Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment – Book Review

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Title: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Author: James Patterson
Paperback: 454 pages
Published: April 10th 2006 by Headline
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary (From Goodreads):
WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE
Do not put this book down. I’m dead serious – your life could depend on it. I’m risking everything by telling you – but you need to know.

STRAP YOURSELF IN for the thrill ride you’ll want to take again and again! From Death Valley, California, to the bowels of the New York City subway system, you’re about to take off on a heart-stopping adventure that will blow you away…

YOUR FAITHFUL COMPANIONS: Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman and Angel. Six kids who are pretty normal in most ways – except that they’re 98% human, 2% bird. They grew up in a lab, living like rats in cages, but now they’re free. Aside, of course, from the fact that they’re prime prey for Erasers – wicked wolf-like creatures with a taste for flying humans.

THE MISSIONS: Rescue Angel from malicious mutants. Infiltrate a secret facility to track down the flock’s missing parents. Scavenge for sustenance. Get revenge on an evil traitor. And save the world. If there’s time.

I enjoyed this book waaay more than I thought I would.

At first, I found the writing style difficult to read and thought it felt kind of childish. Each chapter is about 2 pages long and they ended on the most ridiculously small cliff-hangers, but I soon got used to it and started to ignore each new chapter heading. (There is one that is literally half a page though, which was a bit anticlimactic).

I also found the narrative voice was very masculine (and, I’m ashamed to admit, it took me until page 56 to realise that Max was female. I’m not sure how, considering how her actions towards Angel are pretty motherly.)
The book makes use of first and third person narratives – first person for Max and third person for anyone else. I liked this, because it saved me getting totally confused about who was talking.

Max, I found, was actually a pretty cool heroine. I was expecting her to be Mary-Sueish and annoying, but actually she’s more of a female Percy Jackson. The sarcasm that she has is limitless. I did feel a couple of times that she was too mature for a 14 year old, but considering how she was brought up, that actually fitted her character.

Fang, I also loved. He was kind of the stereotypical, brooding character, but he did actually have some depth to him besides standing around and glowering at everyone. Considering that this book was written in 2006, there’s plenty of sarcasm from him too. One part in particular made me snort out loud (for context, Fang has just been beaten up pretty bad, like knocked unconscious and broken bones.)

“Jeez, what happened to you?” Directed at Fang.

“Cut myself shaving,” Fang said.

Nudge annoyed me, gotta be honest. She feels like a stereotypical chatterbox and I just…nah, I’ll pass. She’s not detestable, just not my favourite character.

Iggy was brilliant – for those not in the know, he’s blind, so representation! He is so skilled as a person, and whilst there’s references to his blindness, it doesn’t seem to hinder him. Rather, his other senses are enhanced and he makes use of them to make up for it.

Gazzy…was an overexcited eight year old. Don’t get me wrong, he was a sweet kid and basically the personification of ‘annoying little brother’, which was plenty realistic, but not my cup of tea.

Angel, I don’t know what to think about. Clearly, she’s pretty intelligent for a 6 year old, but something just feels…off about her. I’m not sure why, considering she acts like virtually every other 6 year old that I know. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see when I’m reading the next book.

This book was enjoyable – not the best in terms of writing style, which I’ve taken a star off for, but it kept me turning the pages and it kept me entertained. I think I’d actually read this one again!

Has anyone got different thoughts on this book?

Holly xx

The Darkest Part of the Forest – Book Review

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Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Paperback: 324 pages
Published: February 5th 2015 by Indigo
My Rating: 2/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the centre of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

My initial reaction to this book is that it is very simple.

The idea is good, and parts of it are interesting, but for me, this book is under-developed. This could be because I’ve literally just finished ACOMAF which is also about fae and is twice the size of this book, but I think the fault lies in the plot.

The book feels rushed, and I feel a little cheated. There are so many storylines that could have been explored further – Jack and his mother, Hazel’s other life, Ben’s music, the whole thing with Molly etc.
They were tied up badly, and the book felt…bland.

There were good parts, don’t get me wrong. Firstly, representation: Ben is gay and he also gets a happy ending, so I mean, that’s pretty good. I also loved the fact that Hazel becomes a knight, and gender roles become blurred into non-existence.

The Alderking was a pretty poor villain, as villains go. He didn’t seem to do much, aside from sit on his throne and rule. He was weak and didn’t feel like that much of a threat if I’m being honest.

Severin, whom I thought was going to be the novel’s main focus, ends up with maybe five scenes, I think? He faded into the background to make way for Hazel and Jack’s love story (which I found quite cute, actually) and just…he was there. He acted as he should and did everything that was expected of him, which made most of the plot predictable.

Hazel, as far as protagonists go, wasn’t insufferable. She’s not one of my all-time-favourites, but I do like her and find her compelling enough to read. Her thought processes were a little bizarre at times, but she was decent enough.

Jack was probably my favourite, because he is a real sweetheart. If Hazel wasn’t the knight, then he certainly would be.

Ben was also an interesting character, as he wants the same things as Hazel, but goes about the situations differently, which is what also caused some tension in the book.

To be honest, I actually quite liked all of the characters, alongside the first couple of chapters – after that, the plot just declines into a half-baked mess.

Some people love this book, but I think it just wasn’t for me. Thoughts?

Holly xx