Nevermore by James Patterson

This is the eighth and final book in the Maximum Ride series about a group of kids that was conceived, lived, and experimented on in a lab they call the “School” till they finally escaped.  What is so special about them?  They are 99% human and have 1 % avian DNA, which shows in their light bone structure, high metabolism, quick reflexes…and oh yeah, their wings.  For the preview for the first book, The Angel Experiment, click here.  For the preview for Nevermore, click here.

 

I first saw this series while browsing the book section in Sam’s and decided to get the first book.  It is definitely geared toward young adults or those adults who feel young at heart.  I enjoyed the series and bought book after book, but then I felt that the series started to lose my interest around the 6th or 7th book.  I felt that at that point, the story was kind of grasping at straws to continue.

 

I liked the introduction of Dylan, who was supposed to interrupt the love between Max and Fang.  Dylan was genetically engineered to be Max’s perfect other half; and he really is a great guy, even if he is only two years old in a 16 year old body.  It created a nice suspenseful dynamic when the “evil” source in the storyline started to dwindle.  The storyline started out with the flock just trying to save themselves, but once they became public knowledge, Max was given the task to “save the world.”  “Saving the world” started to focus on recycling and the health of the planet, which is a good cause, but started to become a little corny after a while.  Then “saving the world” switched to saving all the humans from annihilation because the “sky was going to fall.”

 

As a result of the new addition of Dylan, the flock splits up and Fang heads his own crew with Max’s clone, Maya, and other mutant kids that were discovered along the way.  Max’s flock really just wants to be normal and live a normal life with an address, a school, friends, and food that doesn’t come from the garbage or rotisserie prairie rat.  They try that for a while, but Max still feels like something is wrong and they are not safe.  Meanwhile, Fang’s flock is trying to stop the crazy mob of people who are determined to kill all those who are 100% human.  This leads us into the last book, Nevermore.

 

First of all how many times can you beat a dead horse?  Or in this case, how many times can you kill Ari?  Ari is Max’s half brother who started out human, but was changed into an Eraser.  Erasers were created by the School in Death Valley, are half-human, half-wolf hybrids that were bred by the School to be guards, but their larger mission later involves hunting down and even killing the members of the Flock. Their powers are superhuman strength, but they also eventually gain wings that are crudely grafted onto their shoulder blades.  They are eventually led by Ari, who keeps getting killed and then resurrected to go after Max.  Come on!  Leave the poor kid alone!

 

The part where Angel gets kidnapped and is held hostage while being tested on was ok, except to were you make the connection that she has always been the “Voice” Max follows.  If she can communicate to the flock from inside of her hell of a prison, then why doesn’t she tell them what is going on and that she is alive?!  And what is up with Jeb and Dr. Martinez (Max’s biological parents) always switching sides?  They are both present at the lab where Angel is being tortured and are constantly going back to the flock to gain their trust, just to end back up on the other side.

 

Dylan and Max start to build a relationship that you start to cheer for and get excited about.  Max starts to see things in Dylan that she needs that Fang doesn’t display.  Max has always been the tough leader that has to put the emotions aside and not have time for the little things that she doesn’t realize she is missing; Dylan is her softer side and makes time for emotional necessities that mean so much to Max.  However, Dylan is also always there when Max needs a strong second to help guide and protect the flock.  So you find yourself rooting for this couple.

 

Fang and Maya start to build a relationship as well.  Fang has always had to be Max’s strong and stoic right wing, and doesn’t know how to laugh and have fun.  He sees these softer qualities in Maya and starts to appreciate and rely on them.  Maya also helps to support Fang and be his second, which allow Fang to be the leader he has become to be and support him on the things that he feels needs to be accomplished that Max didn’t see as a priority at times.  With Fang, Maya starts to become less cynical and defensive and starts to feel like a unique individual that has assets that are appreciated.  Right when Patterson starts to build these budding relationships and you see a possible happy ending for both couples, he kills Maya.  Huh?!?!  That left me wondering what kind of ending this would be, knowing this was the last book in the series, and expecting that ending to be smooth and natural.  Boy was I wrong!

 

Towards the end of the book Dylan goes into a jealous rage when Fang returns to the flock after losing Maya and is nearly killed himself.  This rage includes Dylan trying to kill Fang after being brainwashed by a member of the School into believing that the only way to keep Max safe is to kill Fang because Fang’s DNA holds the key to immortality.  Ooookaayyy Patterson, that plot came out of left field.  This causes a rift between Max and Dylan, obviously, and allows Max and Fang to get close once again.  They then discover Angel is alive and go rescue her, just like old times.

 

They are then rushed to a secret island by the now trusted (I know, again) Dr. Martinez because there is going to be a great disaster that will wipe out mankind and the flock will be safely secluded in tree houses specially made for them and secret tunnels that they can hide in.  Max is still convinced that she has to save the world and is about to head out to do that when Dylan tells them there is something coming in the sky, so they all need to head to the tunnels. Dylan gets the others to the tunnels while Max and Fang don’t believe him, so they are exposed when the sky turns into a nuclear wasteland of fire and ash.  They are thrown into the sea and accept death has finally caught up with them, when the next thing Max knows she is being pulled from the sea (which she forgot she could breathe in since she also has gills.  Crazy, I know.) by Dylan who reminds her that he will always be there to protect her.  Fang also survives and somehow Max and Fang are now irrevocably in love and forever a couple and Dylan is automatically thrown out of the race somehow despite his persistence and meaningful contributions, and this is just accepted by all.  So now they live in this alien world that is half rugged and barren cliffs and half water; a world that they are perfectly engineered to live in and have been conditioned to survive in.  The end.  Once again, huh?!?!  That is how you end the series?  In the last 5 pages of the last book, humankind is wiped out, the earth is now an alien planet, Max and Fang are now a permanent couple, Dylan is left with a big question mark hanging over his future, and all of us readers are supposed to be ok with all this?  This is the big ending??  Totally anticlimactic and overrated an ending for me for an eight book series.  It left me blinking after reading the last sentence.  Kind of makes me feel like the whole series was a waste of time.  What do you think?

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