Maximum Ride 3, the new teen adventure novel by James Patterson, is just as exciting as I’d heard. It’s been a while since I’d read sci-fi/adventure for teens, but when MotherTalk offered me a peek into this world again, I was excited to take a look.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I was a preteen and beginning to read adventure books, I found fantasy and science fiction to be up my alley, but I didn’t really know where to start. It was years before I found Robert Heinlein’s books for boys, and this was well before the advent of Harry Potter. I did find David Eddings, though, and Piers Anthony, and eventually Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov, who would fill my mind with imagination of other worlds and other possibilities and other ages, long in the future, after we had “conquered” space.
Well, Maximum Ride 3 happens in the near future, after a conquering of not space but biological limitations. A secret group has adopted and bioengineered changes in babies, growing them with special characteristics as befits their projected place in a New World Order. The resulting birdkids, erasers, and other mutants (if that isn’t too unkind a word for them) have been alternately running from and chasing down their creators in the first three books of this series.
This was my first introduction to Max, the leader of the birdkids, and her crew, but Patterson writes about them so deftly and with sufficient flashbacks that I didn’t feel lost in the crowd one bit. In fact, I think any teen or sufficiently sophisticated preteen could jump right in with the third book, or start with the first book (which spent 56 weeks plus on the New York Times bestseller list!), and enjoy it.
The book itself is a great romp, full of character-building experiences, good dialogue, and real (and sometimes real gritty) interactions. I won’t give the plot away, but there is a teensy bit of romance, of wistfulness, and of reflection, and a whole lot of action in this book.
There’s also a recurrent reference to the birdkid’s blog, which, with its reallife counterpart and millions of clicks, makes this book seem up to the minute and even somewhat participatory. Visit the Maximum Ride website to see just a bit of what I mean.
This book was freewheeling, adventurous, and kept me turning the pages well past lights-out. I enjoyed the book and the re-introduction to the genre, and I’m passing my copy along to a young friend to enjoy as well.
Edited to add: Patterson’s people have really upped the ante here with the website. For every click gathered on the Maximum Ride website, a book will be donated to a child in need by First Book. Lovely. Really nice touch, and one that made me just click on over to be sure that mine is counted too.