Maximum Ride is a nine book series of young adult science fiction action novels by James Patterson, published between April 2005 and May 2015. For the first several years of the series' run, the author also maintained a blog from the deuteragonist Fang's point of view, featuring photographs and additional story content about the cast's travels throughout the series.
The series follows the life of six genetically engineered children and teens, all of whom have wings and flight capability, superhuman strength and reflexes, and accelerated healing abilities. Max, the titular character, is the group's leader, and she is supported by blind Iggy and brooding Fang, who help her in the responsibility of protecting and raising the three youngest members of their group, Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel.
The main cast spend most of the series on the run from various scientific and government agencies, including the School, the facility where the cast were created and treated as valuable science experiments and super-weapons rather than human beings.
The series addresses a wide array of themes through the cast's struggle for survival, freedom, and discovery of their origins. Global warming and climate change are a major concern of the fourth book in particular, and all of the books deal with concerns of ethical treatment of living creatures in scientific environments. The books are broadly a coming-of-age narrative for the older members of the cast, and they deconstruct the nature of belonging, home, and identity. While the six main characters share common enemies and a common goal of survival, sometimes circumstances lead the group to split up and pursue different priorities, forcing them to choose between personal lifelong goals and the people who have had their loyalty throughout years of trauma and danger.
Maximum Ride is strongly similar to a previous two-book series by Patterson, titled When the Wind Blows (1986) and The Lake House (2003). The success of the latter novel, along with the increased Young Adult demographic interest in stories involving genetically engineered and superpowered teens, led Patterson to rewrite the story from scratch for a YA audience, significantly altering the plot and retaining only the general premise of winged children and the name 'Max' for the winged female protagonist. The characters Franny and Kip from the first series are not present in Maximum Ride, nor is Ozymandias, whose role is largely replaced by Fang.
I recommend this series for readers who enjoy K. A. Applegate's Animorphs and Michael Grant's GONE and BZRK series, which are approximate contemporaries within the same genre, with similar themes and pacing.
The titles and United States first years of publication for each book follow:
The Angel Experiment - 2005
School's Out Forever - 2006
Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports - 2007
The Final Warning - 2008
Max: A Maximum Ride Novel - 2009
Fang: A Maximum Ride Novel - 2010
Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel - 2011
Nevermore: The Final Maximum Ride Adventure - 2012
Maximum Ride Forever - 2015
An English language manga adaptation was done in 2008 by Yen Press, based off the first novel of the series. A Marvel Comics series based on the novels is anticipated in spring of 2015.
Iron Noder Challenge 2014, 20/30