Monthly Archives: September 2013

Maximum Ride: FANG Spork Part 11


Aaaand we’re back!

Chapter 54

Remember when Max got randomly attacked at Cirque Du Soleil? That was two weeks ago! And it turns out the attacker is one of the performers, grabbing her up into the air because acrobatics. It’s not a fakeout cliffhanger, though, ’cause when Max asks him who he works for he says he’s doing this for Max’s “own good.” Max breaks free with ease and looks for an escape route, flying around, seemingly forgetting about the ground-based exits. Fang uses a knife to cut the tent open as they get shot at (!) and Max just happens to look down and see Dr. Gunther-Hagen. So… the Dr. has Cirque Du Soleil’s performers under his thumb? Scary.

Chapter 55

Angel tries to take the flock out to get tattoos but then Jeb stops them and there’s a bunch of awful dialogue and then he decides to talk to them about how they might each lead their own flock one day and he sits down on the floor and “motions” for them to do the same and this chapter is, like, the worst thing I’ve ever read.

Instead of explaining about them being flock leaders, Jeb asks them what they plan on doing differently to “survive” and how it will be an improvement over what Max did. Maybe this would be relevant if the flock were constantly on the run, but, you know, that’s not the case so I’m not sure what could be done differently. Angel, after listening to “her Voice” (???), says that “maybe living is more important than just surviving.

Chapter 56

Once again, we switch perspectives, because heaven forbid JPatterson actually follow through with any particular scene. Seriously, if you removed the formatting of the chapter breaks, these books would all be disjointed messes. They already are, really, but it’s a lot more obvious how annoying it is when things switch around when you remove the chapters.

Also, I just realized that back in chapter 53, Max refers to Cirque Du Soleil as “Cirque Du Soleils”, with an extra S on the edit. What wonderful editing these books get.

This chapter follows Dr. Gunther-Hagen, who’s with a geologist that seems to have found the water source for the flock’s tap. Gee, I wonder how this is going to go. Dr. Gunther-Hagen also mentions Mr. Chu, so I guess we’ve got confirmation that they’re working together.

As you’d expect, Dr. Gunther-Hagen adds a chemical (presumably something to knock out the flock) to the stream that feeds the flock’s water. I guess it’s time for the part of the book where the flock get captured.

Chapter 57

We’re back with the flock, where we’ve skipped past the rest of the scene from the previous chapter because pshhh, actually following through with anything is for actual writers! I mean, remember when Angel said Fang was gonna die? No need to bring that back up. It’d distract from all the exciting scenes like Max playing slot machines!

Angel has some revolutionary idea that Max would hate, and she calls the rest of the flock from wherever they are to announce it. She first abolishes bedtimes and homeschooling, exposition tells us that she wonders if Total isn’t on Max’s side (as if that matters?), then says that the flock have signed up to appear at a charity concert in Hollywood that’s raising money to fix up “a section of Santa Monica Boulevard.”

So… when did Angel get contacted about this? How was she contacted about it? How did she sign up? Why did she do it without asking the flock oh wait, that’s because she’s terrible. Her dialogue in this chapter is also really… generic? Like, she never had much of a voice as a character before, but whatever was there is completely gone now. She doesn’t seem to have any personality whatsoever.

Oh, and apparently Angel has been interviewing agents? So it seems this is through her new agents? That six-year-old Angel hired? Because six-year-olds are so proficient at that.

I mean… okay. Angel reads minds. One would assume that she has a bit more world experience than most kids her age. But being inundated with the contents of others’ minds wouldn’t really give her the “maturity” she’s displayed in this book. If JPatterson would at least try to detail the effects her upbringing and abilities have had on her personality and maturity, maybe this could make sense, but as-is she’s just some sort of bizarre plot device who’s probably a robot, given how little anything seems to affect her.

Iggy, being Iggy, notes how unsafe they’d be, but I guess is sated by Angel’s agents “guaranteeing their safety” because next thing he’s telling Dylan to come with them when Dylan doesn’t want to. On that note, is it only me who finds it really strange how quickly Dylan has integrated into the flock? And how nobody yet has asked him literally anything about his past? I mean, for heaven’s sake, aren’t the flock the least bit curious about who created him and how Jeb got him from Dr. Gunther-Hagen?

Angel tries to mind-control Dylan into coming with them (as they’ve apparently decided to, despite the rest of the flock being initially confounded by Angel’s suggestion and then falling completely silent), and he agrees to come, though it’s not made clear whether her control worked.

Angel saw the intent look in his eyes. And for the first time, she picked up on some of his thoughts.

He had been hoping Max would come home. (pg 200)

Wait, she read his mind for the first time? Why couldn’t she read his mind before? Why weren’t we told about that? Why did Angel never bring it up with Jeb or ask someone about it? I mean, the last time she couldn’t use her telepathic powers, it was in the headquarters of bad guys. Isn’t she the least bit suspicious? Or maybe she is and JPatterson just hasn’t bothered to tell us. I guess her thoughts towards Total, who’s had maybe five lines in the whole book and contributes zilch to the plot, is more important?


Weekly Haiku 29


Love Bugs

Love bugs swarm, then die.

Tiny corpses fill the ground

And bake in the sun.


After days, you see

All your work so far is crap.

Coffee black as ink.


This is a good poem;

This is a very good poem.

You like this po-em.


Rage seethes just below,

Waiting for its chance to strike;

Clenched fist, bitten tongue.


I smile at the rain;

The downpour lifts my spirits

With its steady song.

I’m putting this at the bottom so as not to bias anyone before reading, but I feel like this week’s haiku aren’t really up to scratch (especially Poem). It might just be the mood I was in when I wrote them, but they feel kinda meh to me, so apologies. Also for the lateness. Yeah…

All haiku copyright © 2013 by Michael Vest


EmotedLlama’s Library Haul, August 16th 2013 RESULTS!


Yeah, no spork this week. ‘Twasn’t in the cards. This post itself is majorly late; I finished going through the books I got by a week after I got them, and here it is a month later and I’m finally posting about them. If you need a refresher, I listed the books I got in the first post. So, let’s go through them!

1. Days of Blood and Starlight – Laini Taylor

WHAT A GOOD BOOK. There were multiple points during my reading that I had to put it down and mentally scream because of the tension. It absolutely sucked me in with its amazing prose that’s elegant and yet efficient, wonderful characterization and dialogue, and nerve-wracking plot. One thing did strike me in a negative way: the book primarily follows two characters and their mostly separate paths, and there is little narrative connection between them; their situations neither mirror nor resemble each other, and it made the flow of the book odd when their respective storylines reached their climax and there was simply no relation between them. It’s not really something I’d call an objective failure, but as someone who enjoys that sort of thing, it felt odd that it wasn’t there, even when it very easily could have been. The book also features a scene of attempted rape that felt out of the blue and relatively unimportant to the story, and I’m not sure I think it should have been in the book. (The scene is very intense, too, so if that sort of thing would bother you, definitely stay away from this book.)

2. Dodger – Terry Pratchett

I got a few pages in and felt like the prose was actively trying to confuse me and throw me off. The dialogue was similarly convoluted, and lacked any charm, so after checking later in the book to see if the writing stayed the same (it did), I stopped reading.

3. What My Mother Doesn’t Know – Sonya Sones

I very quickly realized in reading this that it’s the sort of book that’s difficult to enjoy if one can’t relate to the protagonist and their situation. I couldn’t, so I stopped reading.

4. A Beautiful Friendship – David Weber

I really wanted to like this book, but it in every way reads like the worst kind of sci fi book: slow, boring, and so analytical and plainly written that the characters have little life, there is no tension, and it’s just boring to read. I stopped shortly after a character did what was described as the hardest thing in his life in a single sentence.

5. Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society – Adeline Yen Mah

I never got around to getting the book’s sequel, so I didn’t bother reading this.

Weekly Haiku 28


Maybe I should just change the publish date for this feature to “sometime early in the week.” I feel so unprofessional…

Ocean Sky

Clouds above prairie;

Vast continents set adrift

In a sea of blue.


Cold, unlit candles;

Petal strewn sheets left empty

In the darkened room.

First Touch

Shy hearts beating fast;

Warm weight upon my shoulders

As young hands entwine.


The heat is blinding.

Furnace like a gaping maw

Waits to consume us.

Perfect Sky

Summer afternoon;

A perfect sky rolls past me

On its lazy course.

All haiku copyright 2013 by Michael Vest


Maximum Ride: FANG Spork Part 10


Book Three: What Happens in Hollywood… Stays in Hollywood

In-book spoiler?

Chapter 47

So the current top-speed-check for Max is 300 miles per hour. Sounds painful on the wings.

Max flies for half an hour or so, ending up in Utah. (Don’t ask me how she knows she’s in Utah. I guess she somehow knew to slow down to see the signs?)

I had to take a minute out of my new life to… break down and sob like a baby. I worked my way steadily through rage, hurt, embarrassment, back through rage, and then to some random emotion that seemed to need ice cream. (pg 168)

You know, I just read a book where a character did something described as the hardest thing in their life in a single, short sentence, and somehow this seems worse. (It’s also about the last time her grief over being separated from the flock is brought up.)

Then Fang comes and talks to Max a bit. Turns out he’s decided to stick with her, and suggests they go to Las Vegas.

Chapter 48

This chapter follows people seemingly monitoring the flock’s home with cameras, and talking about Dylan as if they created him. It’s surprisingly good at being vague and only using implication to get across that the flock are the targets of this monitoring. The point of the chapter primarily seems to be this, in regards to Dylan not following after Max:

There was no malfunction. It was simply that the soul could not be programmed. (pg 171)

You know, JPatterson seems to be setting up an internal conflict for Dylan, so it might be nice to get a chapter from his perspective that actually shows it. Just sayin’.

Chapter 49

Max and Fang are now in Vegas. I guess nothing important happened in their trip. Max decides that she wants to gamble at a casino because [???]. And it’s mentioned that they have money from getting paid for the air-shows they did for the CSM, and that that money is “gotta be running low about now.” So… I guess the house was some sort of gift, and the flock have been paying for groceries and stuff with the CSM money? Or they somehow got waaaay overpaid and had enough for the house?

Anyway. Max wants to gamble. And nobody stops her and Fang from doing so, despite them being underage.

I was surprised that people didn’t boot us out immediately. Imagine money being more important than law enforcement! (pg 174)

Well, if gambling is treated at all the same as alcohol and cigarettes, legally, then I’m thinking Max officially lives in a fantasy-land where she can do anything. But I couldn’t say anything for sure since I’m ignorant about gambling laws and their enforcement, and don’t really feel like having that in my search history.

Max and Fang use slot machines, and Max soon sees wolf faces and then hears Dr. Gunther-Hagen’s voice when it was just Fang.

Chapter 50

Fang wins the slot machine, and all of a sudden people pay attention to Max and Fang and Max thinks “they” realize they’re underage so Max and Fang leave. Basically, this is more of random tourism nonsense JPatterson is so fond of writing for some reason unknown to me.

Oh, and then they actually run into Dr. Gunther-Hagen.

Chapter 51

Max drops a cup of quarters from the slot machine in surprise.

“Fang, leave that money for some poor soul who really needs it,” I said, all Mother Teresa again. Except I didn’t leave my cups of cash behind. (pg 177)

??????? I hope I’m missing something obvious because it looks like the book is just contradicting itself.

Dr. Gunther-Hagen claims that he’s in Vegas for a professional convention. I really hope that’s a lie or JPatterson just went up another notch in hackitude. He tries to convince Max to work with him about the “coming apocalypse” that will make “more than half the world’s population … simply disappear”. What is this magical apocalypse that will make 4 or so billion people magically disappear, but can be somehow mitigated by making people more resistant to damage? I don’t know because apparently it’s not important enough for Dr. Gunther-Hagen to mention. He also thinks that Max will be a good spokesperson for his vision of the future because she “demonstrates that being different can be wonderful and even necessary”. Which… doesn’t really make sense? “This person has wings and is cool, so you can be cool too by regrowing limbs when everyone else is dead!” And I mean, it’s not as if he could just use Dylan. Or clone another bird kid if Dylan isn’t willing after he gave him over to Jeb/the flock. At least I think he gave him over to Jeb? The whole relationship there is never explained because plot holes.

Max still refuses, I imagine because Dr. Gunther-Hagen failed to say anything he hasn’t already said. “Here, let me say a bunch of incredibly vague things! Join me!” Dr. Gunther-Hagen makes threats, Max calls him evil, and now they’re apparently enemies. Great.

Chapter 52

Gazzy gives Iggy a car magazine and Iggy feels a photograph on it, then decides to “try without touching it” and describes the depicted car’s form, then touches the magazine again and guesses the car’s make.


Dylan calls the flock out to look at the stars, and Jeb points out constellations. Also, the rest of the flock don’t really seem to have any beef with Jeb. I know that I say how Max’s hatred of him is plot holey, but… so is this. Mostly because neither are properly established. We also get this gem:

“Yeah. I used to call them the Dipsticks,” Gazzy reminisced. (pg 184)

…Why do I get the impression we’re going to get ” ‘Sorry,’ X apologized” by the end of this series?

Dylan predicts meteors before they come.

“If you can see so well, Dylan,” Angel asked curiously, “why didn’t you see those Erasers coming?”

For that, Dylan had no answer. (pg 185)

It is a very bad sign when I can’t even tell if JPatterson bringing up questions like this means they’ll be answered.

Chapter 53

Max and Fang are at Cirque D Soleil when the voice warns Max moments before she gets grabbed OH NO THIS IS DEFINITELY VERY TENSE AND DRAMATIC. Come back next week for the underwhelming conclusion to this cliffhanger!

Weekly Haiku 27


Well it’s on time, if only just…

Summer, Still

Sleepy summer day;

A breeze tussles sun-warm hair

While the insects sing.


Soft, friendly voices

Drift in from the other room;

Alone, I listen.

Tired Bones

Weary in the light;

Sleep murmurs its siren’s song

And weights my tired limbs.


Glass warps the water;

Fish idle in half lit depths

As we stare and dream.

Cold Sun

Shadows creep closer;

A distant star sinks beneath

The low horizon.

 All haiku copyright © 2013 by Michael Vest