Get comfortable, grab a good, tight grip on this book, and prepare for an awesome adventure! At first glance Max might look like an average 14-year-old girl, but you'll quickly realize that she's anything but ordinary. Max has wings! And they aren't just for decoration either. Max can fly; she can soar high into the clear, blue sky like a bird! And Max can do this because she actually is part bird! Sounds pretty cool, eh? Well, not exactly.
See, Max spends the first 10 years of her life locked in a tiny cage at a place called The School. There she suffers through test after horrid test from the scientists who created her by adding bird DNA to her own human DNA. While there, she meets five other winged kids, and with the help of a sympathetic scientist, the six of them manage to escape. This fantastic freedom becomes the happiest time in their lives, bonding Max, Fang, Iggy, the Gasman, Nudge and Angel into a family, the only family any of them has ever known.
But then out of nowhere, their past catches up with them. The Erasers discover their hideout and snatch up six-year-old Angel! Another experiment of the school, Erasers are half-humans, half-wolves, and a whole lot of mean. Max and the others would rather die than have Angel back in the hands of the evil scientists, so they set out to rescue Angel, thus taking a flying leap into this fast-paced adventure that just doesn't stop, not even when the pages end. Along the way they uncover more and more questions that --- just maybe --- they don't really want to know the answers to, like the truth about their parents and the mysterious voice echoing instructions in Max's head.
James Patterson is an amazing storyteller, grabbing the reader's attention on page one and holding on with color and humor all the way through the book. His characters are distinct, layered and very real, complete with hopes, fears and flaws. His vivid descriptions put the reader right up in the sky flying next to Max and the gang, feeling the wind ripple though their feathers and the emotions tear through their hearts. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel, which will be released in Spring 2006. Way to go, Mr. Patterson!
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on April 11, 2005