Stupidity takes a well-deserved day off (I didn’t leave the house at all yesterday or answer any phones in case I’d run into a vacant mind) to give me a chance to review the latest young adult book offering by brand name author, James Patterson: Maximum Ride 3 ~ Saving the World and other Extreme Sports.
Science fiction and fantasy are not my genres of choice. But from the very start, this energetic read showed no signs of letting up. Fast-paced and well planned, the short, crisp chapters reeled me in; I couldn’t help but fly right beside Max, Fang and the whole gang as they set out to save the world from obliteration.
Six genetically modified kids, ranging in age from six to fourteen, strive to overcome the very mad scientists that created them. The “whitecoats,” become these children’s, and the entire planet’s, worst enemies. Another tome about the co-existing forces of good and evil. Hardly an original concept, but what the plot lacks in inventiveness, it makes up for in action.
The kids in Maximum Ride 3 are hip, smart and just happen to have amazing flying ability. They’re the only ones of their kind to have escaped the whitecoats and survived on their own. Consequently, they’re street-wise and world-weary. I hadn’t read the first two books of this trilogy, but I felt unhampered as this was simple to follow and to the point.
The leader of the flock is sassy Max, a young girl with grit and moxie, not one to hold back when it comes to speaking her mind. At first, I found her nonstop sarcasm a bit much. But honestly, what did I expect from a parentless girl forced to fend for herself against the odds and elements? The majority of grown-ups in her short life were wicked and bent on wrecking havoc. When did she have time to learn ladylike manners with survival on her mind, not to mention saving the world?
Details that could delay the action are conveniently discarded (how did the kids buy airline tickets without money? And who was the mutant in the castle that passed the note to Max?). I wish James Patterson had opted to discard the attempt at romance between Max and Fang. It seemed out of place. And weren’t they a little young and terribly busy? For me, it was an unnecessary distraction from the action; I was relieved it was brief.
No search for deeper meaning required in Maximum Ride 3. Just a carnival ride, exciting and fast-moving. Don’t get me wrong. These kids are set on doing the right thing and surrounding themselves by the right people. Responsibility, loyalty, and trust are often put to a test. Not bad virtues to pass on to young readers.
If you’re looking for flowery prose and detailed description, you’re not going to find it here. The rare similes that appear consist of examples such as Total the talking dog squirming inside Max’s “jacket like a gopher in a hole.” But you’ll find action galore.
My sixteen-year-old, currently reading The Scarlet Letter for his English class, peeked over my shoulder as I read.
“Wow!” he marveled. “this looks really easy to read.”
Maximum Ride 3 appealed to his sense of brevity and fun; a light-read, not requiring a dictionary by his side to define terms like “assiduous” and “desultory.” What you see is what you get and that was just fine with my son.
If you give youngsters a choice between going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or Disneyland, which do you think they’d choose? If it’s Disneyland, then this is the book for them.
Tomorrow my quest to overcome stupidity while maintaining sanity resumes with A Case of Mistaken Stupidity.