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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane… It’s a Flock of Flying Kids?!

September 17, 2009

Erin will kill me if I don’t write something on this series! James Patterson has taken a step away from co-authoring thrillers and mysteries to create a new series: Maximum Ride.

In the spirit of X-Men and The Fantastic Four, the series tells the story of six genetic experiments known as Max, Fang, Nudge, Iggy, Angel, and the Gasman, and their dog Total, a group whose DNA was altered to create superhuman kids with wings. Do not adjust your computer screen. I’ve read all five of the books, and believe me, there are feathers galore. The series is comprised of five books, titled The Angel Experiment, School’s Out- Forever, Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, The Final Warning, and Max. That the series has become as popular as it has is no surprise. For those of you that worried that mutants and superheros and talking, flying dogs had gone out of style, fear not.

So why is the series so popular? Short chapters! I jest, but that may have something to do with it. It’s a book geared towards a younger demographic that seems to have suddenly given up on books with lengthy chapters. (I still prefer a good thirty-page chapter, thanks much.) It’s an easy read. Max, the main character (she’s a girl, just to eliminate any confusion), narrates most of the story. (I have never met a more sarcastic, smart-alecky character in my life. So, that’s a plus there.) The fact that these kids have escaped a wicked institution ironically known as “the School” and are living on their own by their own means seems to be appealing as well. They are stronger than the average person (i.e., they’re handy in a fight), and are unafraid to dumpster-dive behind a McDonalds to get dinner. They are living the life that every kid dreams about at one point or another.

Or so it seems. Apparently, these six bird kids are not the only genetic experiments the School has manufactured. They are continually chased by Erasers (School, Erasers, ha ha!), a breed of lycanthropic super-hunters that seem determined to destroy them and bring them back to the School, whichever happens first. To this deadly recipe, add that the Erasers have similar super-human strength. When Max and her friends are attacked and one of their own is kidnapped, Max and the flock set out to recover their friend and stop the School’s research. Having grown up in a laboratory with no knowledge of their past, they are also on a mission to discover their origins, something that the School never wanted them to find out.

Overall a good series, and one that any kid who ever dreams of flying should have a go at reading!

(Maximum Ride, the film, is set to hit the big screen in 2010. It’s also been adapted into a graphic novel.)

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