Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment is full of the kind of action that you don't usually see happening to your typical teenage protagonist. Max (short for Maximum) is a fourteen-year-old girl who can fly, kick serious mutant butt, and take a cross-country trip to New York City without having to ask her guardians for permission first. Are you jealous? We kind of are.
Author James Patterson has quite the track record when it comes to exciting thrillers—in fact, his bibliography lists over one hundred books that he's published. He created the popular Alex Cross series and the super juicy Women's Murder Club series, and now he's brought his A-game to the young adult sci-fi genre with Maximum Ride, a series of books about a flock of human-avian mutant kids who have formed an unconventional family and are living on their own. It's a bit like X-Men meets The Boxcar Children.
In a note to the reader at the beginning of the book, Patterson admits that the idea for the book came from some of his earlier books: When the Wind Blows and To the Lake House. Those books also have a character named Max who runs away from a terrible school—but that's pretty much the end of the connections. Those particular books don't involve animal-human hybrid kids or anything like that; it's all saved for the Maximum Ride series.
The book centers on the flock's search for the truth about their origins and their purpose in life. Because they were basically made in a laboratory, the flock members can't just go to Mom and Dad and ask about their birth story. Instead, they have to fly around (literally), hunting down top-secret scientific documents that can give them insight into who they are.
The concept of Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment is far-fetched, but the questions that the flock members want answers to are familiar: Who am I? Where do I come from? What does my future look like? These are the same questions everyone needs answered when they're growing up… whether they have crazy mutant genes or not.
What's that? You can't fly? Bummer for you. But worry not—despite the fact that they can fly (wee), the characters in Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment are ultimately normal kids at heart, with totally relatable emotions and concerns. Air born antics aside, the flock members are going through classic identity quests, which is something that pretty much every kid in the whole wide world can relate to.
You know what else pretty much every kid in the whole wide world can relate to? Feeling different, which the flock members do big time. Yes, they're mutant hybrids, which isn't exactly the same as accidentally showing up at school wearing mismatched shoes, but still, it's easy to relate to what the kids are going through. Who hasn't felt like they aren't exactly like all of their classmates, or like all of the cool kids at a party? And what are you supposed to do when you feel like you're on the sidelines looking in? Ugh.
These are the big questions in Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. And they're questions everyone struggles with at some point in their lives—even if it's uncomfortable to admit. The flock members might be able to fly, but there's no escaping these classic coming of age conundrums.
Read All About It
Curious about what happens in the subsequent Maximum Ride books? You can always check out the official website for the down low.
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In an interview, James Patterson reveals that he sticks to a pretty tight writing schedule. He starts writing at 5:30 or 6:00AM every day, takes a break for lunch, and goes to bed by 11:00PM. He also likes to slip in a bit of golf, of course.
James Patterson has the best beta reader in the business—his kid son, Jack. He read all of the Maximum Ride books as they were finished, and loves them.
Meet and Greet
Get the down low on the Maximum Ride series from the main man himself—James Patterson.
Meet the Flock
Check out this short little video in which we get to meet each member of the flock. Is this how you picture them?
If you have an extra four hours to spare, you can listen to The Angel Experiment—you know, just like you're Max with a little voice in your head.
The cover of The Angel Experiment definitely sets readers up for an action-packed ride.
In this piece of fan art, Max basically looks like your average teenage girl… except with some really cool wings.
Want to know what the ferruginous hawks that Nudge and Fang hang out with look like? They're pretty majestic.