|The Angel Experiment|
Meet Max. Welcome to her nightmare.
|Published by||Little, Brown Books for Young Readers|
| Preceded by|
| Followed by|
School's Out - Forever
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment is the first book in the Maximum Ride series, and also the first book of the Fugitives trilogy, by James Patterson. The book was released in the US on April 11, 2005 and in the UK on July 4, 2005. The book is set in the present and centers around the "Flock", a group of human-avian hybrids (98% human, 2% bird) on the run from the scientists who created them. It focuses on Maximum Ride, the leader of the Flock, and the first-person narrator of the story.
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. If you dare to read this story, you become part of the Experiment. I know that sounds a little mysterious -- but it's all I can say right now.
Congratulations. The fact that you're reading this means you've taken one giant step closer to surviving till your next birthday . . . The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective. Take right now, for instance . . . If no one knows about us, we stay alive.
Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it’s like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the “Flock”—Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman and Angel—are just like ordinary kids—only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time…like when Angel, the youngest member of the flock, is kidnapped and taken back to the “School” where she and the others were experimented on by a crew of wack-job scientists. Her family brave a journey to blazing hot Death Valley, CA, to save Angel, but soon enough, they find themselves in yet another nightmare—this one involving fighting off the half-human, half-wolf “Erasers” in New York City. Whether in the treetops of Central Park or in the bowels of the Manhattan subway system, Max and her adopted family take the ride of their lives. Along the way Max discovers from her old friend and fatherlike figure Jeb—now her betrayed and greatest enemy—that her purpose is save the world . . . But, the question is, can she?
How the story starts is simple: Max has a recurring dream about running away from the School, being chased by Erasers and dogs, falling off a cliff, and then suddenly whoosh, she has wings and is flying to escape. She wakes up feeling like she is a second away from death. Subsequently, she gets dressed and looks in the kitchen for breakfast. The rest of the "flock" is introduced: the Gasman (Gazzy, 8), Iggy (14), Fang (14), Nudge (11), and Angel (6). After a hearty meal, Angel wants to go pick strawberries. While outside, the Erasers—with Ari leading them—attack the Flock and kidnap Angel. The Erasers get away in a chopper—back to the one and only place the Flock dreads and hates the most: the School.
Immediately after Angel's kidnapping, Max, Fang, and Nudge go on a mission to get Angel back. She is Max's "baby" and the Gasman's little sister. Max, being the leader of the Flock, forces Gazzy and Iggy to stay because she thinks they'll slow the others down. Iggy is blind and the Gasman is only eight-years-old. Neither are equipped to log the major flying hours. After Max, Fang, and Nudge leave, Iggy and the Gasman are up for mischief. Still angry about having to stay home, Iggy threatens to throw the others' stuff into the canyon. Then he changes his mind and both boys decide to keep the house safe by making traps, doing sabotage, and—their absolute favorite things on earth—making bombs (using Max's Mickey Mouse alarm clock as the timing device for a firebomb). In the end, Erasers are all over the Flock's home (in the Colorado mountains) hunting for them. After the Hummer oil-slick crash-trap the boys make, and the explosion of Big Boy, Iggy and Gazzy must use desperate measures when they are surrounded by Erasers. Iggy and Gazzy burn down the house with the Erasers inside; Max is furious when she finds out later. Meanwhile, at the School, the scientists are testing Angel's abilities and doing experiments (such as making her run through a maze).
Already behind ten hours by then, Max is upset that Fang, Nudge, and she had spent so long curled up resting in the empty vacation house they had found along the way when all were in need of food and sleep. Nevertheless, being late isn't enough to stop Max from going into Supergirl mode—defender of the weak/underdogs—when she sees a small twelve-year-old girl cornered by three much bigger boys. In the end, the girl (Ella) escapes, but Max is shot by the bullies' shotgun. What to do now that the bullet not only grazed her arm but also clipped her wing? Fly? Not an option. Max messed up big time.
Fang and Nudge fly on to Lake Mead, where Max had appointed them to go. They settled down for the night into a broad, shallow cave; as it turns out, the cave is home to Ferruginous hawks. Before they go to sleep, Fang suggests they try some banking moves he'd picked up from a particularly big hawk. The following morning, Fang and Nudge fly with the hawks again before going back to search the place where Max had left them. The Flock manages to free Angel. They then go to New York to find the Institute and information about their parents. They run into trouble (and a bunch of Erasers!)
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The release and information on the upcoming movie is unknown.
On January 27, 2009, Yen Press published a manga novel version of Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, the first volume in a series. The graphics were done by college artist NaRae Lee as her first manga novel. It received positive reception. The School Library Journal praised Lee for her "superb job" of adapting the book to "attractive manga-style illustrations", though it noted that the narrative was "a bit slow at first". Booklist said that the plot of the story was "presented with boisterous and nicely stylized images that purposively exploit manga features, postures, and symbolism", as well as that its cliffhanger would "entice readers to seek the next in the series". A Kindle version of the manga novel was also released. The Angel Experiment is finished in the second volume of the manga.