Category Archives: Maximum Ride Spork

Maximum Ride Spork: Part Twenty-Five

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You know, there’s something I noticed: at the beginning of the book, it’s mentioned that Iggy was fine as long as nobody rearranged the furniture (on account of his blindness). Then, later, it was revealed that he uses echolocation. So why does it matter if people rearranged the furniture?

Chapter 118

For some reason Jeb and the Erasers left. Which means maybe they didn’t lose their idiot ball (or the flock tossed it back).

Anyway, Fang is hurt pretty bad and then Max kisses him for no reason.

Chapter 119

Only Fang’s not hurt that bad and so they get back to New York and go to the underground subway thing to sleep.

Then, during the night, Max gets special magical instincts that causes her to grab a lurker’s wrist but it’s just the kid from before, and once again his computer is messed up and he says it might be from a memory chip and Max has a chip in her arm! so she asks him to try to access it but he doesn’t want to.

Chapter 120

Max has a dream that tells her how to get into the Institute (via sewers) because of course she does.

Chapter 121

One other thing I guess I should mention–I was really, really afraid now, more afraid than I’d ever been before, and I didn’t even know why. Maybe I didn’t want to know the truth. Also, my head was throbbing, and that had me a little crazy too. Was I approaching my expiration date? Was I going to die? Was I just going to fall over and be gone from the world and my friends? (pg 281)

This is about the best description of any kind of emotion we get in this book. Considering how pitiful, short, and “tell-not-show”-y this is… yeah.

Anyway, they’re going through the subway system and then they find the sewer system.

Chapter 122

This may surprise you, but the sewer system of a burg with eight million people is even less delightful than you might imagine. (pg 384)

Look, Max, we’re approaching the climax of the book (at least, I hope we are). This is not the time for bad snark.

So they go through the sewers and then find the right place because Max is getting feelings of what is right or not because it’s convenient or something.

Chapter 123

The right place’s door is locked, but Iggy can pick locks so he does and they head down some dark stairs.

Chapter 124

Unlike the sewer, there wasn’t even far-off light on the stairs, so it was pitch black. Fortunately, we could all see pretty well in the dark. Especially Iggy.(pg 389)

Real question here: would bird DNA, assuming bird DNA can just be added to humans, grant special augmentations to the subject’s eyes to let them see in the dark? (I guess this could be extended to the special super-vision mentioned at the beginning of the book.)

And then they find the Institute!

Chapter 125

“Holy [insert a swear word of your choice here],” Fang said, stunned. (pg 391)

(Brackets aren’t mine.) Right, so now swearing is acknowledged.

Blah blah blah, Max can somehow feel the Erasers in the building, it’s before dawn so everything is in sleep mode only one computer is on only it needs a password only Max doesn’t know the password only Nudge suddenly gets magic computer-reading skills and knows the password.

I kid you not. Nudge can now get computer’s passwords.

I literally cannot think of a sentence strong enough to get across how ridiculously stupid that is.

Chapter 126

So it turns out Nudge can touch any object and get a reading of… honestly, I don’t know how to describe it, because it seems like she just gets random information about people who use the object. See:

Nudge went to the next chair and put her hand on it. She closed her eyes and, a few moments later, smiled. “A guy sits here. A baldie. He bites his nails. He went home early yesterday.”

Now, let’s look at all of the things wrong with this development.

1) From a plot standpoint, it sucks. The kids need a password? Voila, Nudge just then gets a magical ability to read objects! It’s too convenient, too stupid. It’s bad.

2) From a scientific standpoint, it’s absolutely broken. Even assuming there wasn’t just bird DNA injected into these kids, I cannot think of a science-based reason that would allow her to just get random bits of information from objects. It’s one thing to know “okay, somebody sat at this chair for this amount of time this amount of time ago,” and another to know if they went home early. Honestly, it’d seem like a really overpowered power if it was magic, let alone science.

3) NO. NO NO NO NO. It’s just TERRIBLE. It has NO REASON to be in this story.

My fingers flew across the keyboard, searching out names, dates, anything I could think of to make a connection. (pg 395)

Fingers flying across the keyboard is acceptable for someone who’s a good typist. Why Max would be a good typist, however, I cannot fathom.

Secondly, there’s the fact that computer mice are surprisingly vital. Keyboards are only used for typing and quick commands, but given that Max wouldn’t know the quick commands for finding super secret files, she’d be using the mouse a lot more than the keyboard.

So then Max gets the information she needs, prints it out, and is ready to go but–

Chapter 127

Gazzy finds a curtain that’s got glass behind it and behind the glass are mutant kids.

This is a one page chapter, by the way, and actually seems to be a valid use of short chapters–it’s a dramatic moment that the short chapters emphasizes. However, when the rest of the book has criminally short chapters anyway, it loses its impact.

Chapter 128

“This is pathetic,” Fang whispered, and I turned to see him looking at a large cat, like a serval of a margay. (pg 398)

I have no idea what servals or margays are. Why does Max know what these are?

So then the flock begin opening cages and letting everyone out.

Chapter 129

Everyone’s running away to get to the sewers and then Ari!

Chapter 130

And because this is the end of the book, Ari’s going on about his character motivation and Max seems rather mean about it all, despite her usual supposed goody-goodiness. Then they’re fighting and it’s a fight, pretty much, and then Ari gets seriously hurt and Max thinks she killed him.

Chapter 131

Then the flock fly.

In the sewers.

JPatterson, I know media tends to portray sewers as being bigger than they really are. That’s okay enough.

But I refuse to believe that there are sewers underneath New York City that are large enough for at least ten-foot wingspans, plus the space to flap up and down and still be able to move. I just don’t.

Anyway, Jeb and Max are yelling to each other as Max flies away, and Jeb calls Ari Max’s brother.

Chapter 132

Oh no is Ari really Max’s brother? Well, who cares because the flock are free now and because it would complicate the book the other experiments are now gone, except for a dog that Angel took because she wants a dog so much?

There’s a brief argument about the dog but because this is Maximum Ride they take the dog.

Chapter 133

Blah blah blah the flock are somewhere safe and then they’re going to read the files.

Chapter 134

Everyone’s finding information on their parents and it’s all happy and everything but there are no files for Max because we have to have angst.

Epilogue

Wooo! This book is finally almost over!

Though actually there is nothing important in the epilogue, just “oh yay we’re flying and friendship!”

So.

The book is over.

I have very poor thoughts of it… which means a review! I should have that up in a couple weeks at most, depending on how much I procrastinate.

Then there’s the matter of continued sporking. My current plans are to spork the entire Maximum Ride series, because they really do just keep getting worse. However, I may not have the next book in time, so I may miss a couple updates.

Maximum Ride Spork: Part Twenty-Four

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Since we’re now over three hundred pages into this book, so it seems like a good time for a recap:

1) Angel got kidnapped.

2) Angel got rescued.

3) The flock went to New York.

Oh. Well, then.

Chapter 107

Blah blah blah the flock decide to move somewhere else.

In the end, we settled in the top floor of a ninety-story apartment building that was being built on the Upper East Side. The first seventy or so floors had been windowed in, but up here it was just an empty shell with piles of drywall and insulation. Huge gaping holes gave us a great view of the East River and Central Park. (pg337)

Wanna tell us at what point you learned of this Upper East Side and East River, Max? Or what drywall is, even. (I have HGTV and This Old House to blame for that, and somehow I doubt Max had access to those.)

I would also like to know how they got up there without being seen.

So then everyone is asleep except for Max ’cause she’s worrying about everything and then the voice makes her fall asleep.

Chapter 108

“We got breakfast,” Fang said, taking a bite of muffin. “You were out for the count.”

As I took my first bite of muffin, I became aware of the quivering tension around me. “What else?”

Fang nodded toward the newspapers.

“I figured you got ’em for the comics,” I said, pulling the pile closer. (pg 340)

Is it just me or does this exchange not make sense?

Anyway, blurry photos of the flock are now in newspapers, so this means the flock can’t go after the Institute.

Don’t ask me, that’s the book’s logic.

Chapter 109

And then the flock run into a salon thing that’s offering free makeovers as long as they can be whatever the stylists want, making the people look completely different. (And Nudge is really into getting a makeover for… some reason.)

Suuuuuuuure.

And yes, that is worthy of eight Us.

Chapter 110

This is also part 6 (!), titled “Who’s Your Daddy, Who’s Your Momma?”

So, yeah.

“That is so cool,” Nudge said approvingly as I turned to let her see the back of my new jean jacket. Of course, I would have to cut huge slits in it to let my wings out, but other than that, it was great. (pg 247)

Okay, so first that’s a completely unnecessary adverb there, but second, I’m still waiting on an explanation of how these slits are going to help at all.

See, if Max’s wings go into indents in her back, that means they’d need to kind of unfurl or uncurl or whatever, right? Not slip out. So already having slits in their clothing’s backs doesn’t quite work. But from there, 1) you know, they’re SLITS. Which are VISIBLE. But 2), assuming they can slip their wings out of their clothing, well, how? Either they can somehow maneuver their wings around to get out of the slits (which wouldn’t be an easy task AT ALL), or they have their wings slightly out of the slits so they can actually get them out… which completely defeats the purpose of not being seen with wings.

So.

Anyway, Max has a surprising grasp of ways to say no (including German and Pig Latin, which are totally things a fourteen-year-old bird kid who grew up in a cage would learn and assimilate into their speech), and now everyone in the flock are getting moderately detailed descriptions of how they look. Never mind that we had practically no idea of what they looked like before.

And then they find a dark area to take off, because nobody will see these bird kids flying in New York, where they apparently have ninety story apartment buildings. And I’m sure there are no helicopters or anything.

Chapter 111

They end up at a beach and go to sleep.

Chapter 112

I took a bite of cookie and chewed. “Hmm,” I said, trying not to spit crumbs. “Clear vanilla notes, too-sweet chocolate chips, distinct flavor of brown sugar. A decent cookie, not spectacular. Still, a good-hearted cookie, not pretentious.” (pg 354)

Maximum, you grew up in a cage. You do not know when chocolate chips are too sweet, or what brown sugar tastes like. I couldn’t tell you what brown sugar tastes like. So shut up.

(What? The book started it.)

I mean, really, though. These kids who grew up in a lab, and then lived in the mountains with naught but a single man and the internet to teach them, somehow act exactly like stereotypical kids. RIIIGHT.

Chapter 113

Blah blah blah Max is being paranoid and then Angel hasn’t come up from under the water.

Chapter 114

They look around for Angel and then she pops up and

“Guess what?” she said happily. “I can breathe under water!” (pg 361)

NO.

NO, NO NO.

NO NO NO NO NO.

Just. Just… no.

THIS IS NOT HOW SCIENCE WORKS, JAMES PATTERSON.

Chapter 115

So Angel apparently has invisible gills in her neck now and so she can breath underwater.

I mean. I just.

I–I–

WHAAAAT?!

Chapter 116

Everyone’s asleep and then everyone isn’t because Erasers. And Max knows that Fang and Iggy woke up (though how we are not told) and apparently there are hundreds of Erasers.

Now, since the Erasers now seem to have thrown away their idiot ball, I’m guessing it’s time for the End of Book Capture Scene followed by the Amazing Action Scene where Everyone Gets Away because of Course They Do.

But that’s just a guess.

So, Ari’s got Max’s throat under his boot, but apparently none of the other members of the flock have been held down by Erasers for some reason.

Then Fang is fighting with Ari and none of the Erasers try to help or anything and then Ari’s about to kill Fang but then

“Ari!”

My eyes went wide. I knew that voice too well.

Jeb. My adopted father. Now my worst enemy. (pg 368)

Still waiting on why he’s your worst enemy.

Chapter 117

Fang was] unconscious but still breathing. (pg 369)

BAHAHAHAHA.

Of all the typos to make, of all the typos to somehow make their way into the published novel… JPatterson somehow manages to add a bracket to the word “was.” I mean, COME ON, those letters aren’t even near the bracket keys!

This proves the book wasn’t edited, right?

Anyway, Max talks with Jeb about nothing in particular and then he goes away.

Maximum Ride Spork: Part Twenty-Three

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By the way, the flock got two hundred bucks in the last chapter. I decided not to mention it because of WHAT ANGEL HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT.

Chapter 101

Max gets a single paragraph of simple doubt as they go in search for the address (well, it was just a street; I used the wrong word last time) and I expect that will be the last of that in any meaningful way.

And then they find the place:

It was the building from the drawing in my brain.

And if you don’t think that’s a weird sentence, maybe you should reread it. (pg 317)

Look, Maximum, I read books. I play video games. I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff, and so I really don’t care if you find this so weird. I assume this is just JPatterson writing for the illiterate (as in non-book-reading teens, not literally illiterate) teens again, but I still don’t like it.

So they enter the building and look at a catalog thing of the different companies in the building, but find no Institute. They go up and ask the receptionist if there are any other companies, but she says no and then:

Glancing back, I saw that her computer screen had cleared. …

There’s a pot of gold beneath every rainbow, filled her laptop screen in big red letters. (pg 318)

How the heck could this laptop be oriented to allow the flock and the receptionist to see it? And why would the receptionist have it in such as way that others could see it anyway?

Oh, wait, but Max has to see these words so that’s why.

Anyway, she thinks about this sentence for all of a short paragraph, according to her literally gnashing her teeth, and then voila it means a basement!

I’ve heard of plot-induced stupidity, but plot-induced genius is rather new to me.

So Max asks the receptionist about a basement and the receptionist is questioning of this, and oh noes the entire room could be full of Erasers! Only no because remember, they have to look like models… because.

The flock leave the building and conveniently Max has a ballpoint pen and the knowledge that jamming one into the channel of revolving doors will block it.

Will someone please tell me where Max gets all these tricks and pop culture references from?

Chapter 102

The flock are walking for a bit, and then all of a sudden Gazzy goes crazy angsty. Which is, according to Max, very out of character for him and I agree.

And so Max tries to comfort Gazzy and tells him she’ll do whatever he wants and he wants to sit down somewhere and eat.

Anyone willing to bet that the whole point of Gazzy’s meltdown was to justify a “cool” scene? Count me in, ’cause my vague memory of this book tells me yes.

Chapter 103

They go about looking for a place to eat, and find a diner but it has a half hour wait and then they find a theme restaurant with all kinds of special dining rooms, and of course it doesn’t have a wait.

“May I help you?” A tall, blond, modelly woman glanced at us, then looked to see who we were with. (pg 323)

Oh no, she’s an Eraser! Quick, RUN!

(Also, what’s with the omniscience? Max couldn’t possibly know why the woman’s looking around.)

And then the flock get seated and promptly make their waiter uncomfortable by ordering tons of food. (We know this because Max gets omniscient again and tells us.)

Now, I just thought of something. The flock need tons more calories because of flying, right? Well, for starters, I don’t believe they’ve been flying lately and so I’m not sure why they need the extra calories now, but aside from that would they actually be able to handle the food? It’s my understanding that we get full because our stomachs are full, not because we get enough calories, meaning that, say, Angel, might need more calories, but that doesn’t mean she can actually hold all the extra food.

Or am I totally off-base?

Jason [their waiter] wrote it all down, as if he were enduring an hour-long eye-poke. (pg 325)

I don’t quite like the phrasing of this (I’d go “wrote it all down, looking as if he were enduring”), but I do find the simile amusing. Like that time before, I just wanted to point out that there are some things I like about this book. (Even if they’re small.)

There’s another bit I like, in which a woman who brings them bread is called an underling, but I don’t think it was intended to be comedic.

Chapter 104

So the manager comes over because the flock ordered a ton of food and he’s unsure and everything, and instead of showing that she has the money to pay for the food (which, thinking about it, she might not–a meal for five could cost upwards of fifty dollars down here in Florida, and with all the extra stuff, for six, in New York…) she instead gets so angry that these people dare to be unsure that she’s here under proper pretenses!

Honestly, the people weren’t being too rude at all. And, given the circumstances, their reactions are pretty justified. But of course Max knows that she’s okay, so that means the other people should as well.

And my dislike of Max goes up by ten.

Chapter 105

By the way, there are cops. Why, I don’t know, especially since there’s at least four of them. I mean, four cops? Over six kids buying a lot of food? Really?

And apparently the cops want to take the flock down to “the station” before calling the flock’s parents, and all over buying a lot of food.

Are real police and restaurants this strict? Is there precedent for this kind of situation?

Anyway, the flock fly up into the air and mess with their waiter and the manager with food, and then Fang crashes through a skylight to make a way out. I really don’t think it’s possible, as he’d want to have his wings wrapped up against his body as to not cut them, but getting sufficient momentum to do that in a building would be difficult…

Oh, never mind.

And Gazzy apparently has the finesse to swoop down and grab an eclair, which I believe would just be plain impossible with his large wingspan–shutting up now.

Chapter 106

The flock end up in a big tree and then Erasers!

He [Iggy] was usually our early-warning system. If he hadn’t heard these guys coming, then they’d materialized out of nowhere. (pg 333)

Given how fast they showed up, and knowing this book, I find that surprisingly plausible.

And Ari’s there, and apparently it’s a good time to do some talking and work out his character motivation. (Which is that he’s so broken up because of being neglected by the flock and Jeb and whatever.)

I shot him the bird. (Get it? I shot him the–never mind.) (pg 334)

Whatever tension this scene had just got replaced with stupidity.

And then Ari brings out Angel’s bear, and apparently she finds it so enticing that she goes down to get it. Now, I would find this implausible for a normal six year old to do, but for a kid who grew up in a cage and has no conceivable reason to be so attached to a stuffed bear? No frikkin’ way.

And then Angel starts mind-controlling Ari, and because it wasn’t obvious enough Max has to remind us about how she got the bear in the first place. More of JPatterson’s writing-for-idiots, can’t-do-subtlety thing.

Then the Erasers just… go away.

Which, funnily enough, seems like their entire M.O. “Found the flock? Do nothing!”

Maximum Ride Spork: Part Twenty-Two

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Chapter 92

Fang and I exchanged a look. This was a little scary. Actually, a lot scary. (pg 288)

No duh.

Max tentatively tries to figure out what happened but then Fang gives her a look so she stops so they can continue with their mission. Because going on a wild goose chase is totally more important than keeping your mind-controlling telepath (FIREFOX, TELEPATH IS A WORD) in check.

Oh and ha ha ha the voice is just like Fang because when she wants it to talk it doesn’t and when she doesn’t want to talk it does and ha ha ha hee hee that is just so funny.

Ah, sarcasm.

Chapter 93

Blah blah blah OHNO ERASERS! Stupid Erasers, too!

Hello, kids!”

Directly in front of us, two Erasers leaped out of the doorway of a building. (pg 292)

I mean. I just.

WHY?! If you see your quarry, CAPTURE THEM. Don’t announce yourself!

More blah blah blah as they run away for a page and then Max gets grabbed!

Angel’s hand was ripped out of mine, and she screamed bloody murder. You think you understand those words–bloody murder? Trust me, you don’t. (pg 293)

Honestly, Max, can you stop it with the condescension?

Chapter 94

So now Max is being carried off and apparently people are around and stuff, but she doesn’t bother to try to get help or anything. No, she just makes this quip when someone asks if it’s a movie:

Nah–this is too original for Hollywood. They do sequels. (pg 294)

Getting real tired of Max’s snark.

Then the Eraser drops to the ground and Max moves away, and nobody cares because it’s New York and nobody cares! Man am I sick of that stereotype and I don’t even live remotely near New York.

So now the Eraser is dead and both Max and Fang see some numbers on the back of the Eraser (11-00-07). How Max knows Fang saw it, I don’t know–but JPatterson hasn’t bothered with keeping to the whole first person narration thing anyway.

And despite the fact that these numbers look, you know, like a date, Fang and Max decide it means the Eraser was made in November 2000 as number seven in a batch. Because that’s totally the most plausible explanation and can totally be discerned without any real thought.

Then Max sees a taxi cab top advertisement thingy with the words “Every journey begins with one step” on it (from the voice’s interference, I assume) and decides to… look down. And she finds a bank card with her name on it, which the voice tells her she can use if she can figure out the password.

SURE, book, SURE.

Chapter 95

And the voice apparently can tap into all of Max’s senses or something to know where she is, or so Fang theorizes.

I just gotta say, JPatterson, you fail at science forever. Bird DNA giving kids super strength and running speed? Allowing one of them to read minds, another to imitate voices? Some sort of bizarre voice thing that just appears all of a sudden and is somehow all-knowing?

I mean, WHAT?!

Wordlessly, I held out my left fist. Fang put his on top, then Iggy, then Nudge. Gazzy leaned way over from his branch and managed to barely touch us. Angel leaned down and put her fist on Gazzy’s, and then Celeste’s paw on top of her fist. I heard Gazzy sigh. Or something. (pg 299)

Um, Max, you’re the narrator. Contradicting yourself and leaving open questions like this is confusing and poor.

Chapter 96

Everyone gets woken up by a policewoman, who’s talking through a PA system and saying that it’s illegal to climb trees in Central Park. And apparently there are tons of signs and everything.

Google search: is it legal to climb trees in central park?

Result: a NYTimes article from 2010, stating:

Sleeping in the beech may be invigorating, but it is also illegal. Visitors are not allowed in Central Park between 1 and 6 a.m.; violators can be fined $50. While park rules do not explicitly forbid climbing any of its 24,000 trees, they do prohibit any behavior that damages a tree. (source)

So, um.

Anyway, in the kerfuffle to get away Angel loses her bear, and oh no she doesn’t want another one or anything she wants that bear!

Why a six-year-old who grew up in a lab cares so much about stuffed animals and displays such stereotypical child behavior, I don’t know.

Chapter 97

Iggy ran next to me, his hand out to barely brush against me. He was so good at keeping up, following us, that is was easy to forget sometimes that he was blind. (pg 303)

Yeah, I keep forgetting too.

And then they find “Saint Patrick’s Cathedral” (in quotes because I don’t know if it’s real or not and I don’t feel like bothering to find out) and duck inside.

Chapter 98

As we passed through the door, the air was instantly cooler and scented with something that smelled ancient and churchy and just… religious, somehow. (pg 305)

Because Max totally has an idea of what religion smells like?

And then everyone prays and it’s actually an effective way of showing us character motivation and such, based on what the kids pray for. So, kudos on clever writing there.

(Yes, I did just turn characters praying into something about writing.)

Chapter 99

Oh noes Max is getting a brain explosion with all kinds of images and an address and numbers and letters and blah blah blah.

So they decide to go to the address because why not? It’s not like it’s late and they should be tired or anything.

Chapter 100

Woo, chapter one hundred.

Ugh. No book should have 100 chapters in 312 pages. That’s an average of about three pages per chapter, people. That’s blatant paper-wasting.

So because they need money for some… reason… Max goes over to an ATM and tries to guess the password, starting with “maxride.” Don’t try your full name or anything, because that’s totally not going to be it.

So they keep going from ATM to ATM (because the ATMs shut down when the password is incorrect too many times), blah blah blah…

I know what you’re thinking: Did I try our birthdays or our Social Security numbers? (pg 313)

No, no I wasn’t thinking that.

None of us knew our actual dates, though we had each picked a day we liked and called it our birthday. And the nut jobs at the School had mysteriously neglected to register any of us with the Social Security Administration. (pg 314)

See, that’s why I wasn’t thinking it (plus I don’t bother to think with this novel because I won’t get anything out of it). You know, logic?

Two can play at the snark game, Max.

And then Angel suggests the password “mother” and Max tries it and it works.

WHAT.

I mean.

WHAT.

WHY.

THAT IS NOT HOW WORKS, JAMES PATTERSON.

Maximum Ride Spork: Part Twenty-One

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Chapter 86

And we are now onto part 5, entitled, “The Voice–Make that My Voice.”

Right.

So, into the chapter proper and the computer screen fades to green, then displays a greeting to Max, then she hears a voice, then the screen goes crazy and Max sees the words “Institute for Higher Living,” and then it goes blank.

Chapter 87

So the kid with the computer tries to “track this down,” and…

Fang and I watched, but a couple minutes later the geek stopped, flicking his computer in frustration. He looked at us with narrowed eyes, taking in everything: the drying blood on my chin, the other kids sleeping near us. (pg 271)

So apparently dried blood and other kids counts for everything nowadays.

And then they do some talking with the kid about random stuff, and according to Max the kid is schizophrenic. How does she know this?

He shrugged. “Wouldn’t take my Thorazine. They said, no Thorazine, no school.”

Okay, I’d been around wack-job scientists enough to pick up on some stuff. Like the fact that Thorazine is what they give schizophrenics. (pg 272)

I feel like there’s a difference between scientists who handle bird kids and doctors that prescribe medication. But that’s just me.

So then the kid goes on to display what I assume to be stereotypical schizophrenic behavior (c’mon, JPatterson, a minor-ish theme of your books is the kids who are different wanting to be accepted, and you pull a “he’s crazy so he can act crazy”?) and runs away, blah blah blah chapter end.

Chapter 88

We get a whole paragraph wasted on some simile that Max makes then deconstructs, and then they all go back above ground:

“It’s so bright,” the Gasman said, shielding his eyes. Then, “Is that honey-roasted peanuts?”

Their incredible scent was impossible to resist. You could have an Eraser selling those peanuts, and we’d probably still go. I focused my eyes on the vendor. No. Not an Eraser.(pg 276)

You know your evil minions have a problem when our heroes can discern whether or not someone is a minion with ease.

But anyway, since the Institute for Higher Living is just obviously the Institute they were looking for, Max goes for a phonebook, then when it’s missing uses the… I actually don’t know the term for it, because I am unfamiliar with the system. (But of course Max knows it, because of course.) Anyway, she goes through the whole automated information thingy, but there’s no Institute for Higher Living in New York City so oh no!

I mean, it’s not like they were just recently in a library with a computer that could search for an Institute of Higher Living or anything. Except you know.

Then we get a great example of poor writing:

In an electronics store, a short-circuit camera was displaying passersby on a handful of TV screens. Automatically, we ducked our heads and turned away, instinctively paranoid about anyone having our images. (pg 277)

Arguably the first rule of writing is “show, don’t tell.” That means to, well, show, not tell. JPatterson already broke this rule by telling us that the flock are paranoid and stuff, but here is further wrongness. See, it can be discerned why they ducked their heads and all by the fact that 1) it’s one of few logical conclusions, and 2) we already know the flock are paranoid. By deleting the second half of the sentence (and preferably “Automatically” as well), it becomes a much stronger sequence of events. More punchy, more telling of our characters, more natural. I mean, look at this:

In an electronics stores, a short-circuit camera was displaying passersby on a handful of TV screens.

We ducked our heads and turned away.

Tell me how that’s not a better two sentences.

But since JPatterson is lazy and writes as if his audience are idiots, we get what’s in the book.

Then a good morning greeting to Max displays on the TV screens, and the voice in her head speaks to her. And apparently Max can tell it’s the same voice from before, but also doesn’t know if it’s male or female, young or old, etc. Essentially, it’s devoid of defining characteristics, but can also be recognized.

Brilliant writing, JPatterson.

Chapter 89

I don’t know about the rest of you who have little voices, but something about mine made me feel completely compelled to listen to it. (pg 278)

So Max gets the flock to go to the Madison Avenue bus. And we also get told, once again, that the flock are low on money. But they can still afford honey-roasted nuts and all that, and the book never bothers to tell us how much they have, or even where they got it.

Rrrr.

Blah blah blah, they get off the bus and toy store!

Chapter 90

And because this book is a firm believer in gender stereotypes, the boys go off to Legos and the girls go for stuffed animals. I mean, it does mostly fit with the characters, but you know. (I actually don’t know, please tell me.) Anyway, Angel wants a little stuffed bear dressed as an angel, but Max cannot afford it and Angel snaps at Max! And you know that just so out of character that Max has to tell us that. Not like we could tell or anything. Then, Max wanders off to another section:

There were Magic 8 Balls, and when you shook them, an answer would float to the surface of a little window. I shook one. “Very likely” was its prediction. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to ask it a question. (pg 283)

I like this. It’s got a certain sensible humor to it that’s really enjoyable. Just thought I should point out that I don’t hate everything about this book.

And then a Ouija board magically moves and tells Max to save the world.

Anyone want to tell me how that works? Because I have a feeling this random telekinesis will never be mentioned again.

Chapter 91

So, apparently it’s been just over a week since Angel got kidnapped. Math time!

According to Google Maps, it’d be about 2,500 miles to go from Death Valley to New York City. Putting just over a week at about a week, two days, and given that it took about three days to save Angel, let’s say that they were traveling for six days.

Now, saying that they were able to fly for, say, 8 hours a day (and I think that’s being generous), that’s 48 hours that they were flying.

That means they were traveling at about 52 miles per hour. Which, while believable (at least to me), seems to conflict with the whole “90 miles per hour” speed Max was able to get to earlier in the book. Saying that that was a higher-than-normal speed, let’s say 70 miles per hour is their average, and that’s the speed they actually traveled at. That’s 37 hours of total flight time. 37 hours out of 144. Discounting 10 hours per day for sleeping, plus 2 more for finding/eating food, and that’s 109 hours. Anyone want to tell me what the flock did with those extra 35 hours?

ANYWAY, turns out Angel mind-controlled a woman to buy her the bear and the chapter ends.

Maximum Ride Spork: Part Twenty

Standard

Things that haven’t been answered:

1) Why it took four years for the Erasers to find the flock.

2) Why the Erasers are so ineffective at capturing the flock.

3) How the indents on the kids’ backs manage to hold their huge wingspans/how the indents don’t weaken their hearts and lungs, thus making it harder to fly.

4) How the kids can magically fly when they’re wearing shirts.

Yeah, not looking too good.

Chapter 74

So everyone starts flying, and Max is completely fine now because her head pain only exists when it’s convenient. While they’re flying Nudge has a one-sided conversation with Max about her parents, and Max then goes on about the cookies she and Ella and Ella’s mom made–only, it’s pretty much just telling us what the original scene said. It’s hard to tell if it’s just bad writing or JPatterson expecting his readers to be idiots.

Also, Max apparently tries not to swear too much because Angel might start repeating it. It’s not like Angel can read minds and hear Max swearing mentally (which is going to happen), except oh wait she can.

Chapter 75

And suddenly the flock are in New York. That’s right: we get absolutely nothing about the flock’s journey all the way across America. I am in awe at what amazing a storyteller James Patterson is. (For definitive clarity, that sentence was sarcasm.)

Oh, and they’re all flying in the air over New York–right near Central Park, in fact. Because nobody’s gonna see them doing that.

They decide to watch a concert going on, which is by some band I have never heard of but the flock like them so whatever. And… Iggy has a lighter? It’s mentioned as if it’s just a thing he has, which is weird since there hasn’t yet been a mention of him having a lighter. They all stay at the fringes of the crowd because of claustrophobia and all that stuff.

So now it’s past the concert and the flock are all in trees to go to sleep (because people totally can’t fall out of trees while they’re sleeping) and we learn that Iggy practices echolocation.

Now, interestingly enough, this is a real technique some blind people use, and was actually featured decently prominently in the Underland Chronicles book series (though, to my knowledge, in an exaggerated fashion). And you know what? Learning it takes time, because humans aren’t specifically designed to do it.

So anyone want to tell me when Iggy learned echolocation?

Chapter 76

Now it’s the next morning, and nobody’s sore because trees totally aren’t hard or anything and sleeping on your stomachs (on account of the wings) totally isn’t difficult or uncomfortable to do in trees.

Max, Angel, and Iggy go off to buy honey-roasted peanuts (with money that they just… have) and then oh no! A clown gets eye contact with a sleek looking guy and we all know sleek guys are evil, so something terrible is going on!

And again we get told that the flock can run faster than grown men (one, WE KNOW THIS, two, WHY) and there’s this dramatic chase that loses its dramaticness when you take into account that the flock run by people who they could ask for help, and then there are like eight people chasing the flock and bleh.

Chapter 77

Iggy swerves the flock into a crowd that’s totally not claustrophobic for the flock because that only exists when necessary, and with that the one-page chase scene is over.

Maybe if JPatterson actually followed through with these “action” scenes they’d be interesting, but every single one gets diffused after a couple of pages and it’s BORING.

But now they’re in a zoo so yay!

Chapter 78

I find this incredibly funny because Max is telling us how WOW they’ve never seen any of this stuff in real life! And the whole point of this brief monologue seems to be to make sure we know the  flock aren’t normal kids, except everything in the way they’re written is how someone would write normal kids.

Also, Max describes the flock’s wings as “retractable.” I dunno, I really don’t think wings work that way.

And this zoo is also “flashback city” for Max, but we don’t get to see these flashbacks or get any mention of them out of a brief bit of dialogue. So.

Chapter 79

Blah blah blah, apparently the Erasers (because of course they were Erasers) who were chasing the flock are new models, which are called “this year’s model” because a bunch of bird kids are totally on top of a secret organization’s experiments.

Then we get treated to a bit that reads like thinly-disguised advertisements for New York city (OMG so much stuff in so close proximity and it’s just so amazing!), and Max gets cookies which is a scene summed up in about three short sentences. Which, while weird writing, is at least not boring.

Chapter 80

Blah blah blah they go to a library. The New York Public Library of Humanities and Social Sciences, in fact, because of course.

Chapter 81

The flock take an elevator and it’s really frightening and everything.

So elevators and concert crowd are frightening, but a crowd going into a zoo isn’t.

I just.

Anyway, Max and Fang search for a bit on the library computers but find nothing so they leave.

Chapter 82

The flock decide to take the subway back to Central Park, but apparently this station is empty and they’re free to jump onto the tracks when they hear voices and see light.

Chapter 83

They continue down the tracks and have to lean up against the walls when a train passes. And all this time I’m wondering why they’re heading down these tracks. I assume it’s because the plot demands it.

And then they find a hidden group of homeless people living in a large room… place… thingy that doesn’t get nearly enough description. Does anyone know if these kinds of places actually exist?

Anyway, the flock decide to sleep there because of some reason.

Chapter 84

I’ve summed up ten chapters in less than nine hundred words–and that’s with commentary. Just sayin’.

Then Max gets a “brain explosion” while she’s sleeping, and we get treated to another use of “jackknife.” I’m unsure such a specific word should be used twice in about 20,000 words.

Blah blah blah, Max is in pain and Fang is trying to comfort her or something and then Max hears a voice saying some nonsense.

Chapter 85

So the voice belongs to a kid who’s angry at Max for messing with his computer, and then she looks at it and it’s flashing the same images she got during her attacks (these images that weren’t important enough to be described, and yet are distinct enough to be recognized?). Shock horror or something.

And thus ends this part. Making it a 60 page (less with all the blank space from chapter breaks) part of a book. Brilliant work, JPatterson.