A young adult series, written by James Patterson, about evil adults trying to kill Totally Radical teenage bird kids on the run from the man. Loosely inspired by his adult books The Lake House and When the Wind Blows, though the series are unrelated. The series is divided into two parts: The Fugitives (books 1-3) and The Protectors (books 4 and up).
The series takes Gambit Roulette to the extreme by hinting that the kids are working for the bad guys who are really good guys secretly working for the . . . it becomes so nonsensical that there's no way the author could ever explain it without using the whole "It was just a simulation" cliche, which he seems to be surely working his way towards, and used once... but that wasn't true.
The later books have turned what once was a sci-fi/fantasy with werewolves and Angelic bird kids trying to survive on their own because adults are either useless or evil, into a green-peace adventure that has the kids going from Werewolf fighting to saving penguins in the Antarctic.
A cult appeared in ANGEL. They want to kill all the humans. And give love and caring.
There is also an OEL Manga made by NaRae Lee, which follows the plot from the start of the first book.
Provides Examples of:
Aborted Arc: The end of the 4th book ends with a cliffhanger: The Voice tells Max about a mission that she should go on. The 5th book begins with a CSM show, with no mention of the mission from the 4th book ever again.
The Ace: Omega from Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports was built/raised to be this.
Adults Are Useless: Although they're more often evil than useless, and there is the occasional exception.
Afraid of Doctors: Max and the Flock have a general fear of doctors. She swallows it enough to get a quick check-up from Dr. Martinez, but that's only because Dr. Martinez had a very gentle demeanor (and because Max had to get a bullet wound looked at). Given that they were all held captive in dog cages by doctors for their formative years, this fear is understandable.
Artistic License: There's tons and tons and tons of it all over the place. For example:
Artistic License - Astronomy: Appears in a very minor example. Max said she chose her last name (Ride) to name herself after Sally Ride, the first woman in space. Actually, Sally Ride was just the first American woman in space; Valentina Tereshkova was the actual first woman, a Soviet explorer. It's not a very significant error, just a bit annoying.
Closer to Artistic License - History, as it didn't come out of a lack of understanding or attempt at bending accepted scientific theory about astronomy as it did him not caring to google it to make sure he got the right historical figure for the statement.
Or it could just be based off of the thought that your average high school student in USA, which the Flock definitely does NOT consist of, doesn't know much if anything about Russian cosmonauts and just assumed that the US was the first to get a woman up there. There's thinking like an author, and then thinking like the character.
Artistic License - Biology: The series often has shades of this, particularly by abusing the LEGO Genetics trope. Splicing bird DNA into human DNA isn't exactly easy, and trying to engineer a Winged Humanoid would be far more complicated than taking bird DNA for wings and putting them into a human zygote. There are no genes for bird wings that one can just take and put into another creature. It gets worse when the characters start developing superpowers, some of which were planned by the scientists and others of which mutated randomly. How would they even do that? There are also some little things, like hawks nesting in large groups and large sharks in less than 5 foot deep water, but the genetics is the big one. It also makes no sense for the Erasers to transform so constantly between human and wolf - this also doubles with Artistic License - Physics, since it breaks the Law of Conservation of Matter.
Artistic License - Geography: Max claims in The Final Warning that "every last freaking, gol-danged thing" in Antarctica is white. In reality, exposed rock is visible along many areas of the coastline, and the ice tends to appear rose- or emerald-colored rather than white.
Artistic License - Law: In The Final Warning, the government wants to put the Flock under some sort of care. Rather than just bringing in a social worker, they for some reason have to go to Congress for this, and their best attempt seems to be trying to convince the Flock that it would be best for them to be put under protection. That would be like the police - no, the President - trying to talk a criminal into staying in a jail cell rather than using force.
Artistic License - Nuclear Physics: Max is entirely fueled by it. Nuclear energy is a lot more likely to just kill... whatever those creatures were than to make them into those creatures.
Artistic License - Physics: The previously mentioned Erasers turning into humans, as well as plenty of other things. For example, at one point, Fang, Iggy, and Gazzy fly directly down towards the water, hitting it head-on from about a thousand feet in the air - this should've killed them, but other than Fang mentioning how bad it hurt, he seemed to suffer no side effects. Then, robots followed them into the water, which should've charged the water and gotten the three of them electrocuted, but all that happened was that they short-circuited and died.
Actually, the diving thing isn't too unreasonable. Many species of birds do dive from great heights and survive due to air sacs in their skulls. Whether they could manage a thousand feet, though, is more debatable.
Author Filibuster: Book 4 of the Young Adult series was basically James Patterson's 272 page long rant about global warming, only you have to pay for it.
Big Eater: Justified in that the winged kids eat huge amounts of food at every meal where they have the opportunity, since they need extra energy to power their superpowers.
Also justified when you consider how often the Flock goes without any food, sometimes for days at a time, so it's completely understandable that once presented with ample amounts, they would stuff themselves just shy of getting sick because they couldn't be sure when their next meal would be; or of what quality it might be (i.e. Dumpster diving being a regular one-stop shop for the hungry mutant bird kid on the run).
Max's curtains were originally supposed to match the window (brown and brown), but she suddenly became a blond in Book 2, then went back to brown, then back to blond, then back to brown again...in the manga adaption, and almost all cover art for the books, she is solidly a blond, however.
Doppelgänger: Max even comments that "Doppelganger" is a cool word. Which it is.
Downer Ending: Wondering how the flock's managed to save the world? Well they didn't. The world went up in flames and they failed to save the world. Maya is killed, Max goes back to Fang, almost everyone else in the world is killed leaving just the Flock and a few other characters.
Even worse, Nudge, Gazzy, and Iggy's fates remain totally unknown. Only Max, Fang, Dylan, and Angel made it into the beautiful, heaven-like "perfect world" for winged, gilled mutants.
Eye Scream: One of the few good things in the last book is that we finally got to learn more about what happened to Iggy during the infamous night vision operation. However, it ended up as a Be Careful What You Wish For when we find he had been awake the entire time while doctors operated on his eyes. They do it on Angel later in the book, but she recovers.
Face-Heel Turn: Angel has done this multiple times (except in third book since it was part of Max's idea). Despite this, she's easily forgiven by the next book and turns back to her old self. For now...
Possibly: Jeb and Dr. Martinez after they're believed to be involved with the Doomsday Group. Poor Max...
Face Heel Revolving Door: Max wants us to believe that this applies to Jeb, but after the third book, he showed no signs of doing anything evil at all until the final book where he goes insane. Played straight with Angel.
Fauxlosophic Narration: If the first paragraph of your book warns that "This could happen to you!", the second paragraph should probably not say, "I was genetically engineered in a lab and have wings."
Flanderization: All of the Flock from suffer this. In the first book at least they were a bit more realistic and believable. Now however, Nudge has gone from an extremely talkative young girl to a materialistic celebrity-obsessed tween, Angel is a manipulative Karma Houdini, Total is now even more of a cartoonish sidekick figure than he was originally and Iggy seems to be getting dumber and more childish in each book. Where in the first three he was treated by Max and Fang as one of the older kids, now he appears to have a mental age of twelve and spends most of his time with Gazzy, who admittedly has a similar outlook and personality, but is way younger than him. Fang too used to be a bit more of an interesting character (in the first book Nudge worries about whether he'd ever decide to leave the Flock) but now he's lost all the interesting sides to his personality. As for Max, she's recently started to use Totally Radical slang and seems to be occasionally channeling the spirit of Bella Swan, in the author's clumsy attempt to cash in on the teen romance success of late.
Franchise Zombie: As the initial summary said, the entire theme and plot of the series was scrapped with book 4, and after everything basically concluded with three.
Idiot Ball: The villains in book 2. They replace Max with a clone and have her infiltrate the flock. Apparently they forgot that Angel (whom they gave the power to) can read minds. It's unknown if Max 2 was aware of this.
If the manga is to be believed, then she was not, and apparently her makers didn't bother to tell her.
Jerkass: Fang was veering dangerously close to this territory earlier on in the series. He flirted blatantly with several girls other than Max over the course of the series, but when she dated someone else, of course he became jealous. Not to mention the fact that when she finally complained to him about it for real, he acted as though nothing had happened and basically disregarded what she said.
JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Max herself. She can be particularly rude and such to other people, but she undeniably cares about the Flock and her mom and biological sister.
Killed Off for Real: Ari, and the rest of the Erasers due to their expiration dates. A clone of Ari, and an army of new Erasers appear in the final book and are killed off again.
Max II/Maya as well in the final book.
Kudzu Plot: Partway through the third book of the YA series, it becomes clear that there is no overarching plot, and the author is really just stringing together random twists for the hell of it.
Mind Screw: In the third book, the Flock wakes up in the School and is told that the last four years of their lives have been nothing but a drug-induced hallucination. This includes the loss of their talking dog, as well as the scars Max got earlier in the book. Fortunately, it turns out that the whole thing was just a lie to get the Flock to stop trying to evade the School.
Name Drop: Max, when she tells Ella's mum her full name is Maximum Ride.
Plot Hole: In the first book, we discover that the Flock had parents, and Iggy's mom died, but his dad is alive. Fast-forward to book 2, when who should show up but both his parents, alive and well and ready to make money off of him.
There is a sort of throwaway line from Jeb in one of the books, where he mentions that they information the bird kids found at the Institute was probably planted by the Director. Still never mentioned again...
It is also stated at some point in the same book that Iggy's mother was the one that died. In fact, most of the explanations they get from Angel on their parenting either don't exactly fit with or go directly against the information they get from the Institute.
Fang start off with Angel predicting that Fang will be the first member of The Flock to die, prompting much angst from the other members because "Angel is never wrong." This is somewhat bizarre as while Angel has manifested many abilities over the course of the series, the ability to see the future has not been one of them, leading this idea to come almost completely from nowhere.
Max even jokes/notes in an earlier book that she hopes Angel hasn't gained the ability to predict the future.
A major plot hole that bothered me as soon as I read it - In the third book, Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports, right near the end The Director claims to be a successful, viable hybrid creature: A cross of Human and Galapagos Tortoise. She states that she is 107 years old. The problem with this is the implication that the technology for gene splicing existed in the year 1900.
i always assumed she was lying, in an attempt to save her skin...
And, of course, the fact that a supposedly world-spanning (and possibly controlling) corporation simply VANISHES without a trace after getting busted by the German police and a bunch of civilian kids with a Hummer...
It's stated that Dylan is 8 months old, and he acts pretty normally. He shouldn't be able to speak English fluently at 8 months, not to mention possess all of the capabilities that your average 15-year-old has (social skills, etc.).
Purple Prose: Everything about Dylan's perfect physical features (hair, eyes, muscles, and even singing voice) have been described this way since his first appearance. In the same book, Fang also gets this treatment.
Series Continuity Error: In the seventh book, Max II (er, Maya) says to Max, "Gee, I haven't seen you since you tried to kill me." The most recent time they met, in the third book, they were having a civilized conversation.
Quite a few others that mix in with some of the other, already-noted tropes.
Soft Water: In Saving The World And Other Extreme Sports, Fang describes diving into the ocean from 500 feet up as equivalent to God punching his face. He survives, though, completely unharmed and swimming back to shore in a matter of minutes. Actual physics dictate that a human-size object falling from 500 feet would approach terminal velocity and implode on impact.
Tracking Chip: Max realizes that she has a microchip implanted in her arm, and that this means the lab she came from will always be able to track her. She tries to get it out herself and later has it surgically removed.
Trilogy Creep: The series was originally planned to end after Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports. Many fans think that this should've happened, as it resolved everything except the Fang/Max subplot ( In that version of the plot, Jeb really was the voice), and there was a significant drop in quality after that book.
Unscientific Science: The explanation for why the gang and Erasers exist makes no sense. There is no gene specifically for bird wings and the other bird-like attributes that the gang has, and the Erasers have apparently been given a gene that... allows people to turn into wolves?
Viewers Are Morons: In the young adult series, some concepts are hammered in three or four times just in case they didn't sink in the first time. Ari's jealousy of Max, for instance.
Or the fact that Iggy is blind. Patterson still feels the need to mention this.
AND in case anyone forgot what Dylan looked like, Patterson jams in his perfect features in the form of purple prose.
And don't forget how many times the fact that the Flock are birdkid is mentioned...
What Happened to the Mouse?: In the first book, the Flock frees a winged kid from a cage in an underground lab, who then leaves. They don't mind, and she's never, ever mentioned or heard from again. Is she dead? Do they care that there's another bird kid like them, out there alone? Isn't this of interest to anyone, such as the people trying to track down bird kids?!
On a more depressing note, the third book reveals that Itex has been gathering up all experiments and killing them. Given the sheer reach of the company and the fact that the freed kids from the lab probably don't have the Flock's training in stealth and hiding, there's the good chance that they were recaptured and died...
One would still think that Max and company would think about them at some point, at least -once-...
You think that's bad? When Dylan is introduced in Fang Max even says that it was the first time they had ever met another bird-kid. Apparently that girl they rescued had been totally removed from her memory not to mention her own clone
In the second book, the Flock runs into two kids in the woods in Florida. The kids claim that they were both kidnapped by scientists, both were clearly starved, and Angel claims to get strange images of water from the minds and knows that neither are ordinary children (though she doesn't think they're mutants). The kids later confess that they were held captive by Itex and were sent to find the Flock and told that if they didn't succeed, something in the woods would eat them. These kids are never mentioned again.
In the third book, when breaking into the School in Germany, Max and her group sees that there are only clones of Nudge and Angel. These clones are never explained, used for the plot, or even remembered after the event. This is odd when one considers how (rightfully) offended Max was that she herself was cloned and replaced, but apparently can't be bothered to think about why only the two other girls on the team were also cloned, nor the implications of it.
Itex itself post-book 3, DESPITE it supposedly being an unstoppable corporate juggernaut.
Younger than They Look: Nudge. Angel even wonders if a boy looking at her in the sixth book that's around sixteen knows that Nudge is only twelve. Dylan also appears to be around Max's and Fang's age, but really nine months old.
Ari. His appearance is that of an adult man, but really is only around seven years old.
The graphic novel. Max looks like she's in her late twenties.
Zettai Ryouiki: All of the female characters are given this during the manga int the third volume. Unfortunately, it's only Grade C.