The first book in James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series, The Angel Experiment is a solid sci-fi/thriller. Max and her “flock” spent their early years in a genetic and bioengineering facility referred to, rather euphemistically, as the School. They spent most of their time in cages – those big dog containers, specifically – and, when they were out of their cages, were mistreated in various painful ways. Four years before our narrative begins, one of the scientists – “whitecoats” – kidnapped the six of them and took them to live in a house in the middle of nowhere, where they could finally learn to fly – because, oh yeah, they have wings. And hollow bones and super strength and ridiculously high metabolisms.

Anyway, their savior whitecoat disappeared two years ago, and now, out of nowhere, erasers – savage wolfmen developed by the same geneticists who developed the flock – show up to kidnap Angel, the youngest of the flock. As the other five fly to the rescue, various questions are raised: why was the flock created? do they have parents? is this really a kidnapping or is it a sadist game or test? and so on.

It moves at a good pace and has a spunky, sympathetic narrator. There’s even a bit of moral ambiguity, which I expect – and hope – will be even stronger in the second book.¹ In short, it’s everything it tries to be .

¹Maximum Ride: School’s Out-Forever