Category Archives: Maximum Ride: The Final Warning Spork

Thoughts On Maximum Ride: The Final Warning

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If you’re reading this, you probably know the deal, and if you don’t, you shouldn’t be starting here anyway, so let’s jump in with the plot.

The Final Warning starts off with Ari’s funeral, because he died, but given that it took me a moment to remember this fact, I think you can tell how insignificant it is. The flock go on to be courted by the US government, but Max declines because reasons. Then the flock nearly get blown up by a pizza bomb.

Now, this poses an interesting question: who made the bomb? The villains of the book intend to capture and sell the flock; killing them poses no advantage. In fact, the bomb is completely forgotten soon after it goes off. The only point to it is to propel the flock out into the wilderness, something that lasts for a couple of chapters before being dropped in favor of heading to the Antarctic.

Cue rant.

See, the flock are going to the Antarctic with a team researching the effects of global warming. In fact, the plot of this book is ostensibly “global warming is bad!!” That’s right: this action series for kids is suddenly about global warming. Now, I think it’s bad enough to craft fiction to make a political point, but to take an existing series and abruptly make it about climate change? It’s just ridiculous.

It doesn’t help that it’s terribly written. At first, Max is skeptical of global warming, thinking (but not saying) points against it as it’s explained to her. This seems to be intended as a plot point: Max doesn’t believe in global warming, but then she does! The problem is, she makes points that are never refuted, and then changes her mind because there’s a hurricane.

No, seriously. Max is in a really bad hurricane, Angel says that the people on TV say it’s bad because of global warming, and next thing we know in this plotline Max is giving a speech to Congress. Not only did JPatterson decide to make the book about global warming, but he didn’t even bother to refute arguments against it.

The rest of the plot is similarly bad, with super-convenient happenings, zero tension, terrible prose–you know the deal. The characters mostly stay the same from their previous incarnations, but oddly Nudge goes through a complete change: whereas she was previously talkative and somewhat resourceful, Nudge in The Final Warning is a pop culture machine, and kind of vapid to boot. Why JPatterson decided to make this change, I don’t know, because Nudge being resourceful were the most interesting character moments in the first three books.

The worst part of The Final Warning, though, is definitely the villains. JPatterson seemed to think he needed to up the ante this time around, because rather than a tortoise woman we get the Uber-Director, a cyborg of sorts whose body is in a series of connecting boxes. Like all of JPatterson’s villains, he’s supposed to be competent and frightening, but also like all of JPatterson’s villains he’s silly and easily enraged by Max’s bad quips. His motivation is never clear; he intends to sell the flock, but to what end is not explained. He clearly doesn’t need money, as he develops a line of robot soldiers to capture the flock, and yet the only thing he stands to gain from selling the flock is… money. He’s also helped out by a robot named Gozen, who is most notable for his terrible, terrible name.

Overall, I’d say that The Final Warning is the worst of the books I’ve sporked so far. Personally, I hate School’s Out–Forever more, for its utterly pointless plot and irritating-to-type title, but The Final Warning is just so wholly insipid I can’t really give the title to anything but it.

Stay tuned for my spork of MAX, in which JPatterson decides to completely change his naming scheme for no good reason.

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The Final Warning Spork Part 12

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Sorry for the lateness! The internet went out Tuesday and Wednesday, I was busy Thursday and Saturday, and I forgot Friday. Better late than never, I guess.

Chapter 64

The flock get fed by robots, and along with human food they get birdseed, which is apparently the funniest thing ever because the flock all begin laughing and making jokes. In other news, JPatterson still has no idea how to pull off suspense.

Anyway, Gozen comes in and tells the flock that they’re now going to be auctioned off, and also that there’s a hurricane hitting Miami and that the city has been evacuated. Why is this auction taking place in the middle of a hurricane? No, that was an actual question. Please answer, because I haven’t the foggiest.

Chapter 65

The flock meet the Uber-Director, Max calls him both UD and BoxBoy, is predictably idiotic, the Uber-Director predictably finds her inane snark horribly insulting, and of course is silenced by her wit.

And that’s the chapter. Bleh.

Chapter 66

So the auction starts, and apparently the Uber-Director’s plan was to put the flock in a conference room with nothing but Gozen to stop them from doing anything, including talking or moving about or generally trying to sabotage things. What I take from this is that JPatterson has no idea how to write intelligent villains.

“Silence!” the UD said again as the people on the screens began to murmur to their unseen partners. He spoke to them: “As you can see, they are functional, with a limited, though useful, intelligence.”

“Limited intelligence?” I broke in, outraged. “Bite me! You’re the last person to talk about limitations! At least I can… swim! And fly! And digest by myself!” (pg 225)

Remember, we’re supposed to like Max, she who would insult people based on their physical disabilities.

Oh, and then Gazzy does something.

I swear to you, it was literally a green mushroom cloud. (pg 226)

Given Gazzy’s name, I think you can figure out what’s going on. I’m not wasting any more words on this.

Max talks about how the flock generally act ridiculously through the auction, then worries about the hurricane.

I’d flown in some pretty intense storms, but if we’d been outside now, we would have been splattered against the building like gnats. (pg 227)

Sounds fun!

And then, showing JPatterson’s incredible skills of foreshadowing, the windows implode.

Chapter 67

The flock take cover under the room’s table, and

“There’s a hurricane report on TV,” she [Angel] said. “It says it’s almost a Category five, and they think it was caused by global warming.”

There was that global warming again!

“There have always been hurricanes,” I pointed out.

“Not at this time of the year. Plus, there are many, many more of them now, and they tend to be stronger and more destructive,” Fang told me.

I looked at him. “Okay, maybe global warming is bad,” I admitted. (pg 230)

Remember, they’re in a small room in a skyscraper open to a hurricane. And they’re talking about global warming.

This is the most contrived, ridiculous, horrendous, idiotic writing I’ve ever read.

Chapter 68

Apparently Iggy and Fang had torn their coats into ropes while the auction was going on. How did they not get noticed, and why did they do that in the first place? JPatterson logic!

They use these ropes to keep Total and Akila tethered as they get buffeted by winds through the skyscraper, eventually crashing through to a balcony.

Chapter 69

Fortunately for the flock, they quickly end up in the eye of the storm and on ground level. Akila is missing, and this combined with Angel’s broken arm really sets Max off and she flies up at Gozen, who is wrapped around the Uber-Director, who is falling out of the skyscraper.

Chapter 70

“I saw the UD shout, “Don’t let go!” though I couldn’t hear him. (pg 238)

I’m glad Max has her priorities set to “lip-read” as she goes to fight the big bads in the middle of a hurricane.

Max kicks Gozen’s arm, which makes him, a robot, lose his grip and fall away. Right. She then lets the Uber-Director die as well, because he’s “a machine, someone’s consciousness hooked up to a bio-mechanical body.”

Yeah.

Oh, and then Akila falls out of the sky and lands on Max! What a lucky coincidence!

Chapter 71

The flock stay in the eye of the storm until they can get out of the hurricane. Given that it was category four going on category five, I’m pretty sure that would mean waiting for it to get over the ocean and then flying through a gigantic, still-formidable storm. But what do I know?

Max goes “okay global warming is bad I’ve learned my lesson” because who didn’t see that coming? and then the chapter ends. It was literally half a page, by the way.

The Final Warning Spork Part 11

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What is the point of this book?

I suspected you wouldn’t have an answer.

Chapter 58

We had to get her [Angel] back to the station, have someone look at her ankle. We all heal supernaturally fast, but if her ankle was broken and it healed wrong, they’d have to rebreak it. (pg 193)

Ignoring Max’s mention of their idiotic healing rate, I have a question: when, exactly, did Max learn this piece of medical information? Was it a part of the never-explained “training” they went through with Jeb? If so, why did they learn that? Did one of them break a bone and want to keep going, but had to let Jeb set it? Wouldn’t that, then, be an interesting story that could give some character development for both the flock and Jeb?

Like, seriously. This is basic stuff.

So, our heroes are stuck in the snow, getting colder by the second, waiting for rescue. What is the best way to heighten the tension here? According to JPatterson, it’s to have Total make the worst, most infuriating speech in existence. I won’t subject you to the atrocity, but any lingering tiny bit of suspense is GONE.

Max thinks that they might be acting sluggish because of a lack of air, so she punches (!) a hole in the ice.

“Is the storm over?” Angel mumbled.

“No,” came a deep, odd voice from outside.

My eyes flew open wide, and so did Fang’s. Normally my body would have been instantly flooded with adrenaline and I’d have been in full-on fight mode, but this time I could barely react, barely raise my arm.

“The storm is just beginning.” The deep voice laughed, and then the wall crashed down on us. (pg 195)

Well, that’s silly.

Chapter 59

Despite being half dead from hypothermia, Fang and I still had enough strength to immediately throw ourselves into the air, each of us holding one of Angel’s hands. (pg 196)

So one moment Max is too cold to do anything, and the next she’s able to throw herself into the air? Riiight.

They can’t fly away, however, because of a net. I’m quite amazed that it took four books for the badguys to think of nets.

Max recognizes robots and Gozen, who is apparently the one who made that idiotic one-liner. Then we get information on what Gozen looks like.

One arm was like an I beam: way too long, out of proportion with the rest of his body. (pg 197)

Er, Max, I’m pretty sure that I beams are beams shaped like an uppercase I. Not a “way too long” that’s out of proportion with bodies.

Yes, I know what JPatterson meant, but the grammar of that sentence says something entirely different.

Gozen and Max talk for a moment, and then Gozen breaks Angel’s arm. After a moment of surprise that JPatterson would actually do that, I find that I feel nothing about Angel’s plight.

Part Three: Moon Over Miami–or Something Like That

These part titles are absolutely idiotic.

Chapter 60

Just a reminder: the average chapter length in this book is 3 and a half pages. And that’s not counting the blank space at the beginning and end of chapters.

The present members of the flock get rolled into a jet which, if you recall, is in the middle of a blizzard. Somehow I don’t believe that someone could pilot a jet to a random patch of snow in a blizzard, but maybe that’s just me?

Anyway, as it happens the rest of the flock are in the jet. It’s a reunion yay!

Chapter 61

They’d [the rest of the flock] been grabbed one by one, back at the station. Some of the scientists had tried to fight and had a bunch of serious injuries to show for it. I felt sorry for them, but if you lie down with dogs… (No, Total, don’t get offended. The flock were the “dogs” in that metaphor. See, they hung out with–You know what? To heck with it. (pg 205)

Okay, so first, it sounds like Max is saying that the scientists are in the jet, even though they aren’t. That’s poor writing. Second, “You” should not be capitalized. That’s a hard rule of grammar, as far as I know. Third, apparently Max thinks that the scientists deserved getting hurt for being involved with the flock. Real nice, Max. Fourth, why is that parenthetical there? If Max doesn’t want to bother explaining the metaphor to Total, she can, ya know, edit out the metaphor. Or get rid of the parenthetical if she’s not going to follow through with it. That’s just basic logic.

Then Gozen enters the room of the jet the flock are in, and Nudge thinks his name is the same as Japanese dumplings.

Chapter 62

But according to Fang, she’s thinking of Gyoza.

Notice how annoying that “Chapter 62” bit was, interrupting my thought? Yeah, that’s exactly what the actual chapter breaks do.

Anyway, Gozen says that the flock are human, and thus are helping global warming, and so he will enjoy their deaths. I have a really strong feeling that the villain’s motivations are heading in atrocious directions, but I’ll hold off on a rant until the scheme inevitably gets revealed.

Chapter 63

The flock are taken to a skyscraper in what Max identifies as Miami in the most convoluted, unnecessary sequences in… well, this book is so full of unnecessary things, I guess it’s… the most unnecessary thing in this chapter? Maybe, I dunno, I haven’t yet finished it. Though I’ve read a couple pages so I’m probably halfway through.

*Sigh*

Gozen says that an auction will be starting soon, and then leaves. Max has Iggy look at Angel’s broken arm, and he helps with it. Not sure why he’s the doctor and not all of the flock, but that’s JPatterson logic for you.

Iggy smiled, proud that he could contribute to the flock this way. (pg 215)

Here’s JPatterson filling his “Max being omniscient” quota.

“On the other hand, this carpet is a tasteful ecru, with a thin cinnamon stripe close to the wall.” [Iggy said] (pg 216)

Look, Iggy, I can imagine you knowing basic colors from your time in the School, but if you had no education before you were blind, there is no reason for you to have any idea what “ecru” and “cinnamon” are, and so you shouldn’t be able to name those colors because you have no idea what they look like.

JPatterson’s failure to understand simple logic is really getting on my nerves, so I’m done for this week.

The Final Warning Spork Part 10

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Chapter 45

You are reading Fang’s Blog. Welcome! (pg 152)

*Sigh* Well, here we go.

Fang talks a bit about random stuff, and then

Fortunately, the person we rescued didn’t make it. (pg 153)

That’s right. He expresses happiness that someone who had wires in their leg is dead. I don’t even have the energy for this.

Fang soapboxes for a bit about global warming, tells someone off for calling him out about it, and blah blah blah sucky bookness moving on.

Chapter 46

The flock fly off and land on a volcanic island, Deception Island, which is actually a real island. Nudge and Angel decide to swim in some warm water, and it’s all very boring until they notice that Total has wings.

I knew this was coming, but it’s still stupid. What’s stupider is how JPatterson tries to make each new trait the flock gets seem dramatic and special and cliffhangery, but it’s really just… well, stupid.

Chapter 47

Apparently, Total eats human food. This makes me assume that he’s basically just human organs put into a dog’s body, plus wings, which is… really weird. And probably impossible for numerous reasons. I dunno. I don’t care. He doesn’t exist to me.

“Obviously, this is an extreme environment,” Brigid said. “We do have dangers here, as you have seen. For example, what would you do if you suddenly realized you were lost? A lot of the terrain looks the same.”

“I’d fly up till I could see the station,” I said. “Then head back to it.”

The scientists looked at me, taken aback. I guess that solution hadn’t occurred to them. (pg 162)

Stupidist. Scientists. Ever.

Chapter 48

Your friendly reminder that we’re now nearly two-thirds of the way through the book. I realize that I before said that more happens in this than the other books, but that doesn’t really mean much given just how empty they are. So far, the flock got attacked by a pizza bomb, we learned that a bad guy is after them, and they went to Antarctica. That’s it in terms of actual plot.

Max grandstands about evul corporations for a little bit, and then

“I want a baby penguin,” said Angel, tugging on my jacket to get my attention. (pg 166)

Imagining Angel as really tiny, half her age, and not nearly so intelligent could make this extremely cute. As it is, nope.

Max looks around at what’s going on for a bit (what’s going on? No idea), and then magically knows that something is wrong. I mean, this could at least be an established power of hers. But no, she just gets a special Birdy Sense that lets her know when something’s up. Though nothing comes of it because the chapter ends.

Chapter 49

You are reading Fang’s Blog. Welcome! (pg 169)

Uugghghhhh.

Fang extolls the virtues of becoming a scientist, then takes questions.

Chapter 50

Max and Fang use his blog entry as a catalyst to talk about more RELATIONSHIP DRAMUH and then oh no Angel and Total and Akila are missing!!!

Chapter 51No but seriously, that chapter was a page and a half total. Angel is stuck in a crevasse, after following penguin tracks to touch a baby penguin. Don’t ask me why she wasn’t flying, because the answer is that the plot demanded it and I don’t want to have to say that because it’s such an idiotic answer even though it’s right.

Plot idiocy aside, Angel thinks about how to get out, realizes that she can’t be seen from above, tries to change her appearance to a bird of paradise to help, but nothing works and she resigns herself to death.

Unfortunately, we all know she’s not going to die.

Chapter 52

One of the scientists tries to keep Max and Fang from going after Angel, so Max punches him and flies off.

This chapter is barely even a page in total.

Chapter 53

Max and Fang are flying out in the incredibly harsh winds, and after fifteen minutes they find penguin tracks. Google searches brought up nothing for how long tracks last in harsh winds, but I find it extremely dubious that the tracks would still be there.

Regardless, though, Max sees some penguins huddling together, and as Angel had wanted a penguin she flies down to them to see if she’s there. Do I care? Not a single bit.

Chapter 54

The loss of his main contact was a regrettable obstacle, Gozen thought, but at least she had succeeded in placing tiny homing devices on the quarry before she was so unexpectedly terminated. (pg 183)

Wow, that is a really terrible sentence. Thought tags with no direct thought? Clunky wording? Painful exposition? All there.

Gozen tells his troops to prepare for combat, and the chapter ends.

Chapter 55

Max and Fang land away from the penguins, for some reason, and walk the rest of the way. They use their “built-in navigator system” to find their path, and it’s interesting to note that it’s still super vaguely described. As far as I can tell, it’s basically a compass, but it’s not called that so I assume it’s not, but if not it means the flock just have some sort of magical sense of direction that tells them where things are, or something… it makes no sense.

Max stumbles over uneven ground and makes noise, and Angel yells for help, revealing herself to be right under Max and Fang. Fang begins to uncoil rope to get Angel out, but oh noes her foot is stuck!!!

Chapter 56

Why is this subplot even in the book? It’s absolutely pointless.

Max and Fang get out the dogs, but it’s cold and apparently flying with heavy things is now a problem and Angel’s foot is stuck and it’s all much more boring than it sounds.
Chapter 57

So many needless chapter breaks, I swear.

Max and Fang pull Angel out and make a shelter by some rocks, and the tension is just nonexistant. I mean, seriously: Angel is stuck with no way of seeing her? Max yelps right on top of her! Angel can’t be pulled out with the dogs? The dogs go first! Angel’s foot is stuck? They get her out with no difficulty! Now they’re stuck in a storm? Convenient rock formation!

*Sigh.*