Maximum Ride #9: Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson (Little Brown And Comapny)

THE NINTH AND ULTIMATE MAXIMUM RIDE STORY IS HERE!

Legions of Max fans won’t be disappointed by this encore episode in the beloved series about the incredible adventures of a teenage girl who can fly.

As Maximum Ride boldly navigates a post-apocalyptic world, she and her broken flock are roaming the earth, searching for answers to what happened. All will be revealed in this last spectacular ride – a brand-new grand finale featuring all of the non-stop action, twists and turns that readers can rely on in a blockbuster Patterson page-turner!

James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series used to be one of my favourite books when I was younger and would always be appointment reading for me, as in, when the new book came out I’d get on that and drop whatever I was currently reading at the moment. However, after the third book, the series started to decrease in quality dramatically, falling into the love triangle plot that is common with so many young adult series nowadays, and as a result, pretty much all the books after Saving the World (And Other Extreme Sports) aside from Max were a disappointment for me, with Fang, Angel and Nevermore being an example of Patterson at his worst, and the ending to Nevermore was a resounding disappointment. The characters stopped being interesting and likeable, and as a result, my interest in the series wained. However, when Maximum Ride Forever was announced, I was taken by surprise, mainly because Nevermore had been proclaimed to be the last in the series. Evidently Patterson had a change of heart and decided to write another.

Luckily, Maximum Ride Forever almost feels like  an apology for the terrible Nevermore. It’s what the series finale should have been, wrapping up loose ends, injecting that same tension and pace that the series had in those early days, and gave us a satisfactory conclusion as it looked at life for Maximum and her flock in a post apocalyptic world that they failed to save. Not many young adult books end with the main protagonists actually losing so this was an interesting development, and Patterson handled this downer ending well, with the usual short chapters and intense pace that comes with his books.

The book doesn’t hold back and there are plenty of deaths throughout the book. Eventually not everything is as it seems as Patterson has a habit of bringing characters, both good and evil back from the dead in this series, but the impact is felt. There’s echoes of Patterson’s original duology featuring a winged character that is also named Max but bears little similarity to the character here in the how the book found its resolution, When the Wind Blows and The Lake House, but that’s all there are, echoes. Most of Maximum Ride Forever feels fresh, exciting and Patterson back at his best in the young adult genre.

You’ll get through this book pretty quickly as per usual with Patterson books thanks to his trademark style as he gives a satisfactory conclusion to the characters. The characters are handled well for the most part. Even though the attention is focused primarily on Max and Fang as per usual, Nudge, Iggy and the other members of the Flock get more to do here than they’ve had to do in the most recent books from what I can remember, even if their roles have been dramatically reduced since the start of the first book.

A few characters aren’t quite as handled well as others, Jeb Batchelder is just kind of there for example because Patterson decided he should be, and Patterson struggles to make us care for the youngest member of the Flock, Angel, who has always been hard to figure out what her role in everything is. There’s an epilogue that ends on a bittersweet note, but for the most part, Maximum Ride Forever serves as a nice swansong for the series and I hope for once Patterson doesn’t decide to return anymore. A spinoff would probably be the best idea at this point, but Maximum Ride Forever is at least, despite a few problems here and there, a good finale that redeems the series from the mess that was Nevermore. For all the freshness that comes with the book however it does revert to a few same old tropes with the love triangle being unfortunately one of the most unwelcome ones, but now, we finally have answers, and more importantly, a proper ending.

Fans who have stuck with this series for this long will most likely be rewarded. But I really, really hope there isn’t another entry in this series unless Patterson decides to write his best novel yet, because anything else would probably be a disappointment.

VERDICT: 8/10

The Maximum Ride Series Reading Order: The Angel Experiment, School’s Out – Forever, Saving the World (and Other Extreme Sports), Max, Fang, Angel, Nevermore, Maximum Ride Forever

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