The Flock (Maximum Ride)

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Maximum Ride is a series of seven young adult science fiction/fantasy books, written by the award-winning American author James Patterson. It is not based on two of his previous books (James Patterson noted that in the very beginning of the Books), When the Wind Blows and The Lake House, though they were inspired by and share some small similarities with those books. The series chronicles the lives of six human/avian fugitives. Bred in a science lab called 'The School', the 'Flock' endured scientific experiments that rendered them 98% human and 2% avian. Through the first three books of the Maximum Ride series, the Flock spends much of their time running from human-lupine hybrids created by the School called 'Erasers'. Book four is mainly about the flock rising against global warming, while Book Five is about saving Dr. Martinez from a man named Mr. Chu, while battling environmental pollution. The reason for the change in style of the books is reportedly because the series is to be made up of two trilogies: The Fugitives (books 1–3) and The Protectors (books 4-7) .

The series debuted on April 11, 2005, and the most recent installment was published on March 15, 2010. The next book is titled Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel and is scheduled to be published in February or March 2011. The fifth book, Max: A Maximum Ride Novel, was originally to be called Water Wings.

The first book in James Patterson's Maximum Ride series focuses around the rescue of Angel, the youngest female of the Flock, and also the sister of the youngest boy in the group, the Gasman (a.k.a Gazzy). The Flock is safe in the mountains until the day a pack of 'Erasers' (cruel and bloodthirsty, half-wolf, half-men) appear out of nowhere and kidnap Angel. The Flock must return to the dreaded 'School', a horrifying place that holds terrible memories of their past, to rescue Angel. Max is deeply confused when she finds out that Jeb Batchelder, the kindhearted, parental figure who looked after them and rescued them from the School two years ago, and then supposedly died, has reappeared as an evil figure, and that Ari, Jeb Batchelder's son, has become an Eraser. While Max is thrown into struggles of looking after all of her Flock, saving Angel from the evil clutches of the White-coats, and realizing how complicated love can be, she is trying to figure out why she has a mysterious 'Voice' inside her head that no one else can hear, one that is telling her that her mission is to save the world.

After being reunited with Angel and adding a Scottish Terrier named Total to their group, the second book starts with the Flock heading off to look for their parents through papers they found in an underground lab called the "Institute for Higher Living". Max is still reeling from Jeb's enigmatic scream over his dying son, Ari, that he was actually her younger brother. On the way, they run into flying Erasers (with patched on wings), one turning out to be back-from-the-dead Ari, causing Fang to fight for his life when he suffers injuries bad enough to need to be treated at a hospital. Anne Walker, an FBI agent who turns into a motherly figure of sorts, offers her home for residence while Fang recovers, and the Flock finally agrees. What they didn't expect was to get enrolled into a real school with teachers, students, and classes. As if that wasn't enough, Total develops into a talking dog, which, of course, just adds to all the mystery. But all the people surrounding the Flock may not be who they claim. Max becomes instantly and almost insanely jealous after spotting Fang kissing a red-haired girl named Lissa (whom Max calls "The Red Haired Wonder"). The principal, in reality, works for the 'Institute' and almost traps the Flock at the school, only to end up with failure. Later, Max is kidnapped and replaced with a clone Max, one that has her appearance but acts differently. In the end, a fight will leave only one Max standing as Jeb makes it clear that there can be only one Max.

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Official Site: James Patterson
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