on August 6, 2012
Well folks, I had high hopes for this book. While I admit that they may have been unfounded since the series was starting to go down hill, I never expected it to be this bad. This is chock full of SPOILERS so if you want to waste your time or decide for yourself stop after this sentence and borrow it from a friend or the library.
It seems James has run out of new ideas, and the few smidgens that is new material is not unexpected, they are things that I at least contemplated as soon as he brings up the whole "Fang must die!" and how fang could be the next step in human evolution. Yep the immortality gene. While that aspect is slightly more thought through than the rest, which seems to be a bunch of previously done ideas at a third the quality, it still doesn't make the cut for me.
Now let's look at all the main plot sections
1) They go to school... yeah how ORIGINAL that is.... yet again a teacher with evil affliliation, Nudge getting all caught up in a 'normal' life (she's 12 and starts dating an almost 16 year old and gets dumped, big whoop), Dylan gets fan girled over, and they dissect a chicken.
2) ARI COMES BACK. Again. and tries to kill fang. again. and is in cahoots with the female portion (save maya who he kills) of Fangs gang. I don't think we need any more words on ari, and I'll only vaguely reference his new speech pattern (hey, sis)
3) Group wanting to kill off the humans. again. This time they want to get rid of 99% though... Who somehow have people everywhere, who conviently happen to pass by fang minutes after he gets out of the desert... James, are you paranoid or just to done with this to be at least mildly realistic.
4) Jeb is on the evil side but thats okay because he's only doing it to bring his dead mutant son back to life right? And after he tries to kill them all again and gets injured in the process (no duh) Max says how they have to help him. oh and Dr.Martinez is helping torture angel but magically becomes "unbrainwashed" as soon as Max and co rescue Angel, and has somehow managed to organize a practical utopia for them to live in as the world ends
5) Max has boy drama. Which isn't actually "solved". Basically she makes out with both of them and tells them how much she needs them while they drool over her like love sick puppies that then glare at each other when she is gone. Oh and if you havent already realize, Fang came crawling back after Ari killed his precious Maya (they exchanged words of love as she died in his arms and he then goes after another girl. pathetic.)
Then when it seems that the world is completely over and nothing can be done, the world is even more over because a huge meteor goes and destroys their utopia. Yeah. And then whole dramatic death scene, about how she doesn't regret it and it's all fine (ugh) and then wakes up alive. ANd then practically mid idea the series ends, only saying that Angel, Max, FANG AND DYLAN are survivors of the whole thing.
Dear James Patterson,
I loved your book series Maximum Ride and I would like you to know that I do not acknowledge this alleged finale book's existence. Write a proper ending and satisfy the people. For the vast majority, this book is substandard. We will not hold this against you if you write a proper book ( I don't even care if it's a whole drama about who Max picks, as long as you sway me to your point of view for the guy for her). Your efforts are appreciated, and I feel like a jerk writing this since I have never even finished writing one book and this is one book out of so many, and the only I am truly disappointed in. But if you do have the spare time, write a new ending. This one just didn't seem to have it's own plot or shine. Not because it wasn't a happy ending though, I'm okay with unhappy endings, but they require the highest standard of writing. Not many people can pull off the unhappy ending, so I sympathise. I may revise this once I cool off, and read it again (only for the purpose of reevaluating), but for now these are my feelings.
Your faithful reader,
on August 7, 2012
Okay. Now, I just want to say that I have waited for this book, and I am a teenager, for nearly a year now.
I went to the bookstore today and asked for the book, waiting for three hours until they received a shipment, and then fangirled out when I bought it. Like I was half-crying and fanning my face.
On my walk home I started reading it and as soon as I hit the first chapter I knew something was up.
Now, in past books, I know that Angel can communicate with others from far away with her mind.
Did she suddenly stop now? Did she never even consider her probably greatest power?
And then it never occurred to Max that Angel might be back at the School, where they'd been captured countless times.
And then, Fang's Gang? What?!
More like Fang, some traitors, and two guys who'll leave the plot and you'll just assume turn out fine.
Y'know, cause that's how James Patterson rolls.
Kate and Star were traitors, and what the heck happened to Ratchet and Starfish? Does it automatically make it 100% okay if they're cast out of the plot like idiots?
That was a massive gaping plot hole right there.
Next, when Ari came back, I literally said, out loud, "OH DEAR JESUS NOT AGAIN."
He died in the first book.
Then James Patterson was like, "Psyche! Haha, he's not dead yet!"
He came back to life again in the third book.
Died again. WAS BURIED.
Now is another clone.
Killed Maya. WHAT THE-
Maya, I thought, was actually a nice little tertiary character! I thought she was actually going to end up with Dylan! And then I'd be happy!
And then, when he dies again, it was like you couldn't trust him to not come back.
And speaking of coming back, when Fang did, back to the flock, instead of questioning him responsibly like she should, Max will throw A PARTY.
A party. So your long lost love comes back presumably from the dead, and then you make a cake and assume that it's a band-aid.
Oh, abandoned me and your practical family? Here, have some cake. It'll make it all better.
Then, the Erasers and Ari come back and it's all a crapfest and a massive fight, Fang nearly dies, and then Ari dies and so do the rest of the Erasers.
Boom. There's another plot hole missing right there.
And then we find out that Fang's DNA holds the key to immortality? How would almost fifteen years of being experimented on in the School not reveal that? It's like going to the doctor's in the next, uhm, I don't know, month, and they say this:
"Oh, you just have the key to Immortality, yeah it's normal."
And since this is ridiculously long, I'll just say my feelings on the ending.
Now, Max talks to Fang and then Dylan goes insane and smashes cars because he looooooves her, yeah, no.
IT WAS FAX IT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE FAX IT NEVER WAS ANYTHING BUT FAX. Get that through your head, James.
So then when Max and Fang got back together I was saying: "Awh, yay."
Because if she would have ended up with Dylan I would have thrown the book across the room.
So then, when I thought they were gonna go save the States from the 99% group,
THE SKY EXPLODES!?! WHAT!?!
Who the heck told James Patterson that that was an acceptable ending? Riddle me that.
AND THE WORST THING WAS THAT IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MAIN AGRESSOR OF THE BOOK, THE 99% GROUP!
Then there's the tsunami, and then there was the chapter when Max said that she died with Fang, and she was happy that it ended that way.
I was torn between crying, screaming, sobbing, and punches various items near me like a lamp while reading that chapter.
Then Dylan comes in and saves everyone, and I was like,
"TELL US THE TRUTH. DID YOU DIE OR NOT?"
Then it said that she developed gills, and I was happy at least if she didn't die.
And then it ends with her saying that it's, quote, "The Time Of Maximum Ride."?!?!
Oh no, I'm sorry, the last seven books weren't?! Are you KIDDING?!
The last 7 books were the time of Maximum Ride! Who are you kidding! No one!
The world has ended, and now you're saying that it's your time?!
Ugh, I JUST CAN'T EVEN.
I honestly wish that I could give this book less than a star, because I've spent the last five hours watching my entire childhood, tweenhood, and teenhood go up in fire.
I know you'll buy it and read it, but then you'll end up writing a review like me. Believe it.
Sorry I had to write that, but it's true.
on August 8, 2012
So, I just finished this book. All I can say is, SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY? This book was downright horrible, I'm usually more tolerable with bad books but after obsessing over the series for nearly a year, seeing it end so badly made cry, AND NOT BECAUSE IT WAS SAD EITHER... well it was sad, that James Patterson could end such an amazing series with such a bad last book.
So, if you are the majority, people who rated this a 5 star book (but I truly think those who gave it 5 stars haven't started reading this yet, high expectations probably), you will probably like an explanation as to why I found this book so bad.
*MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!*
#1: They go to school. I mean- what are trying to accomplish? "We are going to try to be normal" haha? How can a bunch of flying bird people be normal? When they are at school they encounter some evil science teacher working for Dr. Gunther-Hagen who delivers news to them. Nudge goes out with some dude, who calls her a freak and she cries about it all day, and shes like "One day Max, I'm going to get my wings off and become normal!"
#2: Maya dies. So, after hearing Max blabber about how her beloved Fang has Maya, and Blah, Blah, Blah she just dies battling ARI! oh yeah.... HE COMES BACK TO LIFE IN CLONE FORM, with ERASERS!!!!!!
#3: So, Ari comes back and is like, "My daddy brought me back to life cause' he was so horrible towards me. Now he told me to kill you. Then Maya protects Fang and ends up dying it his arms. Her last words "I love you Fang."
#4: Fang's Gang just disappears. Kate and Star become traitors in order to survive, then since Maya is dead Fang ditches Ratchet and Starfish, and now we just assume they survived everything too. Then he returns to the flock. Seriously he goes back for the third time. Remember in Fang, when Fang wrote the letter to Max he was like "I'll meet you in 20 years yadda yadda.." well, twenty years sure went by fast.
#5: When Fang returns to the flock, Max and Iggy throw him a party. Really A PARTY? Max should be interrogating him asking
him why the heck he came back!!!!
#6: When Fang and Dylan first meet Fangs first words: "I heard you've been sleeping in Max's rooms" really, wow Fang, great conversation starter.
#7: Dylan spies on Max and Fang with his super cool eye sight, realizes they still have feelings for each other abuses a bunch of cars, and then beats up Fang when the Flock are beating up some erasers "in order to save Max" they he disappears for like half the book.
#8: The Flock finds Angel (one thing I was happy about), Dr. Martinez and some rick guy take the Flock to some paradise place where there are many avian-humans. They took them there because all the normal humans are going to die due to some avian sickness that the bird kids are immune too. Also, there is some new evil group called the 99%.
#9: They world ends up ended due to the world splitting in half, Dylan saves then due to his eye sight. Then they somehow drown and Max is left with Angel as Fang and Dylan check to see how the damage is in that paradise place.
#10: We really don't know if Gazzy, Nudge, Iggy, Ella or any humans besides Dr. Martinez survive. I WANNA KNOW BOUT THE REST OF MY FLOCK> :(
#11: We never find out if Jeb truly is a good guy. (or bad)
#12: Chessiest ending ever. All character personalities, relationships, etc change.
-When Max and Fang start dating again and they are cute, like one of those mushy gushy romantic couples. They were NEVER LIKE THAT! They always would argue and start screaming at each other.
-Dylan accepts Max and Fang's relationship. REALLY? Now you decide to be normal?
-Most of the flock has no personality?? Iggy and Gazzy have like 5 lines each??
-We find out who Max's voice is. I was expecting it, but was hoping for something better.
-What made me most angry is that too many questions were left unanswered.
So, please comment if you have anything to say. James Patterson, please rewrite this, you will regain all respect. This made me cry, thats never happened before.
on August 6, 2012
I absolutely loved this series! ...Well, the first three books at least. The first three books in the series deals with Max being a strong and independent leader, kicking butt and not taking crap from ANYONE. However, these past couple of books have been totally random, adding little plot holes here and there. Like Doctor Chu? The One Light cult? Global Warming( which, honestly, I thought that was totally irrelevant to the plot of the books anyway.)? Yeah, none of that is mentioned. Although Mark, the leader of the one light group, makes a guest appearance for 2 or so pages...until he dies. Again. Like, seriously? This group pops up out of NO WHERE, brainwashes who knows how many kids, blows up the city of Paris, and is barely mentioned? And I thought the whole plot of the past seven books was to save the world? Apparently Max did too, until the "End of the World" comes and she does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
MAX: World's gonna end? Awesome. Lemme know when i'm needed. In the meantime, i'm going to make out with two hot guys and rip myself apart trying to figure who i'd rather be with. TTYL.
It was ridiculous. And Fang's Gang? There's a betrayal by Star and Kate, someone dies, and Fang leaves the rest just hanging in the middle of the desert, never to be heard from again. WHAT WAS THE POINT OF FANG'S GANG? An opportunity to add in a love interest for Fang? Cause you never see the rest again.
The Voice? Predictable. I already knew who it was before I opened the book.
Now onto... The Epidemic. Max is already loaded down with saving the world, trying to stop crazy scientists from experimenting on people, defeating Erasers (or whatever the heck they've mutated into now), world peace, global warming, the One Light, and now, as if this emotionally unstable girl needed any more to deal with, and Epidemic that will wipe out the whole planet. Honestly, if this much is going on, there's no way a 15 year old girl with relationship issues and an inferiority complex is gonna save ANYONE.
So many plot holes have been introduced to the story line with the past couple of books, and this book just keeps adding them! Not going to be able to save the world? Let's just add a life threatening epidemic you can stop! ...What? You can't do that either? Then stop global warming! No? Okay, can you stop the One Light? Who?... Okay, nevermind. We'll just let you sort out your relation ship issues and just let the rest work out.
Seriously. Consistency is a major issue I have with this series. The first three books it was like, "Okay, we can work things out, we've still got an entire series to figure out what going on and how to fix it!"
By the end, it's like, "Dude, making out with your boyfriends is NOT a solution." So many things were wrong with the character development, which consisted of NONE, and by the end the characters were all so OOC that I kinda just wanted Max to fail and them all to die just to be done with it. Honestly, that would have given more closure to this series.
So, no. If you have to read it, i'd just rent it from the library and not even spend money on the book. It was an interesting start to a series, which had potential, but by this book, it was a total cop out pretty similar to the Hunger Games or the LOST tv show. All we needed was consistency and closure, but we couldn't even get that, could we, Patterson?
on August 7, 2012
Okay. So before I start ranting, I just wanted to say that I LOVE the Maximum Ride series (well, the first three books anyways) and I was super excited that this book came out.
So, here goes.
The beginning. I loved it! The Flock (or what was left of it) was actually acting like themselves for the first time in a really long time! Yay! Although, when I read the part about the "normal school", I was like..... Huh? Is Max NOT supposed to be saving the world anymore? Does Max actually have TIME for this normal person nonsense? Well, apparently, the world can save itself now! Yeah right. Also, shouldn't they have been trying to find Angel? You know, your little sister who was kidnapped and all that? I know they all thought she was dead, but even Max said herself that she didn't believe Angel was dead until Dylan said so... Is it just me, or if Max didn't think Angel was dead in any of the other books, she would actually try to find her? Anyways, beginning..... Good.
Umm...... Im going to try to make this shorter, because I have A LOT to say on the end. What the heck was the point of Fang's gang?!
I get killing off Maya. It adds a little unpredictableness to the story. So I am not all that bothered by killing Maya.
It's WHO killed Maya. Ari? Really? For goodness' sake, how could anyone NOT see that coming?!
And.... Star and Kate was a surprise. Didn't mind it.
But.... This is the exact spot where the story starts to.... Be confusing and even a little disconnected, if that makes any sense. What happened to Rachet and Holden? And.... What exactly was the point of Fangs gang?
I get wanting Fang to "have something to do" while he is away.... But... What was even the point of that?
Now on to the parts with Angel.
Wow. Just.... Wow. I suppose it goes a little like:
"Oh dear me, I'm blind!"
*next second* "Eh, whatever."
So..... Isn't one poor blind mutant enough? Why repeat the drama? And it seems like Angel doesn't even care that she's blind.
The Max and Dylan stuff was... Ok. I honestly don't remember much about that part....
Now, before I get to the end, I have to say that I'm very, VERY critical. Despite what I was saying above, I would have given this book four stars, it was great! Then came the wrecking ball that calls itself the end of the book Nevermore.
It was the absolute worst ending that any book has, and probably will, EVER have. I don't mind unhappy endings. But an ending should NOT leave the reader unsatisfied, clueless as to what on earth has happened, and feeling like the book just killed them inside.
Okay, that might be a little dramatic. But... Okay, Angel as the voice. Just.... Did anyone NOT see that coming? Seriously, same with Ari.
Now..... THE actuall end. Good God! The absolute biggest question I have is WHAT HAPPENED TO GAZZY, NUDGE, AND IGGY?! Does the remaining flock just not CARE that they are dead, or they're alive any the rest of the flock is just ignoring them? WHAT. HAPPENED. My SECOND biggest question is did Angel get her eyesight back? She never acted like she was blind, and Max and the rest of the flock sure didn't talk about it or try to help her! And.... I know I said ok to unhappy endings, but.... I waited. Through the whole series. Just to have the world END?! I was soooo excited to hear that Max was going to save the world,... And I waited, and waited, and waited for it, theeeeeeennnn.... Nope. Doesn't happen. Wow. That is seriously how you ate going to end this series?! James Patterson, you are a grown man and a fantastic author. NOT a 16 year old emo girl who writes Fanfiction.
So, sorry of anything I said sounded insulting, Thatvis just my dandy little oppinion. Read it, just maybe you shouldn't buy it permanently.
on August 21, 2012
Wow..Where to begin? First off, I'm a 50 year old dad that loves to read my kid's young adult novels. I love the "Gone" series, as well as many others.
I started reading Maximum Ride a few years ago. As most of the other reviewers here have said, the first three books in the series were excellent and should have ended there. I loved the character development, the funny dialogue, the action, suspense, and twists. However, for some reason, James Patterson decided in book four to abandon any literary credibility and instead, chose to attempt to brainwash young minds with his leftist, enviro-whacko agenda. Thankfully, the book was short and was easy to ignore. Unfortunately, he chose to continue pushing his agenda for the final books.
Now onto the final book Nevermore. This book is the epitome of "mailing it in". JP had to wrap it up, so this is what we received. The plot was pitiful, the characters were terrible. Everything about this book was rehashed from the other books.
- Angel is being tortured. She's blind, and her wings have been removed. No wait, she was hallucinating it all along. She's actually fine!
- Angel is the "Voice". Wow, never saw that one coming!
- Ari is alive AGAIN? What's that, three times now? That's one more than JR Ewing!
- The new threat group is the 99%? Another nice leftist OWS reference there Jimmy P.
- Previous major characters get almost no time in this book. Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy, Total, Fang's "other" gang...We hardly knew ya!
- Hiding the Flock on some mystery island while the world is destroyed? Really? I was waiting for Mr. Rourke and Tatoo to greet them!
- So, how is the world going to end again? Glo-bull warming?...NO! Bio-terrorism?...NO! Large meteor that crashes into Earth?...Ding-ding-ding! We have a winner!
- I'm not going to even get into the Max/Fang/Dylan love triangle. I'll leave that for the Twilight fans!
I should have stop reading after book three, but I had hoped that book four was just an anomaly. Come to find out books 4-8 existed for two reasons:
1. To pad James Patterson's wallet, and
2. To push a phony, left-wing agenda onto a bunch of impressionable minds.
Can't wait for the next "Gone" series novel. Now that's GREAT young adult fiction!
on August 9, 2012
I have never written a review before but I decided I had to somehow comment on this mess of a book......
First I loved this series for the first few books and then I could barely stomach it when it went all "go green" so dumb. This book though has to be the worst book I have ever read. Nothing made sense, everything was jumbled and he answered NO questions any of the previous books posed.
I am convinced he must have stroked out mid series because this book stunk and there was never once a coherent storyline in this book just random scenes stuck together that we're never resolved.
I was so utterly confused by the ending of this book that I think I was in shock. Sat there for 5 solid minutes going " what the hell just happened...." tree houses, everyone dying, then the sky explodes..... Seriously this book was tapped.
on August 15, 2012
Where to even start.
Many people here have already pointed out massive flaws with this book- It's confusing. The characters and unlikable. The ending is a disgrace. Most five-star reviews come from people who didn't even read the book yet. All of those things are true, but people who have been following the flock for years, like me, will probably still want to finish out the ride with Nevermore. However, you really shouldn't bother.
I LOVED the first three books of the series, thought Book Four was pretty good, and really despised the next three. I started to suspect that Patterson was using a ghost writer, or just trying to crank out as many books as possible without a thought for content. I had hopes that Nevermore might return to the glory days, when Max was tough and smart, when her relationship with Fang was deep and confusing and loving and supportive, and when there was SOME continuity. This book reminded me of a game we'd play in middle school when one student would start a story on a computer and then for the next house different kids would get to continue writing for five minutes. That's honestly the only way to describe some of the scenes in this book. "They're operating on my eyes. I'm blind. I don't want to be blind. What am I going to do now that I'm blind? Now I'm not blind anymore." "She's a bad guy. Oh no, this person we liked is a bad guy. Oh wait, she was brainwashed and there is no need to mention this ever again."
And then there's Jeb. I feel like this book could have been called Maximum Ride: ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE JEB NONSENCE. His constantly shifting alligance would have been interesting if he was a fully formed character with relatable thoughts and fears, but he's become a complete caricature. No spoilers, but when he showed up at the flock's house needing to carry out his final glorious mission or whatever I actually laughed out loud. Not happily. In disgust at what drivel this has become. And (no spoilers since it happens right away) the return of Ari was a huge disappointment. I liked Ari's character in the beginning, and I thought his death was the right touch of tragedy and hopelessness the flock needed to spur them forward. Now some weird clone-version of him has been resurrected because Jeb misses his son? No. If you're going to take that route, at least do something interesting about the ethical fallout of cloning an unhappy hybrid and the existential despair the Ari-Clone might have felt! If you're going to bring a character back from the dead, at least DEVELOP him a little!
I won't even mention the villianous group in this book because I don't even think they were real. I think they were just some fever dream everyone was excited about for a few minutes but couldn't really think about because of all the relationship drama going on. ("I'd like to save the world, but first I have to make a boyfriend pros and cons list!")
Okay, spoilers below:
SPOILERS: The end had to be fan fiction. I'm honestly not saying that as hyperbole. To sum up a very confusing chapter due to poor writing, the flock is taken to some paradise where they can fly through the trees while the rest of the world dies. No, really. There is this terrible disease coming that's going to cause incredible pain for every man, woman, child, and baby on earth, but it's nice to know the flock HAS A TREE HOUSE. Max is hilariously unconcerened about the fact that everyone is going to die. You know, when you save the world a bunch of times, eventuallly you're just like, "Ah, screw it. Let the wingless suckers die." It was acutally sort of insulting. Max is prattling on about trees and the ocean and "We have gills, it's perefect!" and it's like, "That's great, Max, but apparently I am going to DIE OF PLAGUE and you don't care at all." But, sadly for the flock, there is some sort of meteor or asteroid that causes a tsunami (I think? Again, it was like the writing had been translated into Latin and then Chinease and then bak to English) and Max and Fang hold each other and profess their love while the wave hits. There there is a "now I'm dead and here is my final message" epilogue. Of course Max isn't really dead, and we get a SECOND epilogue (Thank you! I was worried this book wouldn't drag on forever, but it did!) where Max, Fang, Angel (Angel is alive, by the way. Long story, boring story, Jeb story) and Dylan contemplate the new world or whatever. There's no mention of Iggy, Nudge, or Gazzy, so they're possibly dead, because there's no way any readers would want closure for the characters we've been rooting for for the past five years. No, I'm just glad to know that DYLAN is doing good (I would like to hold a contest for "Most Annoying And Least Developed Character in Literature" and Dylan would win gold, silver, AND bronze). No clue what happened to Dr. Martinez, Ella, Fang's gang, or any characters from old books you might have wanted to see again. The end might have been some sort of Heaven dream and they're all really dead, but I don't think this book has the chutzpah to go that far.
Also, I really hated Fang. I used to absolutely LOVE him, but man, things went wrong. Fang was always the strong, silent guy in the background who understood and supported Max in every way. He was sort of darkly funny and tortured without being obnoxious. Now he's just... I don't even know how to describe him. He's a cardboard cutout for Max to hold. He loves Max, but he never says anything that would make you think he actually cares about Max as a human being. He just loves her. The end. Speaking of Fang, what was with that scene where he got picked up hitchhiking by villians and then thrown over a cliff and then Angel had a vision of him falling off the cliff and dying, and then the next time we see him he's walking towards the flock just a little banged up? There's a throwaway line about how long it took him to recover or whatever, but why make it seem like he's going to die and then compltely drop the whole thing? And don't even get me started on "Fang, we need to kill you so this random bad guy won't torture you. Love, the guy who used to torture you." Ridiculous.
I really don't recommend buying this book. If you want to know how the flock ends up, read the plot summary of Wikipedia. If reread Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports and pretend that's end. This was just a ploy to drag the series out and get our money. Don't give in! It was honestly so bad that, if I got a preview of how the last four books would read years ago, I never would have picked up Angel Experiment. It's just not worth it.
on August 9, 2012
Looking back through the hundreds of books I've read in my life, I can't think of an ongoing book series that has had such an effect on my youth as the Maximum Ride series. It was the first summer reading novel that I not only finished before school even got out but instantly went and picked up the sequel. It was a brilliantly crafted series that resonated with the younger demographic with characters that they could personally identify with, even with their added abnormalities of having wings and superpowers. The excitement was always at an all-time high with its lightning fast narrative and it had a fascinating plot that kept the reader guessing. What became the hallmark of the series for me personally was the unnerving anxiety it instilled from the sensation of being hunted. It was like nothing I'd ever read before, the sense of menace was always present making me wonder what would happen next, how would they get out of it, and how Max would keep her family of misfits together. Patterson accomplished all of this while still wrapping the series with an essence of fun and adventure. The array of emotions it made me feel simply captivated me in the Flock's pursuit of freedom and answers, it was great stuff.
Which is why it's so painful for me, and I know for a lot of people that this series went downhill so badly. The original trilogy, or `The Fugitives' as they're called were Maximum Ride at its best, an excellently written set of novels that followed a group of mutant children and their escape from the very people who created them. If you ask me, the Maximum Ride series should have ended there, Patterson left no stone unturned or plot-thread loose to make a sequel that would feel natural, which was unfortunately the case when he wrote the remainder of the series. Patterson wanted to end it with a high note on the third novel but he continued the series due to a large demand from the consumers. The result was Maximum Ride: The Final Warning, a liberal propaganda book for children and a massive smack in the face to the fans. The shift in direction was so bad that to this very day I regard the book as one of the worst in existence. The rest of the following novels ranged from decent to passable, yet none of them could ever even hope to bring back the magic of the original trilogy. Personally, I feel this was because the post-trilogy books lacked a sense of direction in their storytelling, meaning Patterson didn't have a clear idea of where he wanted to take the characters and the story because he envisioned the series as one cohesive trilogy. This is something I feel authors should never do. He clearly continued the series because he knew people wanted more Maximum Ride books, but if this is the result then he shouldn't have given us what we wanted. I say authors should make the books they envision and stop giving in to public demands; the end product simply speaks for itself. To not do this is self-defeating. Now I went into Nevermore with the optimism that this would be a solid conclusion to a venerable series which had its ups and downs. Unfortunately, Nevermore set me up only to let me down. It had a lot of promise, but it unfortunately didn't pull through.
Describing the plot of Nevermore is actually quite difficult without spoiling it. This is because like the majority of this series, these books don't have a very clear goal or objective and the central crisis didn't appear until very far in. Even the synopsis on the back of the book doesn't provide a very clear picture besides glorifying it. So for the sake of avoiding spoilers, let's just say that the plot involves a new interest in Fang by the white coats, a doomsday plan for the world's population, and recovering Angel (again). I seriously couldn't help feeling a hint of déjà vu and the sense that Patterson was just running through the motions when he wrote this book's plot. It felt like a retreading of prior elements of the series, rescuing Angel for the umpteenth time and a genocidal cult like from the previous book. This didn't feel like the final chapter but rather like jumping through the same hoops, it once again lacked a sense of direction in its storytelling.
I don't mean to completely bash this book because in his defense, Patterson actually did some things right that really helped bring a hint of the old magic back from the original trilogy. For one, he stopped treating the Flock as celebrities or political activists for the sole purpose of forcing environmentalist schlock down children's throats. Not only was this route an incredibly pretentious one on Patterson's behalf but it made the characters instantly less interesting and relatable. Let children grow up and make their own decisions on life and politics, keep it out of entertainment I say. What Patterson did right was return the series to its roots by incorporating a `slice of life', meaning the Flock is no longer in the world's spotlight but rather doing simple things like attending school and trying to act like normal people. It really brought back some of the innocent nature of the previous books that four through seven completely lacked. But the biggest failing for me when the original trilogy ended was the lack of a proper villain or sense of menace. The series no longer had an antagonist that could challenge the Flock or pose a legitimate threat, which contributed greatly to the aforementioned sense of being chased from the original trilogy. Without spoiling who or what this person is, I'll just say that Patterson does bring back a worthy opposition for the Flock, albeit in a very lazy fashion. Now notice how I said a `hint' of the old magic from the older books. Just as these elements were hitting their stride, they're unceremoniously removed from the narrative. I was actually prepared to grade this book higher than two until Patterson completely nixed these elements and set me up for disappointment.
While Patterson did attempt to bring back some of the elements from the early books, he also brought some of the negative aspects from the newer ones into Nevermore. The first is, no surprise: Dylan. I absolutely hate love triangles most of the time because they're worthless. They're nothing more than a pretentious way to make an innocent romance feel incredibly contrived. The moment Patterson introduced Dylan in the series I never once thought for a second that Max would ever choose him over Fang. I don't perceive him as a character, but rather an obstacle for Max and Fang to overcome. Then there's Fang's Gang, the group of outcast mutant children he recruited after his self-imposed exile from the previous book. Like Dylan, I never cared for any of these new additions, but at the same time they're given absolutely no closure. This became even more jarring after a particularly interesting plot twist reared itself only for it to be left completely unresolved. You can't just take characters and completely abandon them in the middle of the book. Kill them off if you wish but at least give them closure.
Now as to be expected with the finale for a popular series, there's going to be that outcry from a faction of the fans that dislike the conclusion of the plot and its various characters. These kinds of things are inevitable and I am unfortunately one of those vocal fans. The ending is not only disappointing, it makes zero sense no matter which way you look at it. Like before I'm at a disadvantage, because I can't fully explain how flawed this ending is without spoiling it which I again refuse to do. (Though I'm sure there's going to be plenty of spoiler-filled reviews that follow and precede mine) This newfound threat that endangers the earth comes LITERALLY out of nowhere as opposed to the malefactor that was just explained mere moments ago. Making what was supposedly the book's major threat feel like a red herring for something else that's never explained. But worst of all, it completely destroys and I do mean DESTROYS the supposed grand destiny for Max that Patterson has been building up for the past five years. It's disappointing, unfulfilling, and worst of all it doesn't correlate with any of the events that were supposed to transpire. It just felt like Patterson ran out of ideas so he made this completely asinine finale then said "You happy now? There's your ending."
Trust me when I say that I really wanted to like Nevermore. I was just hoping deep down that Patterson would send his series off in style, but with what we got I can't help but be disappointed. The real Maximum Ride ended with book three, everything after was just a cheap imitation.
on August 6, 2012
After having been a fan of Maximum ride for years, I waited (impatiently, mind you) for this book to come out. And now I can say once and for all that JP should have ended the series after the first three books.
SLIGHT SPOILER WARNING (vague mentions of general plot themes)
NEVERMORE just didn't make sense and wasn't true to any of the characters. And all the CONSTANT teenage angst just gets really tiresome after awhile. I wondered how JP would wrap up all the plot points he started but never finished in the previous books, but turns out he couldn't. At least not in a satisfactory sort of way.
The entire thing was just RUSHED. SO SO RUSHED. I barely had time to breathe in between chapters.
And how many stinking ways (that remain unresolved) can the world end?
I am very disappointed. The only thing this book had going for it was that the main character actually ended up with (in my opinion) the right dude, but even that was done poorly.