Maximum Ride Forever (Maximum Ride #9), by James Patterson

Two stars (of five)

In the promised final chapter of the Maximum Ride series, Patterson keeps the reader’s curiosity on a sloe boil. Living on a post-apocalyptic earth, Max and her Flock seek to determine if there is anything salvageable. Devastation is rampant and the last documented images from the world’s largest cities stream in through a poorly defined 5G network. In order to properly ascertain the answers they seek, the Flock divides and promises to report in as soon as they can. Meanwhile, the Doomsday Cult, cloned bird children, lurks in the shadows to snuff out the Flock alongside most of humankind, leaving each Flock member to dodge attempts on their lives with every turn, some with less than successful results. The more Max learns of the situation on earth, the less she seems motivated to trudge on, but she must, as pockets of life emerges throughout her discoveries. The question remains, is the end inevitable, or is there a shimmering ray of light in this overly bleak world? In a fitting ending to the series, Patterson offers his young adult readers a glimpse of the world to come and the way those who witness it react to the final days. Now, can we be sure that Patterson will actually end it here? Let’s hope!

I got interested in the series years ago, when it was in its early stages. While I am not a ‘Young Adult’, my dedication to this series offers me some insight to comment on its content, which has unfortunately (but predictably) suffered from PATTERSON SYNDROME. Those familiar with my reviews of James Patterson will know this refers to his desire to churn out drivel, using his name to sell books rather than solid content. The series had some great potential, but lost its lustre and moved into a world of utter cheesiness. Are young adult readers expected to subject themselves to this? I know John Grisham and Kathy Reichs (both having carved out greatness in their adult genre books) have been able to successfully transition without getting too silly. Alas, Patterson lauds himself as an expert, but fails. Also, interesting to see how Patterson climbs up on his soap box and points the finger at Russia, but stops short at referring to Putin when making his case for those who are to blame for the apocalyptic world in which the story takes place. Well played, Mr. P., as you indoctrinate the next generation.

Tepid, Mr. Patterson. You seem to want your young readers to stifle their reading abilities and comprehension with this sub-par piece of work.