Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson
Series: Maximum Ride #9 (9/9)
Published by Little, Brown and Company on May 18, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover, ARC
Rerated: 3 Stars
4 Stars, Completed May 22, 2015
– highlight to reveal SPOILERS –
(Skip below to the red text if you only want to read the actual review of Maximum Ride Forever.)
Beware of this being a long review. (But when are my reviews short anyway? I did make sure to bold the main points this time though.)
As some of you guys know, I got into reading when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released the summer of 2007. Another series I particularly enjoyed after I found my newfound love for reading was the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. Crazily enough, since 2007 I’ve kept up with the releases for Maximum Ride until the last book, Nevermore, which was published back in 2012. So imagine how confused I was when I discovered another would be released this year. To help clear some confusion for you guys: Nevermore was and is the intended last book of the series; Maximum Ride Forever is a special extended epilogue or encore if you will.
Before reading this book I shared the same conflicted sentiments many Maximum Ride fans and James Patterson readers felt: WHY?! I loved/hated the Nevermore “finale.” Some series should just end. You know what, it’s okay, I want this installment.
So for the folks that didn’t read the previous books to this series and pose the question: “Is this series worth reading?”
Maximum Ride is a series similar to The Mortal Instruments in that it’s one you either like from the beginning or completely detest. Maximum Ride is split into two story arcs, The Fugitives (Books 1 through 3) and The Protectors (Books 4 through 8). And then there’s Maximum Ride Forever chilling out alone and set after the events of books 1 through 8. And just like with TMI, this was a series I liked up until the 3rd book and didn’t like as much as the series progressed.
The first arc with The Fugitives, was a fun segment that allowed the readers to get to know Maximum Ride and her flock, a group of hybrid orphans that were all 98% human and 2% bird. This trilogy was a fun adventure, told with humor. The characters are unique and likable, especially the main protagonist, Max. She’s just another young, kickbutt heroine we all never get tired of seeing. Plus, she named herself. I mean how much cooler can a protagonist get? This arc sequenced the events with Max and her “siblings,” the flock, attempting to go to school and fighting off evil scientists and mutant wolf men called Erasers. So the first three books were action-packed and definitely page-turners.
However, I’m sorry to say I was as indifferent towards the 2nd arc, The Protectors, as I found the first arc intriguing. There were a bunch of unbelievable, apocalyptic twists, figuratively and literally. And the story line became messier and the overall plot went out of focus. Instead of it being about Max and flock on the run, the plot became Max and the flock saving the earth from world disasters like global warming and crazy robots. A little too cliché for me. It also became soap opera-esque, where characters would die but then reappear alive. And our beloved heroine started to worry more about her love life and boys than saving the world. In this arc, Max is facing the hormonal adolescent age so the increase in whiny teenager syndrome was acceptable, but Patterson could have spared us from the love triangle. Sadly, other likable characters started to become inconsistent or nonexistent all together. Yet, there were still moments that I really enjoyed in each book and influenced me to want to grab the next book upon release.
The answer: Yes, read the series. Read The Fugitives (Books 1-3), then precede on the next installments with caution. If you don’t like them, take 30 minutes to google the events in The Protectors (Book 4-8) so that you know that a literal apocalypse happens, and then read Maximum Ride Forever. Doing that should be just as satisfying.
– REVIEW for Maximum Ride Forever begins here, there will be SPOILERS for readers that haven’t read the series in this segment of the review –
In Maximum Ride Forever, Max and the flock are facing the struggles of the post-apocalyptic world. Every part of the planet seems to have met it’s eventual Armageddon with floods and fires made from crashing comets. Max and the flock have saved the world many times before from evil scientists, genetically modified specimens gone wrong like themselves, global warming, robots, and other villains, but they were unable to prevent this apocalypse in Nevermore. Now, with billions of lives lost and planet Earth a mess, the flock begins to see differences and decides to split up and approach saving what’s left of the world each on their own. On their separate ways, they soon discover that a man that sickly refers himself to the Remedy is behind the mass destruction of the world and isn’t done until each of them are dead. They learn that this is the final battle they’ll have to face together, if the Remedy doesn’t find and kill each of them first.
This book literally made me speechless the moment I closed it. I came into reading this not knowing what to expect and thinking I’d give it anywhere on the rating spectrum from 2 to 4 stars (read my long explanation above about the preceding books to see why). And this book ended up being an absolute rollercoaster. There were parts I was certain I’d rate it a 2 but then other moments that hit my emotional core making me want to rate it 4 stars.
The well done twists and cliffhangers made this an incredibly fast and fun read. It also helped make the plot unpredictable, which I really appreciated. I often found myself taking pauses throughout the book to regain my composure. Ugh, the feels. I was also pleasantly surprised that characters that were inconsistent in books 4 through 8 like Max, Nudge, and Dylan, finally returned to their originally likable characters in Maximum Ride Forever. The action scenes were also thrilling and what helped me finish polishing this book in a few hours.
However, the main reason why I was conflicted with the rating for this book was the slow beginning, the excessive use of plot twists, and, admittedly, my original skepticism after the disappointing “finale” with Nevermore. The beginning mostly focused with filling in readers where Nevermore left off and the new background information on the Remedy and the new race of Horsemen. Readers would be confused without these fillers but I couldn’t help but want to skip it (I didn’t though). The pace didn’t pick up until about page 60. So I think the beginning could’ve been executed shorter and still achieve the same purpose. And as much as I raved about plot twists in Maximum Ride Forever, there were too many and it became a little unbelievable by the end. There are so many times you can use “it was all a dream,” the resurrection of the dead, and cloned characters. So star deductions stemmed from those reasons.
I also have to admit that this is a series I don’t think I’d enjoy as much if I reread it. There’s certainly a younger audience appeal to these despite them being categorized in the young adult genre. The characters are almost all roughly under 15, so seeing 7 year old Angel as a tiny tyrant was a little disturbing for me (as it did in previous books, you’ll know why if you’ve read them). The weird Angel moments and the predicted immaturity of the characters due to their young ages stunned me for a few moments and made me realize that I’m
slightly outgrowing this series.
So to be honest, Maximum Ride Forever probably deserved around 3 or 3.5 stars according to my rating guide. But I’m giving this 4 stars solely because I do believe this was the best and perfect conclusion that loyal readers of Maximum Ride will enjoy. Maximum Ride Forever proved that the long wait was worth it and that it’ll leave fans bittersweet.
I received this from the publisher and in no way did this influence my honest review. Thank you Little, Brown and Company for sending me this review copy!