Maximum Ride Chapters 17 & 18

Aaannndd, Jimmy establishes that he doesn’t care how tired and stupid these knockout/wake up transitions are. Like Paopao, Jimmy seems to be sticking with this device no matter how lame it is. Even in youth literature, it’s so overdone that the only way you could make it believable would be to introduce a narcoleptic character.

We’re with Max this time when she wakes up. She punches a pillow to get comfortable but this kicks up dust so she sneezes herself awake. Folks, you can’t make up something as boring as that.

Oh, and now Maxey doesn’t know where she is. How novel and different. So Max looks around and gets her bearings and then remembers how they broke into a cabin to loot and then nap. And with how short these chapters are, this unnecessary scene takes up a third of it. Maybe this series should have been called Maximum Fluff or Maximum Waste, maybe even Maximum I’m-just-writing-this-to-pay-off-my-beach-house.

Max then begins to panic about how they wasted so many hours sleeping into the next day. You’re right Max, sleep is stupid. It’s much better that you use the last of your strength to get to Angel, rather than show up well rested and ready for a fight. Maybe you’d like to put this collar on while you’re at it? I hear it’s all the rage among people living in Pet Taxis. Then Fang starts getting supplies ready.

He was already moving toward the kitchen cupboards. He’d found an ancient, stained backpack in a closet, and now he methodically started to fill it with cans of tuna, sealed bags of crackers, zip-locked bags of trail mix.

It’s a good thing Mister and Missus Deus Ex Machina left their cabin fully stocked with goods and bits for them to be carried off. Normally, I figure people would leave very little behind in their remote, unused cabin. And it’s doubly good that nothing they left behind has spoiled or gone bad. Like the trail mix in zip sandwich bags or the crackers. That’ll give them the energy to get to Angel and save her from the nut job with the cattle prod.

Fang dons the pack while Max wakes Nudge up. Then they bolt out the door and run until they can get airborne. And the chapter ends with Max apologizing mentally to Angel for stopping so long. Whoa, Jimmy boy. Don’t drag us along in a rush. Why don’t we just hang around the house while Max makes breakfast or while the gang searches the attic?

We start off the next chapter with a realization, for me not for Max. It just occurred to me that Jimmy switches narrative forms depending on who we’re focused on. If it’s Max, we get the first person narrative like she’s talking at us. If we’re with anyone else, it’s in third person. Which is pretty jarring. One second we’re limited to Max and her retarded knowledge and the next we have a narrator telling us what’s going on.

It’s like there’s two different storytellers involved and they keep tagging out while the other goes on break. One of them is an unwashed hobo who rages at the invisible demons that won’t stop digging at his brain while the other is an angry member of the anti literacy league who wields her words like weapons of mass stupidity. Actually, both of those sound preferable to this.

Anywho, Max is still whining about waking up so late.

But still! How stupid was that? What kind of a loser was I, to let us fall asleep in the middle of a freaking rescue! I thought about Angel waiting for us, and my heart clenched. With a sense of dread, I banked and set us going about ten, twelve degrees southwest. Anxiety fueled my wings, and I had to remember to find good air currents, set my wings at an angle, and coast when I could.

Wait, how do you know how many degrees southwest you’re going? And don’t you dare say avian DNA, Jimmy. Yes, some birds can navigate extremely well over large distances without consulting things like maps and such but that doesn’t mean they think like we do. Geese aren’t flying around thinking ‘uh oh, we’re two degrees off course. I’d better correct for that.’ If Max and the others had instinctual navigation, they would just know where there were going without being able to explain it.

And then somehow Max knows they slept for ten hours. Alright, maybe she’s got a watch. Then Fang says they’ll have to stop at least once more before they assault the “School” so they’re well rested. Max agrees and then they shut up for awhile until it suddenly occurs to Fang that he doesn’t know what Max’s plan is so they ask her.

“Yeah, Max, I was wondering what your plan was,” said Nudge, coming up alongside. “I mean, there’s only three of us, and a whole bunch of them. And the Erasers have guns. Could we, like, drive a truck through the gates? Or even into a building? Or maybe we could wait till nightfall, sneak in, and sneak out with Angel before anyone notices us.”

Yeah, that last one would work great. If they kept absolutely no guards on duty as soon as the sun went down. ‘Well guys, that’s the end to another long day.’ ‘Uh, aren’t we supposed to wait for our relief?’ ‘Naw, they don’t employ night guards.’ ‘But isn’t that when most thieves and such strike?’ ‘Actually, most theft occurs from inside sources so they keep us on duty only during business hours.’

Max doesn’t say anything but tells us that she has a plan C. Apparently this plan will let everyone else escape except for her. Great, now Max is going to attempt to sacrifice herself in a heroic manner. Can we just skip to the part where she too escapes and makes the werewolves look incompetent? All this boring filler is just tedious.

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