James Patterson is a master storyteller. He has a great ability to develop intrigue and anticipation via a cinematic approach and a building plot. His utilization of small chapters that jump between multiple characters and settings is very effective.
However, James Patterson is not a master wordsmith. Even with interesting stories, I tend to find his writing somewhat elementary. In his books for the adult market, I can manage because the plot is engaging enough for me to disregard the language, but in Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, Patterson’s dumbing down of his already basic language made the text almost impossible for me to get through.
I actually purchased this book years ago when it was originally released in 2004. I was a huge fan of When the Wind Blows and The Lake House so when I saw a Patterson book with a winged girl on the cover and “Maximum” in the title (the name of a main character in the former books), I immediately assumed it was the third of the series and bought it without question. It wasn’t until I got home and started reading it that I realized it was merely Patterson’s first attempt at entering the young adult book market using characters and concepts he developed for the earlier books. At the time, I was so disappointed that I shut the book and stuffed it on a shelf.
In 2009, I picked it up again. This time I failed to complete the book because of the language. I managed to come to terms with it being a new series, but the colloquial language and the stereotypical “teen” ramblings was at the time impossible for me to deal with. As such, the book was closed again and stored on the shelf.
Recently, I’ve been on another young adult fiction kick and I decided that I would get through the book, come hell or high water. As of last night, I have fulfilled my goal.
My take on it. It was alright. Unlike the other Patterson works I have read (which is a small sample, granted) I found this one not nearly as developed. Many things involving the history of the characters and the company were nonexistent. I felt many times that I was filling in those gaps from the information I garnered from When the Wind Blows and The Lake House, but to young readers who haven’t read them, I could see there being a wealth of unanswered questions once the book is finished.
Also, Patterson attempted to create a very telling and revealing climactic conclusion to this first book, but I found the entire ending lackluster, with a measly chase and a brief fight.I wanted, and was hoping for more, but felt disappointed once I’d read the final page. Perhaps the story advances drastically in book 2, but I’m unsure if I want to spend another seven years reading another book in this series.
This is definitely not one of Patterson’s shining pieces of work.