Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Little, Brown and Company
Published April 11, 2005
For fourteen year-old Max and the others in her care, life is anything but normal. How can it be even close when she has wings bursting out of her back? Max and the others spend their lives hiding from scientists who would put them back in cages and continue the genetic experiments which resulted in their avian mutations. Just when Max thinks the coast is clear, and she and her friends are safe, the Erasers, frighteningly strong boys who morph into wolves, close in on them. When one member of the flock is captured, Max and the others have only one choice: they must rescue her from the lab where they were once imprisoned.
Max finds more than her lost team member when she reaches her former home. A mentor who helped them escape seems now to have betrayed them. He warns Max that nothing is what it appears. Everything is a test. A strange voice in Max’s head echoes the strange idea and leads Max and her friends on an even more perilous journey to uncover a secret which they desperately want to know: who are their parents?
Maximum Ride is packed with action and teen angst, but the ending was a bit anti-climactic, almost as if the book ended partway through the story. Max is above all an empathetic leader committed to protecting the weak, no matter the cost. Her struggle to discover who she is makes for a powerful undercurrent to Patterson’s first book in the Maximum Ride Series.
The central characters are part of genetic experiments and spent a great portion of their childhood locked in cages like animals. After their escape, their former captors pursue them, making for some moderately gory battle scenes.