Thursday, 19 August 2010

Maximum Ride by James Patterson

Thanks for Sync for this free audio book! I know I don’t actually belong to the target audience for either the book or the free book offer, but I do appreciate anything that doesn’t cost me and is entertaining.

Maximum Ride is the first in a series of 7 books for young adult readers. Maximum, or Max, is one of several children who grew up as a lab rat, cage and all. They are, in short, all the products of scientific experimentation. They are also the most successful of the experiments. Most of the creatures created in the lab don’t last very long, so after so many years, Max isn’t sure how long she and the others have. What’s so special about Max and Co? Well, for one they have functioning wings and can fly. They are also faster and stronger than normal humans, so it’s no wonder the scientists want to keep them under lock and key. However, four years prior to the beginning of the book, one of the scientists, Jeb, took pity and helped them escape. Ever since, the children have lived together in a cabin, fending for themselves even after Jeb disappears. Everything is going smoothly and they are all fairly happy until one day, their idyllic existence end abruptly as the lab security personnel drop in on them unexpectedly. They only get away with one of them, but one is too many for Max who sets out to find the lab again and free her friend.

I liked the characters, the plot and the creativity in this one. I think a young reader would find it quite fascinating and I’m not at all surprised there are more in the series. Personally, however, I found the writing geared too much to a younger audience to be really enjoyable. There was too much repetition and too much explanation. Sometimes I felt like I was being hit over the head with a hammer in that Max’s character would stop and explain a reference like the reader wouldn’t be able to get the point on their own. I got it the first time and didn’t need the explanation so it bothered me. A younger audience on the other hand, might have found the references useful and a skilful teacher could even put it all to good use in teaching the basics of literary tools such as foreshadowing, metaphors, symbolism, etc., so I don’t really want to add that as a general negative, just a personal negative. One thing that did bother me as a whole is that the ending is rather abrupt and isn’t really an ending. It feels more like a new chapter should start than a new book. Even if you are going to have a series, some sort of conclusion is in order, otherwise why bother finishing the book?

This is the kind of series I would continue reading if I had access to a free library, but since I haven’t got that option and I don’t have children who would read them as well, I won’t. It just wasn’t good enough for me to justify spending my money on more.


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