18 January 2013

Book Review: "Angel" ("Maximum Ride," No. 7) by James Patterson

Author: James Patterson
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Published: February 2011
Synopsis: Maximum Ride, the leader of a group of mutant bird kids, has been informed of an upcoming apocalypse, and that she and her kind will likely be among the few to survive. Worse yet, a mad scientist from Max's past wants her to lead other surviving genetically mutated kids after it hits. After meeting some of her potential underlings, Max and crew discover that the other kids have been sucked into the propaganda of The Doomsday Group, which has a dangerous hidden agenda. Will Max and her friends be able to stop the Doomsdayers and save the world?

Story: 4.5/5
As usual for James Patterson's Maximum Ride series, this is another hero-versus-villain yarn that works quite well.  Action-packed at times, dramatic at others, it really draws you in, and is a true page-turner.

Writing: 4/5
Much discussion has been made about the writings of James Patterson, who is easily one of today's most prolific authors.  While he has legions of readers, some critics, such as horror writer Stephen King, are not fans of Mr. Patterson's works.  While I can't compare this to Mr. Patterson's Alex Cross or Women's Murder Club series, only because I've never read them, I found the writing great, with a dash of humor thrown in via Max's narration.  It was slightly awkward to switch from a first-person to third-person perspective, but it was also necessary to the story.

Content: 4/5
The violence is very much like that of a comic book movie, with no blood or gore, though there are some implied deaths.  No profanity, save for the usage of the acronym "WTH".  Sexual content is limited to kissing and one stray crude reference.  There is absolutely zero drug or alcohol usage, and only a tiny amount of bathroom humor.  Where the book falters slightly is with the storyline.  The Doomsday Group, who are the main villains in Angel, talk about a world ending event in a few days where "everyone will be in the arms of Mother Earth."  That sounds like a cult, but it could be interpreted as a slam against Christians who have claimed to know the date of Jesus' return, only to be proved wrong.  Not knowing where Mr. Patterson stands religiously, it would be hard to determine his true intent.  If that doesn't bother you, then there's little offensive content, though I wouldn't recommend it to those younger than "tween" age because of the violence.

Conclusion: I first found out about James Patterson's Maximum Ride series thanks to an Amazon.com recommendation after reviewing the first Alex Rider novel.  After reading the premiere book, The Angel Experiment, I devoured every other available entry in the series.  Prior to reading Angel today, I hadn't visited the series in a while, but, now, I am eager to read the finale, Nevermore. Even if you haven't liked other "young adult" novels, this series is a bit different, as far as content goes.

Score: 4/5

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