January 20, 2010

Book Review: MAX (Maximum Ride #5)

Posted by at 12:24 pm in Reads | Permalink

MaxThe "About the Author" section at the end of MAX (for ages 12 and up) mentions that James Patterson has sold over 160 million books worldwide. So in other words, he's basically sold 2 books for every person in Germany. That's pretty ridiculous.(Read more about Patterson in this interview by the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.)

But by page 14 of MAX it's obvious why he's so popular: James Patterson is a really fun writer. See, the flock — that's Max (the narrator), plus 5 other kids and a talking dog, all of whom have wings and can fly (just go with me on this) — are doing this air show, when all of a sudden the dog gets shot. Max grabs the dog, who's named Total (like Toto), and begins inspecting him for wounds. And the entire time, Total is doing this hilarious "woe is me" speech: "I don't have many regrets. . . True, I thought about a career in the theater, once our adventures waned. I know it's just a crazy dream, but I always hoped for just one chance to play the Dane before I died." Ha! See, "the Dane" refers to Hamlet, which is widely accepted as one of the greatest roles ever written, but a Dane is also a kind of dog! Get it? (It turns out Total is completely OK and was drastically overreacting.)

OK, so maybe I'm kinda breaking my long-standing rules about 1) not giving away plot stuff and 2) not explaining jokes, which is the most surefire way to rob any joke of all of its funny. But in this case, I'm not so worried. And that's because MAX is filled with dozens of hilarious little jokes and references like that; Mr. Patterson drops one, gives you about 2 seconds to get it, and then jumps to the next one. Spoiling one for you isn't the end of the world. The other thing that helps assuage my guilt is that the plot of MAX is by far one of the most ridiculous things I've ever read in my entire life, and it's very clear from the outset that Mr. Patterson knows it. He barely seems to care about the plot, to be honest. I'm guessing that for him, this ludicrous story is just an excuse to write fun dialogue for these characters and narrate a book in Max's wry, witty, self-deprecating voice.

The title of the book is apt, because Max really is the star here. She's the leader of the flock, so she's the main character; but more important, the reader sees everything that happens in the book through her eyes. And as a traditional narrator, Max is terrible. She keeps going off on these asides and rants about things that tick her off, and half the time it seems like she almost forgets that she's supposed to be telling a story. But Mr. Patterson does a phenomenal job of making Max funny, believable, and likable, so her shortcomings as a storyteller just end up making the whole book funnier and livelier. (There's a brief chapter where the narration shifts from Max's point of view to a generic third-person POV, and it's the most boring chapter in the book by far.)

Now I should probably give at least some sort of overview of the plot, so here it is: Max and the flock have to defeat some bad guys. And I should probably talk about the book's healthy doses of romance, fast-paced action, and pro-environmentalism. . . but honestly, none of that stuff really made much of an impression on me. Not that it was poorly done — far from it. It's just that I had so much fun listening to Max go off on her snarky rants that the rest of the book seemed pretty bland in comparison. I highly, highly recommend that you pick this book up and enjoy a solid 300 pages inside Max's neurotic, sarcastic, hilarious world.

What do you think, guys? The Maximum Ride series – thumbs up or thumbs down? Let me know in the comments!

Jack, STACKS Writer

  1. StacksUser10

    I loooooooooove MAxIMUM Ride (age 12 and up). My fave book ever. Fave character fang . he gets real and I like his relationship with Max!

  2. Makenzie D

    “Maximum Ride” is always a fantastic series and an original idea. I love the books; they are adventurous and exciting.

  3. Wanda F

    Maximum Ride is the best book in the world!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Seasparkle

    Fang already came out and not to pop your bubble sometimes it’s from fangs point of view but mostly it’s just max

  5. seasparkle

    i have read all the books james pattersons amazing sense of humor makes me not want to put the book down this is a truly hilarious book in almost every way

  6. Nicole

    I am definatley going to read this series. All of my friends have read it so now i am going to enjoy this series too. I didn’t know what i was missing

  7. ava

    Im am like obsessed with maximum ride there is doodles all over my math homework illustrating how i think the flock looks

  8. sparklykitten

    i love Total!!!!!!I named my stuffed dog total!!!!Also my bff’s nickname is nudge and mine is Angel. ***blush***
    Because i scare her. But angel is awesome!!!!she can talk to fish breath underwater read minds and lots more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. sparklykitten

    I love the maximum ride series!!!!!! all my friends love it 2!! i can’t wait til Fang comes out in march!!!!!

  10. gabriella

    i love the maximum ride series!!! cant wait till fang comes out! these books are awesome and i give them an infinty thumbs up! :]

  11. Kelsey

    I really like the series, but there are way too many plotholes to ignore. Such as, Ari says he can’t read in MAX, but in another book he writes “Wolverine” perfectly. And Brigid’s hair is blonde in 4, red in 5. Things like that. But besides that, it’s a good series. Max is really cool.

  12. Number 14

    If a book called “Fang” comes out, I will flip! He is soooooooo awesome! I love his character! It should be like his point of view of the story. Kind of like the Twilight books, Edward’s point of view.
    Max Rockz!

  13. Number 14

    There is going to be a movie coming out soon of the Maximum Ride series! But it is rumored that Robert Pattinson(Edward Cullen) and Kristen Stewart(Bella) will be playing Max and Fang! I don’t really agree to this idea because Max and Fang are suppose to be 14-years-old! That is not right!

  14. qtlm

    i loved all of the maximum ride books they roxck my socks off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Rachel

    These books are AWESOME!!I didn’t really notice the tons of jokes and stuff the first time I read them,so I’m going to read it again and get back to you later!

  16. Alix

    This is, by far, one of the best series I’ve read since Harry Potter. I love how Max always keeps the story moving, even if she’s completely off topic. Such noted times should be when she has this fake interview between a fictional character(herself) and herself about how to complete training.

  17. 103mintchocolatechip

    What are you talking about?!?! I think Max and the rest of the Maximum Ride books are great! If you don’t have a sense of humor, don’t read this book. It rocks!!!! A million thumbs up!!!!!!!!!! :)

  18. Sunshine_Girl_3231

    THUMBS MOST DEFINITELY UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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