Saturday, June 30, 2007

Score One for Patterson


I remember reading James Patterson's first couple of books back in the early 1990s. He was riding the wave or serial killer crime novels started by Thomas Harris's Red Dragon. I remember finding them readable but nothing to write home about. Jump forward to this year, when I decided to try reading a couple of Patterson's more recent novels, mainly because I wondered why he seemed to be hitting the New York Times Best Seller List almost every week. So I picked up a couple of his recent mysteries and found them little different from his earlier books, making me wonder what's the hubbub, bub?
But someone recommended I try his Young Adult series Maximum Ride. Loosely based on a the concept of two of his adult novels (The Beach House and Where the Wind Blows) but not actually related, Maximum Ride:The Angel Experiment follows the adventures of six genetically altered children whose human DNA has been combined with avian (bird) DNA to produce kids with hollow bones, super human muscle tissue, and wings. In other words, they can fly.
THIS book is a corker, breathlessly paced and full of action, monsters, escapes, rescues, battles, and such, all told at a headlong narrative pace. The kids are fun characters and the whole thing is a lot like a comic book. In fact it's sort of like the original X-Men, but in this case all of the team are the Angel. I read the book in two sittings and definitely recommend it to kids and adults. It gets a little violent at the end and there are some scenes that might disturb readers who are under 10, but otherwise I think it's pretty kid safe. I hope the two sequels hold up.

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