I was drawn in by the blurbs on the jacket of Maximum Ride, and ended up really enjoying this mutant-teen-adventure on steroids. James Patterson's book is well-written, well-crafted, and downright fun – especially when waiting endless hours in an airport for whenever your next flight might be.
Flight plays a big part in the unfurling of this story. The title character, Maximum Ride, is a 14-year-old girl leading a flock of others who all have been DNA-enhanced with avian abilities and features. They have wings, and they can fly – things that come in handy when being chased by wolf-like creatures called Erasers, also DNA-mutated into something superhuman, and when trying to find your identity after spending so much time being poked and prodded by the White Coats in the disinfected labs of The School. Max and her friends have escaped the confines of scientific research and really just want to find their place in this world. Don't we all?
There's adventure as Max and the others fight the Erasers, break into several lab facilities, and blow things up. Some find new abilities as they take flight, and others discover things about themselves in the midst of the stress and trauma of fighting for one's life. Like most good mutant/superhero stories, the reader is invited to break with logic and dive headfirst into the unknown while empathizing deeply with people who have amazingly heroic and noble powers.
I found that two other Patterson books start the story of Max and her friends — When the Wind Blows and The Lake House — and the second in this particular series is already out, School's Out Forever. I look forward to reading the backstory and then the next novel as well.