Max Ride 4: Final Warning

March 21st, 2008 by Brian Leave a reply »

I finished Haddix’s Found earlier this week and loved it. Since I had already read Flanagan’s Battle for Skandia, equally satisfying, the next big book was Patterson’s Final Warning. (I’m a movie fanatic and waiting for Max Ride 4 after Ranger’s Apprentice 4 was the same feeling as waiting for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Dark Knight.)

Usually it’s my duty to hype books. I understand that sometimes it’s easier to just watch a TV show, so I understand the importance of finding a great book quickly. I especially understand a need for lots of action in a book. A few explosions never hurt anyone (okay, so maybe explosions do hurt, but they make for exciting reads).

The Maximum Ride series by James Patterson always has lots of action and short chapters – a great combination. Number 4 has the short chapters…

I’m not saying that it doesn’t have action, mind you, but the action is not like the other three. It has action like an average book. But in Max Ride you expect giant aerial combats, betrayals by covert operatives, and general craziness.

Well, there’s a scene where the Flock flies over the Pentagon and a jet is scrambled. But the Flock immediately dives for cover. Realistic, but a distinct lack of explosions.

The main villain? Global warming. Yep. There is a significant amount of time spent where scientists and congress debate the causes and effects of global warming. (It’s not like I’m anti-Earth. I’m looking at getting CFL bulbs through an offer from SRP.)

Most of the book is a re-telling of character development from previous books. It’s almost like Patterson wanted to get his global warming message out and needed a popular venue. It makes more sense for Max Ride to look at global warming issues than Alex Cross.

One of the funniest quotes about the re-telling:

I won’t bore you with the usual duct-taped hands and feet, bound wings, stuck into black body bags, yada yada yada, that we always go through in these ho-hum random abductions. It was like, same old, same old, and I could hardly work up the energy to fight hard enough to get more than a black eye and a sprained wrist about it.

– page 214

I actually feel bad about saying negative stuff about the book. Patterson says on his site that his biggest cause is getting students who don’t like to read interested in action-packed books.

This review is not a pan of Max Ride 4 but instead a hype for Max Ride 1-3. In those books you’ll find gut-wrenching descriptions of jumping off cliff edges into canyons, people fighting thousands of feet in the air while experimental werewolves lash out at mutant heroes. Go with those books. Book 4 is for die hard fans, but I definitely wouldn’t start the series there (even though there’s enough re-telling to catch up first-time readers. It’s almost as if Patterson expects people to jump in without having read earlier books).

I’ll still have a couple of copies of Max Ride 4 on the shelf. And I am waiting expectantly for The Dangerous Days of Daniel X coming out in July. Don’t let me down, James. I need something to booktalk the 8th graders this coming August!


Leave a Reply