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Literature / Maximum Ride

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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 When the Wind Blows and The Lake House, though the series are unrelated. The series is divided into two parts: The Fugitives (books 1-3) and The Protectors (books 4 and onward).

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... you know what, screw it. It'd take too long to explain, and 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. Also, a cult appears 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 and currently has nine volumes released.

As of March 2015 there is also a Marvel Comics adaptation, Max Ride: First Flight, and its sequel, Max Ride: Ultimate Flight.

After years of Development Hell, a feature-length film was digitally released in August 2016. It was shown in select theaters that September.

A sequel series focusing on Max's daughter Hawk is being published. The first book, Hawk, was released in July 2020.


Maximum Ride

  1. The Angel Experiment (2005)
  2. School's Out — Forever (2007)
  3. Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (2008)
  4. The Final Warning (2008)
  5. Max (2009)
  6. Fang (2011)
  7. Angel (2011)
  8. Nevermore (2012)
  9. Maximum Ride Forever (2015)


  1. Hawk (2020)
  2. City of the Dead (2021)

Provides Examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: The end of The Final Warning ends with a cliffhanger: The Voice tells Max about a mission that she should go on. Max, 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: In Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports, one of the characters starts a child uprising against adults. Naturally, there's no such thing as a web-faring adult to also support/argue the issues, and the adults really are responsible for it all. After all, every adult so far in the series is evil, no matter how long they spend being friendly to begin with, except Valencia Martinez, who is fairly useful and kind. note 
  • 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.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Ter Borcht is this. He's a mad doctor, with a suspiciously German accent, who works for a woman who believes that the world's population must be reduced by one half. The antagonists are all but stated to actually be Nazis. In fact, the aforementioned woman is old enough to have lived through World War II.
  • All Just a Dream: Subverted. A group of scientists unsuccessfully attempt to convince the protagonist that the events of the entire past three books were all a dream.
  • Animal Testing: Most of the series has the various evil science labs perform horrible experiments on animals, including, among other things, giving a cat human fingers under its claws. This tends to be kind of overshadowed though, since those labs perform equally disgusting experiments on human children, usually kidnapped.
  • Anyone Can Die: By the end of the series, pretty much every single character sans the Flock has been killed off as a result of The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Animesque: The OEL manga adaptations have this artstyle.
  • Artificial Animal People: The titular character and the rest of her Flock are human children spliced with bird DNA, which give them all wings and various superpowers. Their enemies, the Erasers, are artificially created wolf-human hybrids... who also have wings.
  • 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.
    • The Marvel Comics miniseries avoids this by making the Flock cyborgs instead of genetically-engineered mutants.
  • 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 – History: 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.
  • 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 – Physics:
    • It makes no sense for the Erasers to transform so constantly between human and wolf, since it breaks the Law of Conservation of Matter.
    • 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.
  • Auction of Evil: In The Final Warning, the Uber-Director attempts to auction off the flock. He's thwarted by the flock using their 'skills' to distract the viewers... oh, and a hurricane.
  • Author Filibuster: The Final Warning. In the first three books, the main characters were always on the move and in danger, fighting for their lives against evil scientists, and keeping a low profile, In this book, Max and the flock are brought to Antarctica to combat global warming. The commentary is there but not overwhelming until the last few pages of the book (before the epilogue), which has Max making a speech to the US Congress (a literal filibuster) concerning global warming and referencing the current big thing about compact fluorescent light bulbs (that if every house replaced one normal bulb with one of these, it would be "like taking a million cars off the road"). The protagonist of this series was the subject of kidnapping and human experimentation, but goes out of her way to state that global warming is worse than those things. The speech also contains a lot of America-bashing (pig-headed, short-sighted, arrogant, etc).
  • Author Tract: The novels are one big Green Aesop after book three.
  • Badass Adorable: Gazzy and Angel. Sure, they're cute and all, being the youngest members of the group, but Gazzy can blow you up with the MANY explosives he keeps somewhere in his clothes while Angel can effectively control your mind.
  • Betty and Veronica: In the sixth book, Fang and some other guy named Dylan for Max. Then again, Dylan is designed to be her perfect half.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Dylan is normally a pretty nice and quiet guy, but when he catches Max and Fang together, well... snapped is putting it lightly.
  • Big Eater: All the bird-kids have this, because of super-high metabolism to give them energy to fly. Amusingly, in the first young adult novel, they show up at a restaurant and start to order dinner, and the staff think it's some sort of prank. The Flock will often go 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).
  • Bio Punk: The series skirts this genre, with the protagonists being genetically engineered bird people that were created by immoral scientists in order to find the secrets of immortality.
  • Bittersweet Ending: As of Maximum Ride Forever, the world has gone up in flames and the flock failed to save the world, almost everyone else in the world – including Maya — is dead. And even the new beautiful, heaven-like "perfect world" for winged, gilled mutants is a bleak wasteland full of nuclear fallout and dangerous monsters, and many characters are Killed Off for Real. On the plus side: with Nudge, Gazzy and Iggy revealed to be alive – most of the Flock has survived and Max and Fang are back together.
  • Black-Hole Belly: Star, and how!
  • Blind Seer: Iggy lost his sight to evil scientists when he was young. This doesn't stop him from being able to hear acutely, tell members of his Flock apart by touch or footstep, fly, fight, cook, pick locks, and build various explosives. His blindness may also have contributed to his skill of sensing colors by touch.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: The series has a house that rates "on a scale from 1 to 10—an easy 15".
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': In The Angel Experiment, the Flock spend a night in New York sleeping in trees. They wake up the next morning with the police calling for them that what they're doing is illegal and to get down right now so they can have their parents called. Gazzy wonders who even looks up trees and Max comments "like there aren't worse problems going on than a bunch of kids sleeping in a tree".
  • Catapult Nightmare: In the manga version, Max has this in the beginning, after her nightmare about Erasers.
  • Character Blog: Fang has a blog. Its original location is here, and that's the URL that's given in the books.
  • Character Title:
    • Fang
    • Angel
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Angel's ability to breath underwater turns out to be really useful in the fifth book.
    • It proves even more useful for Max in the final book.
  • Clip Its Wings: Happens a lot in the series, because the main characters have wings and keep getting into trouble.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation:
  • Contrived Coincidence: Used egregiously with reckless abandon in the YA series.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: The MegaCorp Itex is secretly running a laboratory of Mad Scientists that specializes in animal-human gene-splicing experiments.
  • Corruption of a Minor: Jeb teaches the flock how to do illegal things like hot wire a car. Justified/Subverted in that they needed to know that stuff to survive.
  • A Crack in the Ice: This happens in the fourth book.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: Ter Borcht has "pale, watery blue eyes"...and repeatedly states that the flock are overdue to be terminated.
  • Creepy Child: Angel is an angelic-looking child...except that she possesses psychic powers that she can and will use on anybody. A slightly less creepy example is in The Angel Experiment when she "asks" a woman to buy an overpriced stuffed bear for her, but by Saving The World And Other Extreme Sports she has taken a level in badass and mentally commands all the mutants at Itex to kill the evil doctors. Scary stuff indeed.
  • Cuckoo Nest: In Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports, scientists try to convince Max that their escape was a dream, and that they were at the School the whole time. It's not true.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Max, Fang, Nudge, Dr. Martinez, Ella, and probably even more.
    • 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 the manga adaption, and almost all cover art for the books, she is solidly a blond, however.
  • Cult: The Doomsday Group. With love and caring.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Fang gives this exact explanation to a runaway MIT graduate after he's made the victim of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by Ari.
  • Daydream Believer: Runs rampant on the official forums for the series. Aside from the people who insist the books are true accounts by real people, there are several who claim to be similar Phlebotinum Rebels, although it's unclear whether they actually believe that part or if they're just roleplaying.
  • Deadly Euphemism:
    • The School "retires" those creations which have outlived their usefulness. Max, being Max, lampshades it.
    • In an odd example, the term "expired" is more than just a euphemism: experiments have literal expiration dates.
  • Deadpan Snarker: One of the many reasons why it's so amusing reading a series written through the eyes of a cynical teenage girl.
    • Iggy could also qualify as one.
      • Though he gets noticeably less snarky later on in the series.
    • Fang is at some points, as well.
  • Death Faked for You: In Maximum Ride Forever, multiple characters die, but it is eventually revealed to be a ploy by Dylan and Angel.
  • Death Glare: Pretty much every member of The Flock has one, with Max's being particularly powerful, at times even working on Fang, Erasers and grown men.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The fifth book, MAX: A Maximum Ride Novel. Later Justified because subsequent volumes sport such titles as FANG: A Maximum Ride Novel and ANGEL: A Maximum Ride Novel.
  • Did the Earth Move for You?: While Max is kissing her love interest and the world begins exploding around them, she excitedly assumes "Lights! World shifting! The magazines were right!" Unfortunately, it was really another attack by the "Dumb-bots".
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: The Krelp, enormous sea cucumber-like things the size of planes, which are actually pretty beneficial to the heroes.
  • Dramatic Chase Opening: The Angel Experiment opens this way, with Max getting chased by Erasers (half-wolf, super-strong men). Turns out its All Just a Dream.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Narrator Max drives a van into a sedan at 60 mph the second time she gets behind a wheel — with her family, including an eight-year-old, aboard. To be fair, she was attempting to teach herself how to drive. It just didn't turn out well.
    Nudge: I didn't know a van could go up on two wheels like that. For so long.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The entire series is based on an earlier two-book series written by Patterson, consisting of When the Wind Blows and The Lake House. Naturally, the differences between the two are highly noticeable:
    • Most of the Flock as we know them doesn't exist. While Max is still present in the earlier series, the rest of the group there consists of Max's biological brother Matthew, a boy named Ozymandias/"Oz" who serves as Max's Love Interest, Icarus (who seems to be a proto-Iggy, considering his blindness), and Peter and Wendy, twins of Asian descent. They're also younger than the Flock, with Max (the oldest) being twelve instead of fourteen.
    • The group is assisted (and later adopted) by the veterinarian Frannie O'Neill and the FBI agent Kit Brennan, neither of whom exist in the later series (though Dr. Martinez could be an expy of Dr. O'Neill).
    • Both the bird kids and the proto-School are made public by the end of When the Wind Blows.
    • In Maximum Ride, the search for the Flock's parents was ultimately Left Hanging for the most part. In When the Wind Blows, the kids actually find their blood parents, but willingly leave them in The Lake House.
    • Dr. Jeb Batchelder, Ari, and the Erasers didn't exist in the original series. Jeb's role as the bird kids' handler is seemingly taken by the far crueler Harding Thomas.
    • Interestingly, both series end roughly the same way: Max is with the children/child she had with Oz/Fang, thinking about teaching them/her to fly.
  • Electronic Eyes: This is how Iggy was blinded—the Mad Scientists at the School were trying to surgically enhance his night vision and massively screwed up.
  • Enfant Terrible: Angel, who has a very innocent appearance.....but can read and influence minds, and can communicate with fish...but mostly sharks. She also tries to take over the flock from time to time.
  • Escaped from the Lab: The six main characters spend the novels running from the government project that created them.
  • Evil Cripple: Gozen and the Uber-Director. Gozen is built partly from cybernetic parts and has a screwed-up arm, and the Uber-Director is just a head attached to a series of Plexiglas boxes containing his organs.
  • Evil Twin: Max 2 (Renamed Maya in ANGEL) for Max.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: In the first book/second volume of the manga, the Flock gets new hairstyles in order to better disguise themselves. Only two of these hairstyles end up sticking: Fang's (going from long hair tied into a ponytail to chin-length hair with the bangs covering one of his eyes) and Nudge's (going from messy curls to straight hair with a skunk stripe).
  • Expy
  • Eye Scream: In Nevermore, Angel (and the readers) are shown a video of an attempt at improving night vision years ago. The test subject is Iggy. In case you were wondering, he was awake the entire time. And then the scientists do it on Angel.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Possibly: Jeb and Dr. Martinez after they're believed to be involved with the Doomsday Group. Poor Max...
    • Both Jeb and a cloned Ari have Jumped Off The Slippery Slope in the final novel.
  • Facial Profiling: The manga features Nudge with very large lips that on occasion look way too big for her face, and (oddly enough) white fingernails.
  • Fake Defector
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Jeb Batchelder is Max's biological father as well as her guardian, and Dr. Martinez is her biological mother.
  • Fartillery: The (aptly-named) Gasman, a.k.a. Gazzy. Not only can they incapacitate foes with their smell, they're toxic green.
    Max: His name is "the Gasman"; we're not just whistling Dixie here.
  • Financial Abuse: Gazzy was sold to the School for 10,000 dollars.
  • Flanderization: All of the Flock suffer this. In The Angel Experiment at least they were a bit more realistic and believable.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Max has 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 successes of late.
  • Flight, Strength, Heart:
    • Angel has Super Strength, Flight, Telepathy, borderline Mind Control, and...can talk to fish.
    • Nudge can sense stuff about people through what they've touched (important — she can guess any computer password), and she's magnetic (not so important — they play with it on a plane for a while, then it's promptly forgotten).
  • Funetik Aksent: Done badly. Roland ter Borcht speaks in a clichéd, thick German accent - to the point where some fans have mistaken it for a French accent.
  • Gangsterland: Fang, Iggy, and Gazzy visit California. They meet a street gang there called "The Ghosts" who offer them a safe house. Said gang also helps them out by scaring a hot dog vendor into giving free hot dogs to the mini-Flock and helps them fight the Flyboys.
  • Gender-Blender Name: You'd be surprised by how many people think Max is a dude.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Max and her friends are all bird-human hybrids, complete with wings. The laboratory that created them specializes in animal-human hybrids.
  • Geek Physiques: ter Borcht being the second type, and Jeb possibly the first type.
  • Government Conspiracy
  • Green Aesop: The Final Warning was entirely about global warming. The characters went as far as to suddenly shout out why global warming was bad for the environment even when their lives were on the line, and later joined a group that promotes saving the environment.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Max is jealous of Brigid, or as she calls her, the Red Haired Wonder. She doesn't like how she gives attention to Fang.
  • Handicapped Badass: Iggy, a guy who's completely lost his sight. Does he let it slow him down? Nope! In fact, despite not being able to see, his hobby is building bombs. Which he then hides on his person and throws at people he doesn't like. That's what he does for fun. The flock is constantly being attacked by various robots and mutants designed to kill them. Iggy has no trouble holding his own in the many battles and does just as well as the rest of the flock. He is not amused when Max won't let him go on a mission because he's blind. He proceeds to build an intricate system of traps and bombs to defend the house and blows the entire area up when it's attacked. Then goes and joins the mission. Plus, he knows how to cook, in contrast to de facto leader Max.
  • Hassle-Free Hotwire: The kids are all able to hotwire cars with ease, thanks to training their sort-of adopted sort-of dad, Jeb, gives them. While Max tells the readers that it works nothing like how it's shown on TV, she refuses to go into specifics for fear of inspiring a bunch of readers to steal cars.
  • Hearing Voices: A ??? example. Max has a "Voice"... which comes from a chip in her arm... except not... except her whole adventure was a dream... except not... except the "Voice" is Jeb... sorta... except not.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door:
    • Jeb Batchelder. Went from Mad Scientist to helpful parental figure back to mad scientist, and he's been attempting to play the father figure again lately. Although another possibility is that he's been good the whole time and that his daughter Max refuses to let go of her hatred and accept that.
    • For the last couple of books Angel has become this.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Ari becomes good after breaking the Flock out of The School in Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports. Sadly, not long after this, he expires and dies. The Flock and Jeb hold a funeral for him.
    • Also Maya/Max 2. she starts out as an evil clone and later becomes a part of Fang's Gang.
  • High School AU: The number of these is disturbingly high. But that's kind of the point of School's Out — Forever.
  • Hydra Problem: The Voice says that Itex works this way.
  • Idiot Ball: The villains in School's Out — Forever. 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.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • Nudge. In fact, in Max, she so desperately wants to go to a "normal" school, that she's willing to cut her own wings off. She doesn't, though, because Max lets her go. After a while, she comes back, wings and all.
    • Max herself is pretty desperate, hence why she is so attached to Dr. Martinez and Ella (the only two people besides Jeb and the Flock to act like an actual family to her. She also is desperate enough to move closer to "normal" at one point that she tries to hack a chip in her arm out with a jagged piece of sea shell and nearly bled to death.
  • I'll Kill You!: Max says this to Angel after the two have a chat about how beautiful the leader is: "Now go to bed, before I kill you!"
  • Impostor Forgot One Detail: The clone meant to replace Max has little knowledge of the flock, which means she doesn't know that Iggy is the Team Chef despite being blind, while she is supposed to be a terrible cook. Her cover is blown by the fact that six-year-old Angel is a mind reader, and was never fooled in the first place.
  • Informed Ability: Fang is supposed to be silent and expressionless. He's described as a "brick wall" multiple times. However, he is no less talkative than the other characters, and expresses emotion normally most of the time. In the few cases he doesn't, the narrator doesn't fail to point it out.
  • Intoxication Ensues:
    • Max on Valium. She has to get drugged up to get rid of the chip in her arm. Hilarity Ensues.
    "I love you! I love you sooo much!!!"
  • Issue Drift: The Final Warning was essentially a 272 page Author Filibuster about global warming.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: In The Angel Experiment, Angel is very upset when the scientists experimenting on her continue to refer to her as "it".
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Fang can make himself blend in so much that people have to focus really hard to notice him.
  • 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: 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.
  • Justified Criminal: The main characters often steal in order to survive and to get to where they need to go including stealing a van and somebody's ATM card and PIN.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Max. She's normally a calm and easy-going person. However, she treats the flock like her own brothers and sisters. If you're foolish enough to threaten one of them, you're gonna regret it.
  • Kudzu Plot: The series suffers heavily from this, especially in the later books. Pretty close to everything in the entire series is still unresolved, and each book creates more mysteries at a furious pace. It would be a lot easier to list what actually has been resolved, or at least handwaved.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: Total says this in MAX, before walking away with Akila.
    Total: Gotta go. Timmy's in the well. If you know what I mean.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: In The Angel Experiment, Max and her flock are at a zoo, trying to escape the Erasers after them. Max has a headache, but swaps it out for "an overwhelming desire to set these animals free" when talking to Fang.
  • LEGO Genetics: The main characters are human-avian hybrids. Through years of genetic experimentation, they received powers specific to each character (such as mind reading for the resident Enfant Terrible) and in later installments would undergo random mutations that would give them powers that would conveniently tie into the story's plot and quite a few that don't.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Max, at least, insists to everyone that's what she and Fang are. Riiiiiiiight.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: As a heroic example, the series give us "The Gasman," or "Gazzy" for short, who in later books gains the ability to incapacitate enemies with his super-farts.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: In Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports, Max is horrified to learn that the Director and leader of Itex is her mother. Later, Jeb informs her that this is a lie and he is her real father and Dr. Martinez is her real mother. She takes this revelation much better, though is just as shocked.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: The Director of Itex claims that she is Max's mother. Turns out that the Director is only the one who designed Max, and that Dr. Martinez is Max's actual mother. Jeb Batchelder, a mole, turns out to be Max's father.
  • Mad Scientist: Most of the villains. Often hilariously overdone, as with ter Borcht, who is a thinly disguised Expy of Josef Mengele in personality, Arnold Schwarzenegger in voice/outrageous accent.
  • Magic Genetics: The series has children who are "genetically engineered" to have wings. And occasionally other New Powers as the Plot Demands. Weirdly, it is implied that the early powers that they spontaneously develop were also engineered into them, to help them fulfill their purpose to "save the world" or whatever. In The Final Warning though, Jeb comments that they seemed to be randomly mutating and developing powers on their own, which first manifests with Nudge getting magnetic control.
  • The Man Behind the Man: To the second or third power.
  • Master of Unlocking: Iggy. Was self-taught and the only one shown to know how to pick locks. Plus he's blind.
  • MegaCorp: Itex, the company behind the genetic experimentation and apparently owns around half the world's products.
  • 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.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • The main characters are six kids with wings and were all created by lab experiments and claim to be only 2% bird. All of the members of the "Flock" also have powers not related to birds at all, with the possible exception of Max with her super speed. Apparently she's part falcon.
    • Even if you don't count the human/avian and human/lupine hybrids, there are still the Krelp. Not to mention some... interesting creatures given rather more detail in the "manga" version.
  • MST: The series has several; such as one on Soulish Exhortations, one on ImpishIdea and one on Das Sporking.
  • Mugging the Monster: Max takes a stand to protect a girl being threatened by several bigger boys, one of whom is carrying a gun. Max is a genetically engineered hybrid with superhuman strength and agility and has been trained for some time how to use it. The boys basically tell her to bugger off. Cue the buttkicking. Turns out to be a minor example as she gets winged (literally), but the kids don't know what hit them.
  • Mundanger: The Flock face off against genetically engineered werewolves and other mutant threats. In The Final Warning, a huge source of danger is Angel falling down a chasm in the Arctic and then nearly dying, along with Max and Total, in a blizzard.
  • Names to Run Away From:
    • Fang.
    • Soulless superhuman Omega from Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: "Holy (insert swear word of your choice here)."
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: The series has this from Jeb Batchelder to his son Ari when Ari dies at seven. Jeb is about two minutes too late to apologize to his son for all the bad things that have happened to him. Cue Jeb cradling his son in his arms and repeating "I'm so sorry" until Max, as usual, interrupts...
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The whole Flock in The Final Warning, and Angel throughout the series. All of the flock get this throughout the series, it was just not until that point that James Patterson threw up his hands and decided that they were uncontrollably mutating which would cause them to develop random, unplanned powers.
  • No Name Given: The 'flock' is only referred to by nicknames. Even Max- the only average name- is an alias, being short for "Maximum". Nudge and Iggy both have their first names revealed, but Max, Fang, Angel and Gasman never state theirs.
  • One-Word Title:
    • MAX
    • Fang
    • Angel
    • Nevermore
  • Only One Name: Maximum Ride is the only human-avian to have a surname in The Angel Experiment. In School's Out — Forever, Iggy finds his family and consequently, a last name but he abandons them because they want to sell his story.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: A clone of Max tries to take her place. The kids realize something is up when she offers to cook (as Max is a Lethal Chef and leaves the cooking to Iggy), and when she expresses surprise that Iggy would know his way around considering that he's blind. Of course, Angel can read minds, too, which the clone has no clue of, so she knew right away.
  • Pac-Man Fever: In School's Out — Forever, Ari goes shopping and finds a flash-new Game Boy display, then proceeds to steal one. The book was released in 2006 (and suggested to be set in the fall of 2005), by which time the DS would have long since replaced the Game Boy as the hot new thing in portable gaming. The manga adaptation changes it to a Bland-Name Product.
  • Parental Favoritism: Jeb clearly favors his foster children (the Flock) over his six-year-old biological son Ari, to the point at which he leaves Ari in an underground lab filled with unethical scientists who unsurprisingly have no problem experimenting on the poor kid. Because of this, Ari understandably resents the Flock for this (especially Max) and tries constantly to gain his father's favor. Then the parental favoritism becomes literal when it turns out that Max and Ari are half siblings. Of course, it's a bit blurry as to whether he genuinely loved them or was just another in a long line of people trying to use the Flock to their advantage. The fact that he doesn't shut up about how they have to save the world might be an indicator.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel
  • Playing with Syringes: Max, her family, her clone, her nemesis, her half-brother, the mooks of the series and a surprising amount of other people are the victims of genetic engineering.
  • Plot Hole:
    • In The Angel Experiment, we discover that the Flock had parents, and Iggy's mom died, but his dad is alive. Fast-forward to School's Out — Forever, 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...
      • 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.
    • 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.
      • 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...
    • Fang:
      • The book starts 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.
      • 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.)
  • Protagonist Title:
    • MAX, as it's short for Maximum.
  • Psychic Children: The youngest member of the group (Angel, at only six) can read minds, often by accident. Later, she also gains the abilities of breathing underwater and mind control.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Max likes doing this a lot.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Fang lets Angel keep Total when she gives him "the bambi eyes."
  • 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.
  • Pursued Protagonist: The Angel Experiment opens with Max being pursued by bloodthirsty wolfmen called Erasers. It turns out to be a dream, but also a good indication of her life and the events to come.
  • Raised in a Lab: The series is about a group of winged kids who were experimented upon as infants (thus the wings) and raised in a lab, and have since escaped.
  • Random Events Plot: The entire series, although it only really becomes noticeable during the third book, Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports. At least one or two new plot developments comes up every chapter, and without fail are never explained, elaborated, or even mentioned again.
  • Required Secondary Powers: The eponymous winged girl and her friends were genetically engineered so as to have these necessary powers, so to speak. They do have birdlike bones, and are definitely Big Eaters. They also happen to be super strong because their wing muscles had to be built using a more efficient chemistry than human muscle to make them strong enough to lift a human-sized body without a heavy load of muscle mass, and as long as you're doing the wings, hey why not buff the whole body as well.
  • Roundhouse Kick: A common move, especially in the first book.
  • Rule of Cool: Much like James Patterson's other young adult novels, the series has a tendency to favor this over actual logic. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
  • Sailor Earth: The majority of fanfics and RPs features a new mutant or group of mutants that has broken out of a lab. The former always joins up with Max's or Fang's flock and the latter usually becomes their own.
  • Science Is Bad: No scientist character is ever good and nothing science ever accomplishes is ever for the good.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family
  • Self-Harm: School's Out - Forever has a couple of scenes where Ari bites his arm to make himself feel better about his daddy issues (among other issues). Max goes through a crazed attempt with a sea shell to try and get rid of the chip in her arm.
  • Series Continuity Error: In the seventh book of the series - Angel, 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 - Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports, they were having a civilized conversation.
  • Shout-Out: One of the chapters in Max is called We all Live in a Deadly Submarine
  • 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.
  • Spot the Imposter: Subverted. After the situation is set up, the imposter is instantly identified by Angel, who points out "I can read minds, you moron."
  • Spotting the Thread: Max's clone might have been a more successful replacement if she had known that the blind guy was the Team Chef, but given that the flock's youngest member is a freakin' mind reader the chances are slim.
  • Stern Chase: Max and the rest of her Flock are on the run due to the threat of capture, experimentation, torture, being used as weapons or simply imminent death at the hands of anyone connected to the School, the Institute, Itexicon or Itex.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: When the School captures them, Max and her flock are strapped to tilted tables.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Iggy and Gazzy are the resident pyros, and enjoy invoking this — whether it's Erasers or buildings.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: It is implied in the third book of the young adult series that the evil scientists who created the protagonists are actually Nazis.
  • Sue Donym: When Fang is taken to the hospital Max begins to say his name but quickly ends with "Nick". Iggy later calls Fang "Fnick".
  • Superpower Lottery: While most of the flock have some sort of minor superpower as a result of their mutations, Angel can read (and control) minds, speak with fish, and change her appearance. Plus she is the Voice in Max's head. Angel is only seven at the end of the series.
  • Tastes Like Purple: In The Final Warning, Iggy unexpectedly develops the ability to "feel" colors with 100% accuracy.
    "I still can't see squat. No vision. Nothing...But this cup is blue."
  • Taught by Television: The Angel Experiment explains how the protagonists can function normally in a human society after spending their childhood being treated like animals - to the point of sleeping in dog crates - by... saying that they watched a lot of TV in the two years since they escaped the laboratory where they were imprisoned.
  • Team Mom: Max has to constantly take care of the Flock.
  • Technopath: Nudge eventually gains the power to hack computers by touching them.
  • They'd Cut You Up
  • Title Drop: Max in The Angel Experiment, when she tells Ella's mum her full name is Maximum Ride.
  • Tomboyish Name: Max Ride is a girl. But you sure wouldn't know it if you watched her fight...
  • Totally Radical: Used to a somewhat painful extent.
  • 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.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Max develops a near-obsession with chocolate chip cookies after having some home baked by Ella and her mom. To a point where she'll evaluate a cookie after eating it and is still trying to find some as good as the ones she had.
  • The Trap Parents: Iggy finds his real parents, and they actually are his real parents — but they don't care about him except as a cash cow, so he re-joins his True Companions anyway.
  • 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. Angel was supposed to be the next finale to the series, then the next book Nevermore was, and then Maximum Ride Forever was released.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Angel in FANG with the gun. Sure it's ANGEL, but...brr.
  • True Companions: The Flock is composed of six avian-human hybrids who are completely unrelated (except for Angel and the Gasman, who are brother and sister) but have formed their own sort of "family" because they have been living together practically since birth. However, it's revealed in Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports who Max's mother and father are, but she leaves them behind (with promises to visit frequently) because she and her Flock have to go save the world. However, this makes Max and Fang's relationship more than a little awkward. Max also states more than once in the books that the Flock are the only five people on the planet whom she trusts implicitly, and Fang seems to have his own even higher level of trustworthiness within that circle.
  • Unscientific Science: The gang have wings and other bird-like attributes, and Erasers are basically werewolves. This is explained by the fact that their DNA was altered. Apparently, there is one specific gene for bird wings (which there actually isn't), and there's a gene that allows humans to… transform into werewolves?
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: 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.
    • The fact that Iggy is blind.
    • AND in case anyone forgot what Dylan looked like, James Patterson jams in his perfect features in the form of purple prose.
    • The amount of times that the Flock are birdkids is mentioned...
  • Voice Changeling: One of the Gasman's skills is the ability to mimic any sound.
  • Walking Spoiler: Phoenix, who only appears in the epilogue of the last book, but is mentioned beforehand. She's Max and Fang's four-year-old daughter.
  • We Have the Keys: In The Angel Experiment, Max and company steal a van to get to the School. After hotwiring it, taking it for a joyride on the interstate, and proceeding to scare the living crap out of everyone except Iggy, Max slams on the brakes and a compartment pops open. Something falls into her lap. She's afraid it's a bomb... nope, just the keys.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Jeb's son Ari becomes this in School's Out — Forever, hanging out with the copycat Max to make Jeb mad, and also coming up with a plan to take Max for his own. The plan eventually gets Jeb to notice him, which makes him happy enough to go out and steal a Game Boy. So...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • In The Angel Experiment, the main characters (who are winged humans, part bird, part human, created by some Mad Scientists) have gone years without seeing another genetic experiment like them. When they get to a secret facility in New York, they find several experiments caged up. Naturally, they set them free. You'd think they'd want to talk to them or interact with them, maybe help them find a safe place, but it never goes anywhere. Over 5 books later, said experiments don't even get a passing mention, they're never thought of again, so it's a plot thread that went nowhere and contributed nothing to the story.
    • School’s Out — Forever, 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.
    • Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports:
      • The book has an entire facility full of successful experiments, including clones of Max (introduced in the book prior and herself having fallen into this trope until that point), Nudge, and Angel. It's never revealed what happened to the experiments after the facility is captured, and again the group never thinks anything of it.
      • Fang starts a worldwide revolution via the children that read his blog. You'd think that something like that would get a mention in the next book, but it might as well have not happened for all the aftermath there was.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: While some members of the flock are developing awesome super powers such as super speed or mind control, Iggy gets the ability to feel color and see if everything is white, Fang has invisibility that only works if he is standing still and Nudge becomes magnetic.
  • Winged Humanoid: The "bird kids" including the title character, Max, are said to be the results of what happens when one splices hawk DNA into orphaned human children. In the manga, the bird kids' wings disappear and reappear whenever they need to.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Ari was born a sweet, innocent child, but he grew up in the shadow of his half-sister, Max. He was turned into a Wolf Man by scientists, and was subject to constant genetic enhancements afterward, eventually becoming a hideous freak. In the end, though, he gets a Heel–Face Turn—but too late.
  • Writer on Board: The fourth book - The Final Warning abruptly switches to a clumsy Aesop about Global Warming, completely ignoring whatever semblance of a plot and characterization the previous books had. Among other things, the Big Bad is defeated by a random hurricane, which is explicitly linked to Global Warming.
  • You Killed My Father:
    Jeb: You killed your own brother!!
  • Younger Than They Look:
    • Nudge. Angel even wonders if a boy looking at her in Fang that's around sixteen knows that Nudge is only twelve.
    • Dylan 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.
    • In the manga, Max looks like she's in her late twenties.

Alternative Title(s): The Final Warning, Saving The World And Other Extreme Sports, The Angel Experiment, Nevermore, Schools Out Forever, Max, Maximum Ride Forever