Maximum Ride: The Final Warning

James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series certainly had promise. I enjoyed the first installment, The Angel Experiment. Unfortunately, each installment got progressively worse… The latest of the series, The Final Warning, is by far the most disappointing.

The novels have followed the story of 14-year-old Maximum Ride, a human-bird hybrid girl and four others just like her, who are on the run after escaping from “The School” where they were created. It was established in the first novel that Max had been created for a purpose: to save the world. A cryptic voice in her head has guided her and her flock along the way as they fight for their lives in their quest to fulfill that mission. Until The Final Warning, what that mission was exactly, they did not know. Quite frankly, I don’t think James Patterson knew until he started writing The Final Warning, because the mission seems entirely anti-climactic. The series has had human-wolf hybrids and robots out to kill Max and flock, and hints of a decades-long global conspiracy involving genetic research with recombinant life forms. Sounds exciting and thrilling doesn’t it So what is Maximum Ride’s mission really about?

Global warming.

That’s right. The Final Warning takes Max and her flock to Antarctica to study penguins, and ultimately to Capitol Hill, where Max gives a speech to Congress, urging them to heed the alleged warning signs and to do something to slow down global warming.

Instead of tying up all the loose ends from the previous books of the series, Patterson seems to have gone on a tangent by making global warming the focus of the latest novel of the series. Patterson may think he’s doing a service by using his popular series to “educate” kids about global warming — but ultimately the story has suffered.

The Maximum Ride series seems to  be suffering from premature burnout. Patterson’s Alex Cross series started off very strong but started really going downhill with The Big Bad Wolf. After ready the most recent of the Alex Cross series, Double Cross, I felt that Patterson had taken the Alex Cross character as far as he could. Well, with Maximum Ride, he’s taken the series in the wrong direction and should stop. Unfortunately, despite the implication of the title, the ending implied there’s more coming.

And yes, I’m sure I’ll read it, but I can’t say I have high expectations for it.

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