Reviews for Angel Experiment
Booklist Reviews 2005 February #1
Gr. 7---9. Patterson, best known for his dark, gritty thrillers featuring psychologist Alex Cross, first dipped his toes in the waters of children's literature with SantaKid (2004). Aiming at an older youth readership this time and reworking ideas and characters that appeared first in his adult novels When the Wind Blows (1998) and The Lake House (2003), he delivers an action-packed cross between Gertrude Chandler Warner's Boxcar Children and Marvel Comics' X-Men. Fourteen-year-old Max (short for Maximum Ride) leads an usual group of children, escapees from an institution that designed them by "grafting avian DNA onto human genes." Yup, these kids have wings. When Angel, the smallest of the group, is kidnapped by mutants and taken back to the "school," Max and her family determine to get her back--no matter what. Patterson occasionally forgets his audience here, as evidenced by his sardonic tone and such glib adult asides as "they found their prey: moi," but he's picked a comfortable formula (orphans protecting one another and making a home together), which he's cushioned with an abundance of slavering beasts, childhood heartaches, and unresolved issues--all in preparation for the sequel in 2006, in which Max will, presumably, assume the role she's been assigned here: savior of the world. Expect the Patterson name to attract a crossover audience of both adults and youth. ((Reviewed February 1, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
Max Ride and five other human-avian genetic hybrids fly (literally) from the lab where they were created as experiments and forge a new life in hiding. When six-year-old Angel is captured, Max leads her makeshift family in a rescue attempt, raising questions about their origins and destiny. Smart-mouthed, sympathetic characters and copious butt-kicking make this fast read pure escapist pleasure. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2005 April #1
Nonstop action carries this page-turner breathlessly from start to finish. Fourteen-year-old Max (full name Maximum Ride) and her "flock" have escaped from a horrific School that kept them in cages and tortured them in the name of scientific research. Max and her flock are genetic experiments: 98% human with 2% avian genes grafted on, they're super-powerful-and can fly. "Erasers" (violent genetic combinations of men and wolves) pursue them at every turn. Crossing the country first to save their youngest from the School's scientific sadists and then track down their histories (were they born from parents or test tubes?), they wind up in New York City's sewers. Max develops shattering headaches and a Voice in her head that crashes nearby computers and tells her to save the world. Is it a friend or the flock's betrayer? Short chapters and paragraphs are smoothly accessible; Max's easy-to-read voice alternates between immediate and sardonic. The ending reveals frustratingly few answers, leaving layers of mystery for the sequel. Speed, suspense, excitement. (Science fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 March #3
Thriller writer Patterson takes characters that first appeared in his adult novels When the Wind Blows and its sequel, The Lake House, and places them in an overblown, nearly incomprehensible story pitched at young adults. Max (aka Maximum Ride), the 14-year-old girl from both of the aforementioned novels, leads a band of mutant orphans hiding from the sinister scientists at "the School," who grafted avian DNA onto their genes, giving them wings (plot points established in When the Wind Blows). When the School's henchmen-"Erasers," "half-men, half-wolves" (one of whom is their rescuer Jeb's seven-year-old son)-kidnap six-year-old Angel, the youngest member of "the flock," Max and company will stop at nothing to rescue her. Well, nothing except to aid a stranger, bond with some real birds, eat lunch and take lengthy naps. The often violent hunt-and-chase plot resembles that of a Saturday morning superhero cartoon. The point of view shifts jerkily before settling into Max's first-person narration, which is self-deprecating but never sounds like a real teen's voice, and the novel is strewn with mutations of nouns-turned-adjectives ("tunnel-visiony," "antisepticky," even "Robin Hoodsy"). Loose ends abound but presumably the sequel, scheduled for 2006, will reveal the identity of the evil "whitecoats" and their motives as well as who owns the Voice speaking inside Max's head. The Patterson name will attract readers; but his fans may be disappointed that this tale never takes flight. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2005 May
Gr 7 Up-A group of genetically enhanced kids who can fly and have other unique talents are on the run from part-human, part-wolf predators called Erasers in this exciting SF thriller that's not wholly original but is still a compelling read. Max, 14, and her adopted family-Fang and Iggy, both 13, Nudge, 11, Gazzy, 8, and Angel, 6-were all created as experiments in a lab called the School. Jeb, a sympathetic scientist, helped them escape and, since then, they've been living on their own. The Erasers have orders to kill them so the world will never find out they exist. Max's old childhood friend, Ari, now an Eraser leader, tracks them down, kidnaps Angel, and transports her back to the School to live like a lab rat again. The youngsters are forced to use their special talents to rescue her as they attempt to learn about their pasts and their destinies. The novel ends with the promise that this journey will continue in the sequel. As with Patterson's adult mystery thrillers, in-depth characterization is secondary to the fast-moving plot. The narrative alternates between Max's first-person point-of-view and that of the others in the third person, but readers don't get to know Max very well. The only major flaw is that the children sound like adults most of the time. This novel is reminiscent of David Lubar's Hidden Talents (Tor, 1999) and Ann Halam's Dr. Franklin's Island (Random, 2002).-Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2005 April
When their nemeses locate them and kidnap Angel, the youngest member of their ragtag group, five young flying mutants return to the laboratory that created them to get her back. After rescuing Angel, fourteen-year-old Max, the oldest of the bunch and narrator of the story, leads the group on a journey from coast to coast to escape detection and learn more about their origins. Settling precariously in New York City, they alternate sleeping in Central Park's trees and in homeless camps in the subway tunnels while searching for the source of the voice that Max hears in her head, telling her that she must save the world. After liberating mutants from another laboratory and locating files about themselves, Max's group flies to Washington, D.C., for the next installment in this new series Patterson's book is action packed and a page-turner. Most description happens when it involves violence or gore; scenes in the laboratories involving cruel medical tests are especially graphic. The conclusion is neither as revealing nor as suspenseful as the reader could hope for, and although the characters have their own attributes, it is difficult to keep them straight. Nevertheless this book will no doubt appeal to teens because of its fast pace and because of Patterson's name recognition as the author of the Alex Cross thrillers and other adult-marketed novels.-Jenny Ingram 3Q 4P M J Copyright 2005 Voya Reviews.