From Publishers Weekly
When the Wind Blows (1998), to which this is a sequel, has been Patterson's "most successful novel around the world," according to an author's note. That novel, about children genetically engineered to fly, also thrilled most critics. This one won't, despite some charms, and the reason manifests itself in the three paragraphs-paragraphs, mind-that begin chapter 41: "They were elated to be together again-the flock! The tribe! The family!" Patterson tends toward shorthand writing, and generally it works in his favor, but the problem here is that exclamation points do not engender deep emotions within readers! Nor do italics. And the novel is strewn with both, as well as with too much dumbed-down prose. The plot isn't much to boast about, either. In the original, Max the flying bird-girl and her "siblings" were menaced by the mad scientists who ran the vile laboratory known as "the School," but were helped in escaping by erstwhile narrator Frannie O'Neill, a veterinarian, and Kit Brennan, an FBI agent. Here, Max and her five siblings are menaced by the mad scientist who runs the vile laboratory known as "the Hospital" but are helped by erstwhile narrator Frannie and Kit. So what's new? Not much, other than a few neat touches (for instance, the villain, Dr. Ethan Kane, is addicted to M&Ms) and-in by far the best section of the novel, not coincidentally one in which Patterson slows down-a truly moving description of how Max and the oldest male bird-child mate. The rest is an extended hunt and chase, as Kane goes after Max and her siblings in a medical conspiracy so outrageously unbelievable that readers will blink in wonder. The pages move like the wind that lifts Max's wings, of course, but Patterson can, and has, done far better than this.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* Patterson's latest picks up where one of his most popular novels, When the Wind Blows
(1998), about a group of children who have been genetically engineered to fly, left off. Beautiful Max and handsome Ozymandias lead the group of six children who are fighting to stay with Kit and Frannie, the couple that saved them from the School, where they were being held by the scientists who created them. The court returns the children to their biological parents, but only Max knows how much danger they're in. Max is privy to information about Resurrection, another project that is even more daring and groundbreaking than the one that created the children. Dr. Ethan Kane, the scientist who heads up Resurrection, is determined to keep Max silent and plots to kidnap the children. Though Max won't share the secret with anyone, she and Oz gather up the other children and run to Frannie, but Kane is one step ahead of them and will do anything to stop Max from endangering his project--even if it means killing the children. An unexpected and sweet romance between Max and Oz alleviates the nail-biting suspense somewhat, but as usual, Patterson gets his readers in his grip from page one and doesn't let go until the last page is turned. This sequel is even better than the first book. Kristine HuntleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved