Fang: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson

26 Apr

 

Max is special. She is able to fly.

Part of a flock of children who have been genetically altered so that they are part human and part avian, she and her flock have wings and can fly like birds. They have faced many challenges in the past, but this new challenge will cost them dearly.

While working to promote the plight of the people in Africa, Max is approached by doctor who specializes in gene alteration. He needs Max’s help. And he has a surprise for Max.

Another bird kid named Dylan. The doctor insists that he has been created as Max’s other half.

But Max loves Fang. Their love has grown by leaps and bounds. But Max is conflicted; how can she love Fang when he is like a brother to her? Max is further conflicted when Angel makes a startling prediction:

Fang will be the first to die.

As if all this weren’t bad enough, there is someone else besides the doctor who wants to use the bird kids to their advantage. Someone who will stop at nothing until they are his. Even more bizarre, Jeb, their traitor from the past, returns with startling news of his own.

Max will have to use all of her smart, all of her cunning, so that her entire flock will survive…

I was hesitant to pick up this new adventure by James Patterson. There are a few reasons for this but first among them is the fourth book in the series The Final Warning.

Patterson had written three amazing book in the Maximum Ride Series and then, with the fourth book, switched tactics. Instead of a thrilling plot, monsters and battles, the winged kids are asked to help with environmental problems and ecological issues.

I had serious issues with that book. I don’t mind if an author has an agenda. I do mind if he or she puts that agenda into their books, especially books meant for children. After the dismal fourth book, I wondered if I was going to keep reading.

When Max, the fifth book in the series, came out, I decided to give it a shot. Half the size of the first three novels, it was way better than The Final Warning, but nowhere near as good as the first three books. And it still had that environmental message tacked on through out the novel.

With Fang, the go green message is toned down a little, but not by much. The story is better than The Final Warning and more emotional than Max, but in three hundred pages…not a heck of a lot happens.

This book felt like character development filler for the series. Sure, it was an alright read and took me only a day and a bit to devour, but it lacks the spark of the earlier novels in the series.

I normally make it a practise not to compare books to one another, but in this case I feel justified to do so. Patterson had hit gold with the first three books and has pretty much ruined a great series by filling it with a message. I also feel as if he’s just pumping them out now, putting out another book to get the money.

It’s like he doesn’t care about the characters anymore and is just moving them around the page until he’s gotten to his word or page limit. There is no life to the characters anymore, no oomph, no spark that was so evident in The Angel Experiment, Schools Out Forever and Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports. It’s as if The Final Warning, Max and Fang are poor copies of their originals.

I think, in the end, I picked up this book because I had the first five in the series and wanted the set to be complete. I wanted to find out if Patterson could make the series great again.

He hasn’t. When the next book in the series comes out (and there will be a next book I’m sure), I probably won’t be the only one who won’t buy it.

Instead, I’ll remember the series as it used to be.

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