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|“||It's not your fault. I'm genetically enhanced. And, you know, ruthless. Plus, of course, meaner than a rabid wolverine. Are you okay?||”|
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|Leader of the Flock|
|Family||Mother: Dr. Valencia Martinez,|
|Hair Color||Blonde/brown with sun streaks; changes over time|
|Weapons||Her hands and feet|
|Appearances||The Angel Experiment,|
Maximum "Max" Ride is the main protagonist and the narrator of the Maximum Ride series. She is one of the oldest bird kids created by the School, and she is also the leader of the Flock. Her biological mother is Valencia Martinez, and Jeb Batchelder is her biological father; Ari, the Eraser, is also her half-brother. Her love interest wavers between Fang and Dylan, although in Nevermore, it appears to be Fang. It is unclear at this point of who she will be portrayed by in the upcoming film.
Before The Angel Experiment
Maximum Ride was created at an Itexicon facility called The School as part of, the third book strongly suggests, a biological weapons program. Growing up, she had no name, was treated poorly by the School staff, and spent the majority of her time either performing in painful, grueling experiments or confined to a dog crate. She was permitted to interact with the other children that would later form her flock, as well as Ari Batchelder, Jeb Batchelder's son.
Around the time that Max turned ten years old, her standard of living changed. Jeb kidnapped the entire flock and took them to an isolated house in the mountains where they could be free to fly, learn, and interact with new parts of the world. On her eleventh birthday (an arbitrary date of her own choosing), she selected the full name Maximum Ride, after the first American female astronaut, Sally Ride.
Jeb vanished two years after the escape from the School. In the resulting power vacuum, Max was declared flock leader due to her age and close relationship with Jeb. The series begins two years after Jeb's disappearance.
Max first appears in the prologue of the novel and gives a synopsis of the history of and how things are in the lives of herself and the other Flock members.
At the story's beginning, she is seen running away from a group of Erasers who are trying to take her back to the School. As she is running, she sees a dim light, and, believing it to be a clearing, bursts through the trees, but instead finds a cliff. Making the decision to jump, she leaps off the cliff and snaps out her wings, veering to the west after an Eraser attempts to shoot her.
Max then bolts upright in bed, gasping for breath and with a hand over her heart, and checks her nightgown to make sure there are no laser dots and/or bullet holes. After realizing that it was all just a dream, she limply falls back on the bed, saying how she hates the dream and how it's always the same one, and how she always wakes up feeling on the verge of death. She then forces herself out of her bed (despite the chilly weather), puts on some sweats, and heads down the halls to the kitchen. On the way, she glances out the windows and remarks that she loves the view. After a brief explanation of the design of their house and a fragment of their backstory, she looks around the kitchen for food. This is when Gazzy is first introduced.
She is 5' 8' (5' 9' in Nevermore) and has a wingspan that starts at 13 feet but eventually become 15 feet across. In the novels, she has brown eyes, and blond/brown hair with dark-red and blonde streaks. It is unclear what color her hair is, however, many think it changes with the seasons. In MAX, Max said, "So there you have it, the extent of my charms: brown hair and eyes like unbarfed chocolate. I'm a lucky girl."
The color of her wings are a lighter brown than her hair, but not as tawny as Nudge's. Her primary feathers are streaked with black and white. The secondaries are streaked white and brown. On the undersides of her wings, the covert feathers are a soft ivory color. Over the tops and down the backs of her wings, she has shiny, strong brown feathers fading perfectly into the primaries.
Max is tough, sarcastic, and hates "girliness". In MAX, she turns down many opportunities in a meeting (in which she wears clothes that "aren't blood splattered," -- "Which is the best you can get out of me") to become famous such as becoming models, actors, etc.
Max acts as a motherly figure to the Flock, such as nurturing them and looking out for them, except she tends to get an awkward feeling about considering Fang as a sibling or son since he kissed her. Max is often annoyed by herself for things like worrying about her appearance, etc. She once recalls in MAX how "last year, I would chop off my hair with a knife when it got in my eyes."
She is independent, strong, and fierce, but has never known a true mother or father figure, aside from Jeb Batchelder, who she later has mixed feelings about, and Dr. Martinez, who is her biological mother—though she does not know it right away. Jeb is also her biological father, but she never refers to him in that way.
She wants to be loved, even though she often denies it. Throughout the books, she falls in love with Fang. In FANG, she and Fang are often seen leaving the Flock to kiss and share romantic moments.
Max also has a strong relationship with Angel, whom she says is like a daughter to her because she's practically been raising her since she was a baby. Max has a soft spot for all the kids in the flock.
Max is also a "word queen" and a "freaking princess" when it comes to other people's feelings. And one more thing about her is that she doesn't forgive people like Jeb that easily, and she never, ever forgets.
Several times throughout the series, Max shows signs of attraction towards Fang, though she denies it.
As Shown in The Angel Experiment
In this book, Max kisses Fang on a beach near New York City after Fang has been injured in a fight with Ari. She does this very suddenly and cannot come up with an explanation for her actions, saying it happened "just like that". Max does not realize her feelings for Fang until she abruptly kisses him.
As Shown in School's Out - Forever
In this book, Max looks in the mirror and sees her reflection as an Eraser. Fang sits with her and consoles her in her bedroom. Before retreating back to his own room, Fang kisses Max on the forehead. Max shows intense jealousy when she sees Fang kissing a red-haired girl named Lissa (whom Max refers to as "the Red-Haired Wonder"). Later, she goes out with a boy named Sam, making Fang jealous.
As Shown in Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
In this book, Angel mentions before a football game starts that "...Fang still loves you...". Fang kisses Max in a cave again, and she says her mind "shorts out" while Fang is kissing her, but she then tells Fang she's "not sure" and flies off, confused. Also in the same book, Max is given Valium to prepare her for surgery, and while under its influence she tells Fang that she "loves him this much" and holds out her arms to demonstrate. Fang later teases her about this, causing her to get immensely angry.
As Shown in The Final Warning
Fang kisses Max another time, and this time Max says she "loves it... loves him." When she finally clears her head, however, she flies away again. However, later in the book, Max shows more jealousy when Fang gets close to a young scientist, Dr. Brigid Dwyer (Dr. Amazing, Dr. Stupendous, etc.).
As Shown in MAX
Max admits to loving Fang, and knows that he is her "soulmate." Angel tells Max things like "Fang loves you," "Maybe you should give him more than a break...Fang could totally be your boyfriend. You guys could get married." Fang and Max had a "make-out session" in the desert, and he asks her out. She says she loves kissing him and could spend all of her time doing it, plus she "highly recommends it".
As Shown in FANG
At the end of this book, Fang leaves her, saying that it's not good for the Flock for them to be together. He also says that if they're both still alive in 20 years, he will meet her where they flew with the hawks, leaving Max heartbroken and upset. She goes into a kind of depression and stays in her bed and refuses to eat, so the rest of the Flock is forced to call Dr. Valencia Martinez and fly Max and the rest of the Flock over to Arizona.
As Shown in ANGEL
Max meets up with Fang again to help him and his gang destroy the "Doomsday Group". Fang finds out that Dr. Hans Gunther-Hagen and Jeb wants Max and Dylan to breed. Fang gets upset as he thinks that Dylan is his "replacement." Angel replies by telling him that he could stay with the Flock and have a say or leave and have none. Max gets also upset when she sees Max II (Maya) (Max's clone) is back and with Fang. Max gets jealous and she and Fang argue about it. Max argues again with Fang, asking him,"How could you ever stop loving me?" When a bomb blew up and she thought Angel was dead, Fang let Max cry on his shoulder. Fang then leaves again to stop the Doomsday Group, leaving Max confused and upset once again.
As Shown in Nevermore
By the end of this book, both Max and Fang have expressed their full feelings of mutual romantic love to each other.
In FANG, another boy is introduced into the Flock: Dylan.
As Shown in FANG
Max finds herself staring at him, her heart beat quickening when he comes in, etc. When she first meets him, she thinks that he could be in a magazine with the hottest guys under 25 years old (and Fang would totally also qualify to be in it). However, she completely denies any affections for him and continues to love Fang.
As Shown in ANGEL
In ANGEL, Dylan gets closer to Max (mostly because Fang is gone) and she gets confused about her feelings for him. At the beginning, he teases her and makes her angry, but then kisses her. Max and Dylan fly off to find out more about the Gen77 enhanced kids, and they slept in a cave alone where Dylan puts his arm around her. While fighting with Fang, she begins to have feelings for Dylan when he kisses her again after singing and handing her a rose. Angel then tells her that she could be with "one of them, or the other, or neither." Dylan kisses Max again in Paris when Max flew off to think about her feelings for Fang and Dylan. Max found Dylan's kisses "comfortable." Later, Max slightly forgives Fang and ends up crying on his shoulder making her very confused about her relationship with Dylan.
As Shown in Nevermore
In School's Out - Forever, Max meets a boy named Sam while temporarily attending a school in Virginia. However, he was never seen again after this book.
As Shown in School's Out - Forever
Sam shows up in this book, meeting Max at school in the computer lab. She finds him "cute" and agrees to go on a date with him, even going as far as kissing him despite it being their first (and only) date; Fang later shows his jealousy at this, which may have possibly been the main reason she agreed to date Sam.
When Sam offers the Flock a way out, Max ignores him, saying she "can't trust anyone." There is speculation on whether Sam was aligned with the whitecoats; however, it is highly unlikely. Max also wondered if he was an Eraser when he offered go help the Flock.
Max learned how to fight and defend from Jeb Batchelder. She fights in a mixed martial arts style (once calling it Max Kwon Do). It helps that she and the Flock are much stronger than regular humans, so she can easily defeat most (non-mutant) grown men.
She meets her match in a fight against Omega, a boy created by the Director, the woman she once thought was her evil mother, but eventually defeats him too—with advice from Jeb. She tends to use roundhouse kicks (turning kicks) quite often, which can be seen as her signature fighting move. She considers the Flock very tough and once told people that Angel, despite being only six, has "been in more fights to death than any one of you."
Like the rest of the Flock, Max has unique abilities other than flying. She has the Voice (Later in Nevermore, the Voice is revealed to be Angel) in her head that tries to guide her, though she often does not listen to it. (Before the Voice had appeared, she would have excruciating headaches every now and then; this is because it had been trying to make room in her head.) At one point Max believes the Voice to be that of Jeb Batchelder, a white coat at the School, but in Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, he denies this, telling her that although he can imitate the Voice, he is not it. (It should be noted that both Angel and Ari have mentioned a Voice as well.)
Max also has the ability to fly extremely fast, her top speed at roughly 240–250 miles per hour (verified by the Director through a microchip in her arm), or over 300 miles per hour in a fast dive.
In MAX, as hinted by Angel many time throughout the book, Max develops gills when she is about to die in the water (her oxygen tank was ripped off by a giant squid).
As shown in School's Out - Forever, she is able to temporarily shut down her organs, thus effectively playing dead, although this may have been possible only because she was detained in an isolation tank at the time. (Once she escapes from the isolation tank, she also believes that she can smell the Flock, but these powers aren't mentioned in other books.)
It is revealed in Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports that her bones are lightweight and have tiny pores in them that allow her and the Flock to float in water.
In The Angel Experiment, Max discovers she has what appears to be a tracer microchip embedded in her arm when Dr. Martinez, a woman who helps Max and is later revealed to be her mother, gives Max an x-ray for the purpose of discovering the extent of her injury, having been shot in the shoulder/wing. Max believes the chip gives off a signal that tells the scientists at the School where she is, though this is not proven.
In School's Out - Forever, Max, in a fit of anger, grabs a broken seashell and tries to cut the chip out of her arm, though she does not succeed.
Later, in Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports Max goes back to Dr. Martinez and asks her to remove the chip. Although Dr. Martinez is successful in taking the chip out, Max temporarily loses the use of her left hand due to nerve damage done during the surgery. The use of her hand is later restored, thanks to the School. She also believes that the chip might have been the cause of the Voice, but that notion was proved wrong when it started talking again after Max's surgery.
Max and the rest of the Flock, like birds, have a built-in sense of direction and raptor vision.