Maximum Ride, the bird/kid hybrid with wings and an outrageous attitude, is facing her biggest challenge yet with no Fang by her side. Her best friend, second in command and love of her life, has left the flock to form his own group. Understandably, Max is terribly upset, so the rest of the flock takes her back to her mom’s house to calm down. It doesn’t help having Dylan in her face, reminding her of what she’s lost. Dylan was made to imprint on Max, to be her perfect other half, but Max doesn’t want anything to do with him. Whether she wants him or not, though, Dylan is slowly becoming an important member of the flock in more ways than one.
Meanwhile, Fang has decided to start up his own group and is now interviewing prospective members. Thanks to his blog, he has found quite a few kids with special talents, like Ratchet, who has super-sharp senses, and Star, who is faster than a hummingbird. When Fang needs one more member, he debates whether or not to contact the person he has in mind. He wonders if the clone made of Max would be more of a help or a hindrance, but decides to recruit her anyway. Having someone who looks just like Max might be more of a painful reminder of what he’s left behind than the benefits she brings.
Max and Fang then find themselves confronting a new terrorist organization, the Doomsday Group, which is brainwashing kids all over the world to join together to wipe out the entire human race. They even get a hold of Iggy and Max’s half-sister, Ella, programming their minds to Doomsday’s evil ways. Max and Fang decide they must combine their groups and work together to save the world against these toxic bad guys. Yet, despite the amazing talents both groups have and the tremendous force they become, they will end up losing one of their own.
When James Patterson and Maximum Ride get together, they never disappoint. All of his characters are unique and fascinating. Max, of course, is the shining star, with her amazing abilities, stubborn streak, carefully guarded heart and outrageous attitude. Patterson can paint a vivid picture in just a few short words (for example, “…it looked like someone had taken a handful of diamonds and thrown them onto black velvet.” and “Her words swirled all around me, like little rays of light clearing paths through my brain.”). He also injects words of wisdom into the story without having it sound like a lecture, such as the importance of friendship and working together, of caring for the planet, and that sometimes choices aren’t so black and white (“At a certain level, there are no best choices, no right decisions. Only choices that are less bad, decisions that are less wrong.”). The action kicks into high gear on page one and never once slows down, with lots of surprises along the way.
ANGEL is exciting, suspenseful and hilarious, and I can’t wait for the conclusion of the series, which is expected to occur in 2012 with the release of the eighth book.
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on February 14, 2011