Maximum Ride Chapters 7 & 8

Now that Jimmy has started things moving again, he decides it’s better to slow things down and give us some backstory. Wow, good choice. I might have gone with continuing the action since it had barely gotten started but then again that’s why I’m a rank amateur and you’re consistently on the bestseller list along with other such eminent authors like Stephanie Meyer, Dean Koontz and Chris Paolini.

You see, that nightmare I had is actually hard to tell apart from my real life. My friends and I really did used to live at a stinking cesspool of evil called the School. We were created by scientists, whitecoats, who grafted avian DNA onto our human genes. Jeb had been a whitecoat, but he’d felt sorry for us, cared about us, and kidnapped us away from there.

Okay, Jimmy, we need to talk about consistency here. Were Max and the rest created or were they modified? You need to settle that pretty quickly here or it’s going to look like you were just making it up as you go along. I’d expect this kind of confusion out of a first draft but not the finished product of a big name author who has editors at his disposal.

Secondly, you don’t “graft” DNA. You graft skin or other tissue. You splice DNA. Yes, I know the word comes up as a synonym in your thesaurus but when you’re using biology terms it’s important to remember certain ones have discrete meanings in their respective context.

Normally I might give this a pass because Max, being the narrator, is only fourteen and I wouldn’t expect her to know all that. Unfortunately, Jimmy writes her as too smart for her own good and that means it’s time to stick it to her like a bloody pincushion.

Thirdly, might I ask how in the hell “grafting” avian DNA gives people superpowers? I might be a little confused on that one but I don’t recall any birds being able to read minds. If they can, they certainly don’t put it to use when I’m driving to work and fly into my car. I guess those geese must have been distracted by someone thinking the Bewitched theme song really loudly when the got sucked into flight 1549.

And then abruptly we’re back to chasing the Hummer. Max tells us they are bird kids, the “Erasers” want to kill them and now they have Angel. I already demonstrated how they don’t really want to kill anyone. If they did, there’d just be another corpse on the forest floor instead of chasing after the wolfmen and complaining. Did you ever stop to think that maybe they took Angel as bait to lure you all into a trap?

Let’s see, they fly along, Max tells us she has a thirteen foot wingspan, one of them drops a branch on top of the hummer and someone fires a gun. Then Fang points out a helicopter waiting in a clearing. What? Did the wolves fly out? Was there just a hummer waiting for them there? Did they fly out, rent the car and now they’re going to ditch it once they leave? Did the helicopter carry the hummer out and now they can’t be bothered to take it back?

Anyway, Max tells us that, clearly, the only chance they’ll have to rescue Angel will be when they’re transferring her to the helicopter. So they have to get to the choppa and fast. But Ari gets there faster and throws a sack, because how else do you transport kids than with a sack, containing Angel into the chopper and jumps in. Then it takes off and Max does the dramatic thing where she just barely misses catching Angel but grabs a landing skid.

The werewolves laugh at Max because they can and Ari points a rifle at Max and tells her that they’re the good guys. I believe them because Ari left the gun behind and doesn’t shoot her for having the audacity to breathe. So Max lets go and the chopper flies off.

My baby, flying away toward her death.

And, trust me on this, things much worse than death.

So which is it Max? Is she going off to her death or to things much worse than death? Or are you just being a melodramatic moron again? How can I trust you when you won’t stop telling lies like that?

We all have great vision—raptor vision. So we had the excruciating pain of watching the helicopter take Angel away for much longer than the average person. My throat closed with a sob. Angel, whom I had cared for since she was a baby with goofy chicken wings. I felt like they had chopped my own right wing off, leaving a ragged, gaping wound.

That’s how we start chapter eight off. First, Jimmy neglects to mention what made these idiots special and now he has to remind us with every sentence. Why not just parade around, banging on a pot and shouting ‘They have wings! They have wings! Do you get it yet!? They have wings!’

Now Jimmy focuses on having everyone get really, really upset and sad. ‘Oh noes! I are sad and upset! What will we do?’ Hmm, let’s see what my cliché-playbook, or clichebook, says is called for next. It says you need to attempt heroic rescue. So you know who took Angel and where they operate out of.

That means you should probably start flying right now to avoid rush hour traffic. Oh, and you might want to avoid the six this time of night. Deckard might be fleeing the city with an illegal replicant in tow and won’t pay stop to see why that unusually large pigeon screamed like a little girl as he flew through it.

Max lands on a tree and has a tantrum where she hits the tree while angsting about Angel being taken. Once again she reiterates how attached she is to Angel and how the younger girl is like a weird daughter/sister to her. It’s good to see that it’s not just hacks who have the bad taste to tell us rather than show us.

And put your goddamned protesting, clawed hand of suck down, Jimmy. Yes, I saw you getting indignant in the back there. No, you don’t get a pass on anything just because it’s a book aimed at the young adult market. Sloppy writing, is sloppy writing no matter who the target audience is.

It’s stuff like this that conditions people to accept low quality crap early on and then they don’t understand why I get worked up by something that every creative writing course in the world teaches. I don’t like seeing it in my own work and I hate seeing it coming from someone who makes their living as a keyboard jockey.

Okay. It was time to go down and be strong, to get everyone together, to come up with Plan B. And one other thing—Ari’s last words were still screaming in my brain: We’re the good guys.

Okay, sounds good Max. Can I ask what plan A was? Because chasing after Angel and the wolves, though laudable, wasn’t planned so I wouldn’t write it off as plan A. Oh wait, maybe plan A was not to be born a genetic engineered project and thus Max always skips over that one as sort of a mental reminder that you can’t control every facet of life. Or she has the same learning disability that Eragon does.

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4 Responses to Maximum Ride Chapters 7 & 8

  1. maeverin says:

    13 foot wingspan holy crud!
    in the GN the kids always managed to make their wings inexplicably disappear so they looked like normal people when out in public. I’m guessing Patterson didn’t want his otherwise average teenagers to look like a herd of hunchbacks as they try to hide wings under clothes, so it probably won’t be brought up.

    • vivisector says:

      Yeah, those would be just a little hard to keep out of sight. Maybe they won a couple of bags of holding from a DM in a game of chance?.

      • ChocolateSamus says:

        Welllllll, humans aren’t like birds. Maxine probably needs a wingspan that huge to fly. Or a bigger one, more likely.

      • vivisector says:

        It’s not the size of the wings that concerns me so much as how they’ve managed to keep hidden with the wings. I mean, someone has to wander into the local TrueValue every so often. Do the locals just think Max, or whoever, is just cosplaying really, really well? Plus if they were flying about overhead near the cabin, someone might eventually take note of such a huge shadow.

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