Reviews tagging 'Medical trauma'

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

2 reviews

michellemaas's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging emotional funny mysterious sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


* Beware of minor spoilers

First Read:
5 - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Second Read:
5 - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Third Read:
5 - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fourth Read:
4 - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

First Installment in the Maximum Ride series. Young Adult Adventurous SciFi Novel that follows genetically enhanced teenagers who are on the run from the wicked lab that created them all while trying to find their biological parents, save the world, and stay alive. It features the "found family", "chosen one", and "trauma bonding" tropes.

I really liked this book. The humor was timeless, the characters were undoubtedly lovable, and we had some good action and suspense. The downfall was having the scenes be very formulaic in nature and having a bunch of the questions posed never answered.
“The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective.”

Maximum Ride and her "family" are not ordinary teenagers . . . They are 98% human and 2% bird. The Angel Experiment follows the flock as they try to rescue their youngest member, Angel from the wicked lab that used and abused them during their childhoods.

"Man, you weigh a freaking ton," he told me. "What've you been eating, rocks?" "Why, is your head missing some?" I croaked, irritated.

My biggest gripe was that a lot of the subplots don't go anywhere. We finish this book with a LOT of questions and having read up until book 9 (of 11) I can confirm that most of them don't get answered beyond a "part of life is not knowing, and you just have to trust me even though I've betrayed you but it will all make sense in the end" spiel, which really isn't an answer at all. The fact that this book set up quite a few things that were never explored further keeps it from being a 5-star read because that makes a huge chunk of this book feel useless overall. It's not even enjoyable to ponder on a bunch of concepts that are never elaborated on either.

“Because what’s worse than knowing you want something, besides knowing you can never have it?”

Beyond that, there wasn't much happening. This book was mostly following the flock as they scurry for food, get caught and beat up the Erasers, get away, and then have random adventures that don't amount to much other than setting up the exact same cycle of events.

“I feel like, like pudding," Iggy groaned. "Pudding with nerve endings. Pudding in great pain.”

The only reason this is 4 stars and not 3 is because of the characters. First and foremost: Max. Max is such an amazing character that I don't even have the words. She's loyal, funny, compassionate, and takes such good care of the flock while being aware of her own shortcomings and age. The rest of the flock is also cool. We have diversity (including disability and racial representation) and with them all being so different it's just interesting to spend time with them and see their interactions.

“In the dictionary, next to the word stress, there is a picture of a midsize mutant stuck inside a dog crate, wondering if her destiny is to be killed or to save the world. Okay, not really. But there should be.”

This series will always hold a special place in my heart but I have to acknowledge that there is quite a bit of wasted potential that goes along with it. I would still recommend it if you're looking for a fun, action-packed read, but if plotholes keep you up at night you might want to skip this one.

“Can you giggle while racing for your life and protecting a six-year-old? I can.” 

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hi_im_tate's review against another edition

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adventurous funny hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


*I am reviewing this book using a 2022 lens. My views will be reflected in my review of this book*

Maximum Ride is an adventurous book that keeps the reader drawn in. While mainly aimed at middle schoolers, older readers can find joy in it as well. A group of 6 mutants traumatized by their old life, forced to live as recluses in a world out to get them. Max, our main character, gave me strong "not like other girls" energy throughout the whole book. Maybe that was JP's intention; I just really hate that trope. Max is a 14-year-old girl and hasn't met any other girls her age; she is surrounded by boys her age and girls that are younger than she. It is probably hard for her to relate to them, which is probably why she takes on the role of leader once Jeb, their father figure, disappears. She knows how to take care of her flock and protect them from the bad people.

After getting introduced to all of the characters, the youngest, Angel, gets kidnapped and the rest of the flock comes up with a plan to save her. This is one of the confusing parts. When Angel is at the School (that place where these children got experimented on), it is mentioned that she is the strongest/best of her kind, but not long after, Max is told that she is. I don't know if this was just a manipulation tactic used to gain Max's trust, but it is confusing. Maybe they mean by age group and not of the mutants like them (which also doesn't make sense since Max and the others were the only successes to come of this experimentation). While they are trying to save Angel, Max gets hurt and ends up staying with a human family for a spell. The human family helps and protects Max despite her being a mutant. Max expresses that the mom of this family felt like an actual mother to her, but we did not get to see much of their connection or how that truly impacted Max after the fact. Max is a very one-track mind kind of character, and I think that hurt her in a way. There could have been lots of development if Max talked to Fang or Iggy about her time with the human family.

Max and the flock make their way to New York City, where they try to figure out who their parents are. This section takes up most of the book and seemed to be done well. There were plenty of action scenes, as well as fear and sadness scenes to keep the readers on their toes. The book kind of wraps up with Max and the flock saving more mutants, where the other mutants leave. I wish we had gotten to know more about them, but maybe that will happen in future books. We learn that the flock is going to head to Washington D.C. to try to find everyone's parents.

There were several parts in the book that didn't always make sense or the characters almost seemed to dumb to figure out (which was very annoying). For example, at one point we learn that Max has some sort of chip in her, presumably from the School. The reader can infer that this chip is used to keep track of them and possibly even keep information on them, but every time the villains in the story show up, Max is always like "how did they find us?!?!?!?". Max is the oldest and the leader; one would think she would be able to figure out that they are using the chip in her (and possibly in the others) to track them down. There is more that happens that could be because of the chip, but I won't mention them directly to avoid spoilers. Then, we have 
Spoiler The Kiss between Fang and Max
This seemed completely inauthentic and forced to me. At the beginning of the book, they were considering each other family, and then this?  There was no true development between the two to get to this point. I do not know why it was included.

Overall, this book met my standards for it being a James Patterson middle school reader. It is nothing spectacular, but it is, also, not horrible. There are many twists and turns that I would expect from JP, as well as interesting, dynamic characters that I think can develop into something beautiful.

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