Friday, April 16, 2010

Review/ Fang by James Patterson

Friday, April 16, 2010
On a trip to Africa, Max and her Flock meet a mysterious billionaire whose intense scrutiny of the Flock makes her fear the worst. Then canny birdkid Angel makes a dire prophecy about Max's soul mate: "Fang will be the first to die." Max's desperate desire to protect Fang brings the two closer than ever.

I have been a fan of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series from the beginning. His first first three books The Angel Experiment, School’s Out Forever, and The Final Warning were exciting and action-packed with great characters and plots. However, while Patterson’s new addition to the series, Fang, brings back all of the same characters that I love and presents some interesting surprises, it has some definite flaws.

The plot centers around Max and Fang’s growing feelings about each other. Complications arise with Angel’s prophetic announcement that the flock isn’t always going to be together and Fang is going to be the first die. There is also a new villain introduced, Dr. Hans  Gunther-Hagen. Max’s feelings for Fang are complex and distract her from the leadership role she has always maintained. When Max and Fang fly off together for a little alone time, the rest of the flock is attacked. Incriminations fly aimed at Max’s ability to continue as the flock’s leader. She is usurped by Angel when the flock votes Max out. Oh and there is a new birdkid, Dylan, and he is handsome and the same age as Max. Dylan is supposedly the perfect mate for Max, but she is having none of it.

Like all Patterson’s Maximum Ride books, there is the whole saving of the world, fighting for their lives, and Max to the rescue. The main reason I thoroughly enjoy these books is Patterson’s very consistent with his characters. Since Max is the narrator, I always feel like I am being caught up on what is happening by my tough, snarky, and brutally honest girlfriend. Patterson uses the first-person narration to give readers an up close look at everything Max is thinking, and despite the fact that this type of narration often is bias, Max’s love of her flock is always obvious.

Angel has also been a favorite character. As the youngest member of the flock, I have watched Angel grow up. So, when she tries to take over the flock it was not a surprise. Despite her youth, Angel has always been very smart and out spoken, kinda like Max only less snarky about it, and Angel has always felt that she would make a good leader. Angel ends up getting the rest of the flock in trouble and Max and Fang end up coming to the rescue.

I was surprised by the introduction of Dylan into the flock, and was immediately suspicious of him. But he rose to the occasion when the fighting began. Still I have my doubts as to whether or not he will turn out to be a good birdkid or not in the next book, and it will be interesting to see if Dylan will be able to win Max’s trust and affections.

My biggest complaint with Fang is the plot seems concocted and confusing. The appearance of Dr. H-G and Dylan in Africa where the flock is doing humanitarian work was just too coincidental. Another incident that was never fully explain was the appearance of Erasers (human wolf hybrid), who are suppose to be extinct. But the biggest inconsistency in the plot came during the climax, when Dr Chu, a villain from the last book ends up being exposed as a boyish looking green scaly freak. Patterson never explains this revelation or what happens to either Dr Chu or Dr. H-G after the final fight.

There is a surprise ending (which was fairly predictable), and while I do understand why authors leave their readers hanging, I really don’t like having to wait yet another year to find out what happens next.

If you have never read any of the Maximum Ride books, this one does provide enough background information that you will not be lost. However, I strongly recommend you read the first one The Angel Experiment as it is definitely the best of the bunch.

16 comments:

dArLyN said...

i love most of james patterson books. but honestly, i never read the maximum ride series yet. reading your review, i think i'm going to read them soon.thanks for the review.. =)

Kris said...

I've heard these YA books are good, but haven't picked them up myself. I think now I will!

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

You know, I liked the first three books in the Maximum Ride series, but I thought the fourth one was absolutely awful, and I stopped reading them after that. And I'm starting to feel that all of these "humanitarian" issues in the books feel like too much of a political agenda. Not that I'm bashing humanitarianism, because I think it's great...but I feel like the books have gone downhill. I might have to give the rest of them a try again eventually, but as of now, they're pretty low on my TBR list. Thanks for the honest review though! :)

Jan von Harz said...

Natalie, I actually would have to agree with you. I was not taken with the other two books, and while this one feels a little more like the first ones, it still has some real flaws. Thanks for stopping by.

Kathy Martin said...

I just skimmed your review because I haven't started this series yet. My assistant loves them but somehow they just keep getting pushed to the bottom of my TBR stack. It does sound like the first three (which are the ones I have) are the best. I'll have to get to them soon.

Suey said...

I'm totally looking forward to this one because I've completely fallen in love with Fang. I'll most likely over look all it's flaws! I guess we'll see. I've enjoyed this series too, except for that way overly preachy environment one... was it the fourth one? I forget.

Jan von Harz said...

Suey,

I know what you mean I did overlook mot of the flaws because I really like Fang too. But in the end when reviewing it I had to mentioned the problems. I will read another one when it comes out. I am just that stuck on the flock in general.

Lina said...

Hmmmm...I've never actually read any of Patterson's books before but I kinda feel like I might like this series. Thanks for the review!

Christina/Book Addict said...

Great review! My students love these books and I should probably read them, too! By the way- you won a copy of Before I Fall from my contest. I emailed you for your address. Let me know where you would like me to mail it to. Congrats! :)

Sue Jackson said...

My 15-year old son really likes the Maximum Ride series. I haven't tried yet...to be honest, I haven't liked Patterson's grown-up books much. I find them predictable and the characters two-dimensional (to be fair, I think I only read one). But I've heard this teen series is good, so maybe I should give it a try!

Thanks for the review -

Sue

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Good review!

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