Sporks have been pretty scarce lately. This is a combination of business, forgetfulness, and most importantly, a lack of desire to spork. So I’m going to take a break for maybe a month or so, no more than six weeks, and come back fresh.
Gah, I was busy last week and never got around to sporking. Sorry.
Okay, so, fight scene on the roof of the school Max decided to break into for no reason. We’re reading from Max’s perspective, and she initiated the fight, but for some reason we start by following Angel for a couple paragraphs. Then Max gets to her feet, despite the fact that she was never described as getting off her feet. So either there’s some super lazy writing going on or there was an arbitrary, unexplained timeskip. I’m not sure which is worse.
One of the guards backflips at Max (LOL) and hits her under the chin, sending her off balance. She falls backwards off the roof but “snags” the edge of it with her “fingers”. None of this causes her discernible damage and she instantly leaps back up with the aid of her wings. NOT BUYING IT, JPATTERSON.
Dylan magically realizes that the guards can’t see above them so he, Max, and Angel fly above the guards to keep them confused. Then the guards collapse, all three of them. Re-reading it seems I missed the fact that there were only three, so I guess I’ll point out now how weird it is that there were only three guards sent out. Also that they got randomly short-circuited by not being able to get a lock on their targets because they can’t see above themselves. Pretty crap security if you ask me.
After the third one fell, we snapped cord ties around their wrists. (pg 95)
And, uh, just where did these cord ties come from? Do you just carry them around with you all day in case you need to tie people up?
Angel takes off the hood of one of the guards. I’ll let the book describe him:
He looked just like a regular kid, but he had a small slit above his nose–a slit that ran around the circumference of his head, like a ring. And in that slit, I saw… many eyes. Tiny, dark orbs, angrily zipping back and forth. He wasn’t blind at all. He had 360-degree vision. They were virtually impossible to sneak up on, except from above, apparently. (pg 95)
Okay, two questions: one, how did he see through his hood? And two, why was he incapable of, I don’t know, craning his neck to look up?
They were just kids. Kids who had been cut open and experimented on, kids who had been programmed to kill us, but still. (pg 96)
Grammar nitpick: but only separating the first two clauses of the second sentence with a comma, it makes it look like the second clause is continuing the list of bad things that happened to the kids, when it’s intended to act as an opposing argument. If the comma were a dash or a period, the intended meaning would have been way stronger.
Max asks the now-awake kid who created him and why, and they end up arguing about basically the same thing as Max argued with Dr. Gunther-Hagen about in the last book. So, you know, “the world is going to end you need to be prepared blah blah blah” except the kid is coming from the perspective of him already being prepared. Max thinks the world can be saved but all of this is rather meaningless since we don’t even know what’s supposed to cause this apocalypse. Then the kids break free of their binding and Max and Angel and Dylan fly away.
The three are flying back to Max’s mom’s house when Dylan spots a “kid” below them. According to Dylan the kid is “sunburned and staggering” and since he’s a far way away from civilization they decide to go down and help him. Or, as Dylan puts it:
“Heck, let’s go save ‘im, whether he wants it or not,” Dylan said in his best Scooby-Doo voice (pg 100)
Preeeetty sure Scooby-Doo never talked like that.
They descend on the kid, who’s the computer kid from back in book one. (He was obsessed with his laptop and lived in an abandoned subway tunnel in New York City, if that jogs your memory.) He rambles about how humanity has ruined everything and needs to die and then runs off, refusing to go with Max and Angel and Dylan. I really hope there’s going to be an explanation for this.
We’re back with Fang, who’s talking to Maya.
Across the hotel room, the rest of his little ragtag collection actually seemed to be getting along. The new guy, Holden Squibb, had finally arrived, and Kate was explaining to the pale, scrawny kid how she and Star had been kidnapped by two men in lab coats on some school trip. (pg 103)
So apparently this was the source of their powers, told to us in an offhand sentence. Great writing! Also, really, the men were wearing lab coats when they kidnapped the girls? That’s just silly.
Fang explains to Maya that he found his group from “his blog”, through letters he got from kids who had been experimented on by scientists. He does specifically say letters, which is bizarre to say the least–just what address would he be giving people that someone out to get him couldn’t find him through? And, you know, why would a bunch of teenagers who met through a blog choose to communicate via letters and not email? JPatterson, your old man is showing.
Next Fang shows Maya the website for the group he saw on the news (the Doomsday Group), whose banner reads “Save the Planet. Kill the Humans.” Which, coming off that random encounter with the computer kid who said humanity was ruining the planet and needed to die… c’mon, JPatterson, don’t you think you’re laying it on a bit thick?
Fang also mentions that the Doomsday Group is big on “genetically modified kids” (though in what capacity he doesn’t mention, so I like to believe the website explicitly says “we experiment on kids!” because that’s about what I expect from a Maximum Ride book) and since the group he’s assembled “joined up because they’ve got a thing or two to tell the people who did this to them” he wants to find out more about the Doomsday Group. First, though, he gives Maya a run-down on his group members histories: Holden was “cut open” for a “potion” to be used and now he has healing powers. Ratchet has super senses, though through what means we don’t know. Kate and Star were “injected” and Kate has super-strength while Star is “part hummingbird or mouse” and can move fast at the expense of fast calorie burning. Fang speculates that she has the same “fast-twitch muscle fibers” the flock do. That makes little sense to me though so I’m just going to ignore it.
Throughout this chapter, by the way, Fang has been distracted by his attraction to Maya since she’s so similar to Max even in mannerisms. Now, right at the end of the chapter, he suddenly hopes that he and Maya can be friends like he and Max used to be. I’m not doing a very good job of describing how jarring the switch is but it’s pretty jarring since Fang didn’t stop being attracted to Maya or anything so I don’t get why he wouldn’t still be bothered by that. But whatever, it’s Maximum Ride, what do you expect.
Didn’t put this up yesterday since NekoShogun posted. Two posts in one day, that’s tacky as tacky glue. I am good at comparisons
We’re back with Fang, at a hotel and adding Kate to our character list. Her character traits include being nice, being vegan, and being extremely beautiful. There’s a bit of painful character interaction (as in, painful because it’s bad) before Fang turns on the news and hears about the Doomsday Group, whose spokesperson talks about “taking control” and “cleansing the earth” but uses what are evidently mind-control powers to make Fang entranced by this idea until the channel gets changed. Fang decides that learning more about this group is his mission, implying that he had no mission before. Despite the fact that he was already assembling a team.
But more importantly than Fang’s poor thinking, it seems this series is turning into some sort of teen X-Men ripoff. How… interesting.
Max and Dylan can’t find the plane’s fuselage. They also take a closer look at the balloons and Dylan notes that he can see that the wires each have four sides. Max can’t see this. They don’t question what the balloons are or why they’re there because all of the characters in these books are idiots. Then they decide to head to the X-Men school after suggesting it at the same time. The whole chapter is extremely awkward and boring.
Ratchet and Star argue and start to fight but Kate stops them and Fang says that they need to work together. You know, your typical “newly assembled team of people who don’t quite get along because of course they don’t” thing. Boooring.
“Max” suddenly appears behind Fang and when he asks where she came from she “[points] at the sky”. A reminder: they’re indoors. It’s not actually Max, though, but the Max clone who appeared in book three and then disappeared again. I had actually forgotten about her since the number of random things that happen and are never addressed again in this series is too many to keep track of.
Fang quickly decides that asking Maya, as the Max clone calls herself, to work with him was a bad idea since she, you know, looks like Max and dredges up all those romantic feelings. (And I bet we’re never going to get any explanation of how Fang even contacted Maya.)
Book Two: What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love, and World Destruction?
Okay, JPatterson, we need to have a talk. YOUR “BOOK” TITLES ARE NOT FUNNY. THEY ARE NOT CLEVER. THEY DO NOT ADD ANYTHING TO THE BOOK. JUST STOP.
Max and Dylan decide to try to enter the X-Men school through the roof. Don’t ask me why. But oh no a door opens and
figures all in black complete with ninja hoods, leaped out. (pg 82)
Um, I’m preeeetty sure that if you’re going to end a parenthetical phrase with a comma, you should probably start it with one too. (Question: am I too technical with how I explain these criticisms? I always want to use the correct terminology but sometimes that’s at the expense of clarity. Here’s a link for parenthetical phrases if you don’t know what I was talking about just there.)
Max and Dylan immediately fly into the sky, but get shot at with sniper rifles which only nearly miss. And according to Dylan and his magic sight (which was sort of addressed last book–if you’ve forgotten, he basically has a mix of super-sight, X-ray vision, and clairvoyance. Nobody ever questions why this is) the guards who shot at them were kids who didn’t have eyes. Dylan is sad about this because frowny-face about evil scientists and their experiments.
Dylan suggests he and Max camp out in the desert to spy on the X-Men school. As opposed to, I don’t know, going back to the rest of the flock and visiting the school under normal circumstances like they were initially going to? This sudden goal shift makes no sense, especially since there was no indication anything fishy was going on at the school. But I guess this is just another case of JPatterson having no clue if Jeb is a villain or not and therefor everything to do with him is in a constant state of flux.
“Hungry?” Dylan reached into his pocket and pulled out a couple of protein bars. I took the chocolate chip one. It tasted like sawdust mixed with chocolate chips. I was glad to have it. I contributed a bottle of warm water. We shared it in silence. (pg 85)
You know, JPatterson, it’s probably not a good thing that your book utilizes the same sentence structure I purposefully use to emphasize how boring your book is.
Max and Dylan talk a bit about random stuff.
I felt his deep turquoise eyes looking right into me. (pg 86)
…Please tell me I’m not the only one who finds this sentence creepy.
Dylan talks about how he’s luckier than Max because he knows he loves her whereas Max is unsure or whatever and blah blah blah, Max narrates about how she doesn’t show her emotions (which, frankly, I feel like she says that a lot more than she shows it), burgeoning romantic relationship, etc. etc.
Angel wakes up Max, having decided to come check up on her. Max fills her in on the school’s guards, Angel tries and fails to telepathically check the school, and they decide to lure the guards out so Angel can try to mind control them.
Now, here’s a question: why? Haha as if we’re going to get an answer.
So they go to the school and Angel tries to get the guards to drop their weapons, but says that her power is being overridden by some sort of brainwashing programming. Max decides to close her wings and drop down to the roof to see what happens regarding the eyeless guards’ inexplicable sight. They aren’t fazed by this and aim at her and turn off their safeties, because for some reason they weren’t firing on sight? Yeah, you see two intruders who you shot at yesterday flying above you and a third who tries to control your mind but you totally hold your fire.
Since Max’s spectacularly bizarre plan failed, she decides to fight the guards because of course she does. Whee, I can’t wait till next week to read another lifeless action scene. So excited you guys.
In the quiet we hear
Smiles return to us.
Another day spent wasting.
“Tomorrow,” we sigh.
I walk in the back,
Following, lost in my head.
Silence is easy.
Gray sky cold and wet.
Winter settles once again
To brood for a day.
Hands taken idle,
The man sits and thinks and waits.
Death is a long sigh.
Why do thoughts turn grim
When fed on love and kindness?
Why see life so bleak?
So it’s been a while since I’ve posted…. well, anything really. The simple reason for this is that I’d started to feel burnt out on haiku. I felt like I was just writing the same basic things over and over again, and that the quality of them was either slipping or, at the very least, not improving in any noticeable way. I got tired of writing them, so I stopped, and as haiku were the only thing I was (ostensibly) regularly posting, I just sort of vanished for a few months.
Anyway, the point of this post is to say hello (again). I’ve resumed writing haiku and plan to post them, though going forward I’m not even going to pretend they’ll be weekly. Instead, whenever I have enough (roughly five) I’ll post them. Numbering will continue as before.
I don’t have any plans to write reviews or anything like that in the near future, but that doesn’t mean I won’t if the fancy strikes me (just don’t expect it to be a regular thing).
This post is now far to long for something no one will ever read, so, uh… bye, I guess?
Fang and the guy, Ratchet, are now in a diner. Fang asks Ratchet if he’s in. Ratchet says “I’m in, like I told you.” Even the characters know they’re repeating themselves! They’re waiting in the diner for another “contact” of Fang’s, and as they talk it’s revealed that Ratchet has super hearing and sight.
I’m sure this viewpoint switching is meant to enthrall the reader because hey I have to find out what happens in this tense action scene but it keeps getting extended by being interrupted by other scenes! But it also completely kills the flow of the action scene. So. Not great.
Anyway, we’re with Gazzy. “To his horror” he sees Jeb in the doorway of the plane (not sure why that in particular is horrifying), so he goes to save him. He grabs Jeb, Jeb is too heavy though and after saying that “the human race will have to die to save the planet” he lets go of Gazzy and falls to the ground and dies.
You know what could have prevented that? Jeb jumping from the plane when it was nearer to the ground so he and Gazzy would be near the ground and not die from the fall. Just sayin’.
And if I made Jeb’s death sound pretty sudden and undramatic, well, that’s because it was. We do get this, though:
All he [Gazzy] saw was Jeb’s face, white and scared, as it got smaller and smaller below him.
Then Gazzy realized that was the last time he would see Jeb alive, ever again.
And it was his fault. (pg 51)
Which is basically just “CARE, DANGIT!!!!!!!” put a bit more fancily.
Fang’s other “contact” (sorry, it’s too silly to use outside of quotation marks) is there, a girl called Star who’s the Uptight Icy Uber-Competent (and Super-Stylish, of course) Girl to Ratchet’s Rough-and-Tumble Guy. Boooring. She’s “fast” and got there by foot from twenty miles away, and ends up racing the guys. I wonder if JPatterson has a pseudo-science explanation for this superpower or if she’s just magic.
This chapter opens with a particularly awful paragraph.
When the fuselage hit the ground and exploded, I saw my future right below me, just seconds away. (pg 55)
Max, there are simpler ways to tell us you’re falling towards the ground. Use them.
My wings were burning, as I gulped air, my muscles shaking from the strain of keeping us both aloft. (pg 55)
Are your wings burning literally or figuratively? And come on, let’s be a bit more sparing in our usage of present participles in an action sequence. Which is punchier, “my arms were shaking” or “my arms shook”?
We were going to land hard–and soon. (pg 55)
I know you’re going to land soon! You established that two sentences ago!
Max shouts at Gazzy to go help Nudge.
Angel focused on guiding Iggy down for what she hoped would be a less-than-fatal landing. (pg 56)
These random moments of omniscience would make more sense if these books were recognized in-universe as a collaboration between the flock, hence the third person. Though that would then bring into question the chapters from the villains’ perspectives. So, uh, never mind, sorry JPatterson because you’ve got more perspective issues than a kaleidoscope. (That comparison may not actually make sense.)
Meanwhile, Dylan races down out of nowhere and saves Jeb. Congratulations JPatterson, you made me think Jeb had died. I mean, the only reason I thought it had happened is because I expect bad writing from you, but you got me nonetheless.
The flock land and all survive, yay crisis averted I was so scared for them!!!
The flock decide to get picked up by Max’s mom’s colleagues and go to her office to patch themselves up (including broken bones for Max’s mom and Jeb). Max’s mom, if you remember, is a vet.
That way, we didn’t have to worry about explaining the whole wing situation (pg 58)
Yeah, ’cause you know, when a bunch of kids with wings turn up and do public stunt shows, odds are most people won’t hear about it.
Max asks Dylan why he didn’t jump out of the plane after Jeb. Apparently the plane spiraled back “into” the wires and Dylan would have killed himself jumping out, but the plane didn’t get torn up anymore and spun back out of the wires in the fifteen-thirty seconds between Jeb jumping out and Dylan jumping out. Also, Dylan was described as having come from above Max, but the plane hit the ground before he passed her. MAKES PERFECT SENSE.
And by all means it looks like Dr. Gunther-Hagen was in the plane when it crashed, but this is never said with certainty so you know he’s still alive. Dylan wants to go to check the plane to make sure Dr. Gunther-Hagen is dead (gasp! That actually makes sense!) but for some reason is still waiting with the flock rather than, I don’t know, checking out the plane while they wait and then going with them to get checked out. Max suddenly feels drawn to Dylan and decides to go with him, which I guess is one way to make your protagonist stop hating another character: make her inexplicably attracted to him!
The flock minus Max and Dylan get picked up and leave and Dylan says that the plane is probably about a mile away. I don’t think that makes any sense whatsoever but it’s hard to say for sure when the whole action sequence was described so vaguely. Dylan takes off.
His wings were a little shorter than Fang’s but broader–more like a hawk’s–wings built for power and lift. (pg 62)
Ew, two non-parenthetical em dashes in the same sentence? At least it’s contextually obvious how they’re being used, but… ew.
Max notes that Dylan’s wings are different from the flock’s.
For the first time, it occurred to me that the mad scientists who created us might have used different avian DNA to make each of us. (pg 62)
MAX. YOUR WINGS ARE DIFFERENT COLORS. OF COURSE THEY DIDN’T USE THE SAME DNA.
Max takes off as well and Dylan says
“There’s really nothing better [than flying].” (pg 63)
And then they both, at the same time, say “Except a white-chocolate mocha from Coffee Madness.” They are surprised by how strange that is. Which, it is pretty strange. I just hope it actually gets explained.