Book Review of The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Bk 1)

The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Bk 1)
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There aren't enough words in the thesaurus to describe exactly how bad this book is. Seriously.

The Maximum Ride series has been lauded by readers and critics alike as the heir apparent poised to pick up the Young Adult superseries mantle now that blockbusters like Harry Potter and Twilight have concluded their stories. They couldn't be more wrong, and I couldn't be more disappointed after wasting my time on this book.

The plot is promising: the title character, Max (aka Maximum Ride) is the result of genetic experimentation, and is 98% human and 2% avian. She and her five "family" members -- other bird kids who have escaped from the uber-bad evil scientist lair called The School -- can fly, are extremely strong and are living on the lamb. The kids, age 6 to 14, are being hunted by other experiments gone wrong, creatures that are part man and part wolf.

Unfortunately, there are so many problems with this book, I hardly know where to begin. The writing is appaulingly bad. I think James Patterson's writing is choppy when he's writing his well-known murder mysteries. But in this series, he tries to adopt a young adult voice, and it's just painful and plodding. He uses the same words over and over, and his writing has no texture.

The character development is practically non-existant. We're thrown this large cast of characters that the reader is supposed to care about instantly, but they hardly kept my interest. The chapters are illogically short -- sometimes only three pages -- and break at odd places. It feels like the book was written for reluctant teen readers that needed short chapters to give them a sense of accomplishment upon fishishing them. I just found it annoying.

The straw that broke the camel's back for me was the subplot of Angel, the youngest of the clan that has been kidnapped at the beginning of the book by the School's scientists. I'm a mother of a five-year-old. I don't need to read about souless researchers keeping a preschooler in a cage and torturing her. The book has virtually no descriptions except for the pain and suffering Angel goes through. It was upsetting and further distanced me from the book. At the end, I just wanted to get through it so I could move on to something else.

If you have a 10 to 15-year-old boy or girl in your life that doesn't like to read, this book might be a good introduction to longer novels. The language is simple, and the plot should be intriging for that age group. I, personally, would rather have dental surgery than pick up any of the last three books in the series, though