The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Book 1) by James Patterson

 maximumride1patterson1The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Book 1)

 by James Patterson

  • VOYA: 4P4Q M
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316067954
  • ISBN-13: 978-031606795

In this introduction to the series, Patterson throws the reader directly into the action with little preamble.  The result is a fast-paced crash course in everything Maximum Ride.   Meet the Flock– Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman, and Angel– and the cast of diabolical whitecoats including father-figure-turned-traitor Jeb and his eraser-fied son, Ari.  Readers may be confused by the quick introductions, but Max’s voice is clear and strong and she provides interesting portraits of each character.  In some ways, the full immersion technique serves to make the story and the characters seem immediate.  The reader certainly feels as though they are a part of the action from page one as Max addresses him or her directly.  As the flock battles their way across the country in an attempt to rescue their beloved Angel, the reader picks up pieces of the history of this ragtag group of genetically engineered birdkids and begins to understand their defiance and strength.  As the story closes, Patterson includes an interesting montage of mixed media including blogs from Fang as he and Nudge set out to clear a path for the group.  The transition is a little jarring and comes off sort of as an afterthought, but since this part could not have been explained by Max, the effect is not entirely wasted.  Readers should find themselves relating to and emotionally invested in at least one of the flock.  Each has a clear voice and is well developed and realistic (despite the wings).  For fans of science fiction and fantasy, The  Angel Experiment does not disappoint and provides an effective introduction to the series to come.  Young readers may be disturbed by the mild violence, especially when Max is faced with the moral dilemma of killing Ari so parents should be prepared to discuss these issues.  There is a very mild romantic undercurrent between two of the main characters, but it is neither graphic nor inconsistent with the characters presented.  Max’s motherly repoire with the rest of the flock is touching and provides a nice counterpoint to her fiesty independence and determination.

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