 2014


Who would dare hate this book. It's AMAZING

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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

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