Parents' Guide to

Maximum Ride, Book 1: The Angel Experiment

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

OK series launch about flock of mutants. Tweens.

Maximum Ride, Book 1: The Angel Experiment Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 20 parent reviews

age 9+

That’s the thing. It’s just bad.

It might be surprising, given James Patterson’s reputation as both a great author and a popular one. But even reading the book as a 9-year-old I easily identified the flaws while reading the story. The massive ones, the ones that made the story not even worth bothering to read. The humor is feeble. The small tidbits of humor inserted into the story add nothing to it—and in most cases, aren’t even funny. The characters are shallow, somehow. Fang is the generic cool-guy who, despite being described as the pillar that the main character (Maximum Ride) relies on, did nothing. Nudge, Gazzy, and Iggy are just THERE, only there for the benefit of making it feel a bit more like a family. Angel is—if you read the next book or 2—starting to become some kind of monk that fails at her job and doesn’t act like a family member at all. And Max is the cause of all the problems that occur in this book, rushing off like a hero in every circumstance and being quite idiotic about it, and if you read in between the lines you can detect a sort of arrogance and self-centeredness that frankly makes her not at all likable. And finally, the plot. THE PLOT. There is only one plotline I’ve ever found to be so incomplete, incomprehensible, or so filled with gaping holes, and it’s also by James Patterson, coincidentally (Confessions of a Murder Suspect). The characters aren’t living, they’re surviving. They’re rushing around, gaining new superpowers with no satisfactory explanation, and they don’t feel human anymore. They’re meeting random people who, in the end, do nothing. Reading into the last book, I almost didn’t finish the series because of the inexplicable changes that keep randomly occurring. HOW does Dr. Martinez even play into the book in ANY WAY? It also doesn’t help that every chapter is about 2 pages long and every other chapter contains some bloody battle that the flock always comes out on top of. It’s like the author’s just sticking things into the book to make it longer. You could compile the entire series if you got rid of the bad elaborations to the plot into a single novel that would be a lot more complete than anything a ten-book series can accomplish.

This title has:

Too much violence
1 person found this helpful.
age 13+

Maximum Ride Review

I love the Maximum Ride series. I first read these books when I was 13 years old and I would stay up until 3am reading each night because I couldn't put them down! I am re-reading them now as a 20 year old and, yes, I can see how they could be perceived as poorly written or having plot holes here and there, but for some reason I am able to look past all that. I love the characters and the adventures they have and how a badass female is in charge. I also am now realizing the educational benefit of these books, specifically The Final Warning, in regards to climate change. I think these books are perfect for middle school age. But I still love coming back to them occasionally as an adult. I love how much these books engage my imagination!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (20 ):
Kids say (147 ):

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.

Book Details

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