(Man, is that title complicated to type.)
The ambulance felt like a jail cell on wheels. (pg 26)
I feel like this would be a good place for a “hey we grew up in cages simile,” i.e. “The ambulance made me feel like I was back in a cage in the School” or something. Especially since it’s not like Max has the normal rationalization of “jail cells aaaah” on account of the different lifestyle.
The antiseptic smell inside made my stomach knot with nightmare memories of the School. In the back of the ambulance, I held Fang’s cold hand, which now had a saline drip taped into it. I couldn’t say anything to the flock, not in front of the EMT, and I was too upset, scared, and mad to come up with anything coherent anyway. (pg 26)
I feel like this is a big case of telling instead of showing. At the very least, there’s no emotion to it; Max says she’s scared, but nothing in the writing reflects that or gets it across. I’d do something like this instead:
My stomach was in knots from the antiseptic smell; my thoughts felt clouded with vague, yet pounding fear. I held Fang’s frighteningly cold hand with my clammy one, my throat too clenched to speak. Not that I’d be able to form coherent sentences anyway.
Then I’d keep it going, instead of dropping the feeling after a paragraph of “oh no fear now back to the story.”
Then Fang’s heart is beating really fast and the EMTs are not liking this, but all of a sudden Max can speak well and says how his heart is always like that. Nothing really comes of this, however, as they’re now at the hospital and that means that helping Fang not die is suddenly forgotten about.
Now, this is a scene that should be full of tension, right? At least, as much as there can be when it’s a character who we know won’t die anyway. So you’d expect prose full of tension, leaving out irrelevant details, right?
“He’s all of our brother’s,” said Nudge ungrammatically. (pg 27)
Not JPatterson, apparently. That adverb is completely unnecessary, and shouldn’t be there regardless of the scene, let alone this one. It ruins the tone and come on, Fang is dying, do we really need to be told how ungrammatical Nudge was? (Or how grammatical Max is, despite the no formal education thing? My grammar skills should be better than hers, and I wouldn’t object to that sentence–at least, not in this situation.)
Because this is Maximum Ride and we get chapter breaks where they ruin the flow.
So anyway, turns out the bird kids have air sacs for extra air or something. How they fit into the human body, I’m not sure, but at least this sort of alleviates the whole “smaller lungs because of back indents” thing.
Max gave Fang blood and then she looks for the flock and they’re in a room and oh no someone is there and is he an Eraser?
There were three of them, two men and a woman, looking very governmenty, sitting around a fake-wood conference table. (pg 33)
Yes, Max, I believe you when you say you know what “governmenty” looks like. Or what fake wood tables look like.
Or why that’s important in the first place.
Blah blah blah Max is snarky and there is food, but nobody wants to eat it because it might be poisoned! And given the villain’s stupidity, I am actually buying that they might choose to poison food instead of just killing the flock then and there. But it’s not poison, so eating time! Then they flock are going to be questioned in an awfully convenient room… thing that has a bunch of tables.
Third person adventures as the flock are being questioned, and they’re all lying for some reason (and really good liars because… nope, I got nothing). Also they all give fake names, despite the fact that their names are fake in the first place.
The agent held up a picture of Jeb, and my heart constricted. For a second I was torn: give that lying, betraying jerk up to the FBI, which would be fun, or keep my mouth shut about anything important, which would be smart. (pg 39)
But don’t tell me why that would be smart or anything.
The flock also all manage to completely confound their questioners, which bothers me. I mean, not only is there no conceivable reason for these kids to be so capable (really, eight-year-old Gazzy is a great liar and knows to lie and then Max has some amazing wit that can put a stop to an FBI agent?), but it gets into the old kids’ media cliche of “adults are useless and stupid!” which I really hate.
Seriously, I’d like to get a kids’ book where adults are actually important and are acknowledged to be capable. Having a bunch of kids who grew up in a lab run verbal laps around FBI agents just bothers me.
(Actually, I do know of a book like that (The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy), but it still stands.)
She was blond–I couldn’t tell how old. She had the sort of professional polish and attitude of a major-network news anchor. She was pretty, actually. (pg 41)
Max can associate a specific aesthetic with major-network news anchors, but she cannot even give an age range for this character. Riiiiight. (I’m just going to assume she’s a four-year-old, though, because that’s funniest.)
Anyway, Max is now being talked to by a woman who’s that cliche of “everyone is giving the main character(s) a hard time and then this character comes in and is all familiar and conversational and nice.”
And yes, that is an awfully specific cliche, but I swear it exists.
So the government has suspected the flock existed and now want to get some noninvasive information about them or… something, so they’re all going to stay at the woman’s house.
So Max is waiting outside the operating room for Fang and then he comes out and
The doctor I’d talked to came out, still in his green scrubs. I wanted to grab the front of his shirt, throw him against a wall, get some answers. But I’m trying to outgrow that kind of thing. (pg 45)
Our “heroine,” everybody. She tends to be violent for no conceivable reason but you should totally listen to her because she’s a great person, honestly, aside from the sexism and violence and horrible snark and…
Oh, and Max is going by Max but Fang is going by Nick. Not sure why.
Regardless, Fang is fine because DUH but he’ll need to rest for about three weeks, but he’s got bird DNA so that means it’ll just be six days.
Hey, don’t look at me! Max said it. Don’t blame me when the book fails science.
Iggy gave me a combination smile-scowl, which he’s extraordinarily good at. (pg 47)
Maybe JPatterson read Twilight and decided to try out nonsensical facial expressions? Because to my knowledge, a smile is corners of your mouth up, and a scowl is corners of your mouth down. In other words, doing both at once is literally impossible.