For some reason Max shushes the rest of the flock, and then the man drives off and Ari follows him. Since the man didn’t finish his transaction at the ATM Max and the rest go and steal some money from it (200 dollars). It’s all kind of boring, and includes some weird bit where Iggy was attentive enough to hear the guy’s PIN number and recreate it by his second try.
Fine, book, be stupid, but I still don’t like it.
Max rationalizes that it was fine to steal the man’s money because he seemed like a jerk, never mind that she has no idea what his day was like and what drove him to act in that manner. Heck, for all we know his mother just died and he was shouting at a genuine idiot, but nope, he’s totally a jerk because the book said so.
And remember, folks, Max goes on to in later books preach morality. I kid you not.
Nudge wants to buy some food at the gas station, but Max says no can do because people there have already seen them. Why that’s important, especially when Ari and his Erasers just drove away, I have no idea.
They walk a bit and find a van, newly empty from a guy unloading stuff from it. They all ponder whether or not to steal it a bit, then Iggy says they’d better make their decision fast because he hears a chopper.
…But he didn’t hear the chopper that the Erasers came from to take Angel. Nopenope.
They steal the car, how we don’t know because Max refuses to tell us. Something about her personal ethics, and while I really don’t care how they’re doing it I’d like t0 know why Max has this information in the first place. You know, basic stuff. Just a bit of information. But nooo…
So Max is doing “the engine thing” while Iggy sits in the driver’s seat and presses the gas, and voila! the car’s ready. For some reason the narration says everyone jumped into the van even though Max and Iggy were already inside, but whatever, because Max has a dilemma: none of them have driven before!
But no matter, because this is Maximum Ride and how hard could driving be?
So, let’s slow down a moment and look at the facts. The School is in Death Valley, eight miles “above” the Badwater Basin. As of the strip mall where they got the money, Max and the others were ten miles away from this location (Max never actually told us why they couldn’t fly in, or even close, just that she didn’t want to). As far as I can tell from some maps, there’s probably two or three miles of road without towns or junctions or anything before you’d get there.
So that’s the location logistics, so now let’s look at Max driving. The book is ridiculously vague about this whole ordeal, but given the fact that Max lived in a cage, then up in the mountains, and has likely never been in a car, I’m going to say that she’s not going to have a natural aptitude for driving–she probably wouldn’t even know which pedal is which. That, combined with the quip Nudge makes about being on two wheels and the fact that Max loses the road, I’m going to say that Max should have crashed the van.
But logic, pah. If you followed logic, you’d know that flying in to the School would give them an advantage (being able to see farther, not being a travel method any defenses would likely be ready for), whereas driving wildly about would put them at a disadvantage. Plus, being up higher would be cooler. It is Death Valley, after all.
I suspect this is because JPatterson writes for rule of cool; things happen not because they make sense, but because he thinks they’re cool or funny. Note the words “thinks”, as this isn’t funny or cool or anything. It’s pointless and makes no sense.
Anyway, Max is not having a happy time driving, at least, and so they decide to find something to eat in an upcoming town named Bennett.
And for a book that seems to be pretending to possibly be real, wow does Bennett, CA not exist.
So Max carefully parks in the back of a parking lot (and of course nobody notices a nervous-looking fourteen-year-old with other kids driving a car, presumably either too slowly or too fast and most certainly extremely poorly, in a small town) and she goes on about how the Erasers could be ANYBODDYYY. Though actually, they can only be men because all Erasers thus far have been men and I doubt that’d change.
And then Max decides to check herself out in the visor’s mirror for no reason other than to make the van’s keys fall into her lap.
The kids are ordering insane amounts of food, and apparently Max is about to die from hunger even though this was never mentioned and it really would have made more sense to buy food at the strip mall, farther away from the School. And because I haven’t yet had a quote:
Am I tough? (pg 181)
As far as I can tell, nuh-uh.
Am I strong? (pg 181)
Uh, not really.
Am I hard-core? Absolutely. (pg 181)
A scene a few chapters ago with some chocolate chip cookies would say otherwise.
Did I whimper with pathetic delight when I sank my teeth into my hot fried-chicken sandwich? You betcha. (pg 182)
I fail to understand how this is supposed to be an interesting or engaging way of telling me that Max likes her food.
They’re eating and eating and then for some reason Max’s neck tenses and she finds Fang to be looking at her sideways.
Acting trés casual, I glanced around again. The couple of families who’d been sitting close by were gone. Now it looked as if a bunch of male models had suddenly gotten the munchies. They were surrounding us, tables of them.
All good-looking, thick-haired guys with big, pretty eyes and the voices of angels. (pg 182)
So remember, kids, Erasers could be anyone, but only if anyone is male models with big eyes who you can tell have angelic voices without them even speaking.
Max signals to Fang that they’ll be leaving through the fire exit behind Fang, then tells Nudge and Gazzy the plan (she can totally speak now, but Fang just waited for his magical gaze to tense up Max’s neck until finally she noticed what was going on).
So they all get out of the fast food place safely, and I just have to imagine this is what the questionnaire for becoming an Eraser is:
You find your targets in a fast food restaurant. Do you: 1) Burst in immediately in the attempts of catching them by surprise? 2) Gather up forces, surround them quickly, then pounce? 3) Sit in tables around them and wait for them to notice your presence?
…Then again, they are models.
They reach the van and, after running over an Eraser, end up dodging through traffic.
Now, how this should end is with Max and the rest crashing into a car and dying horribly, but this is Maximum Ride so they get away unscathed.
And then they actually do crash, into a sedan at sixty miles an hour. And it’s with that lovely little cliffhanger that I end this spork.