Today, the series is better known for the comic adaptation by Na Rae Lee than for the novels themselves.
The series is actually based on an earlier two-book series by the same author, When The Wind Blows and The Lake House. Naturally, far more people know about Maximum Ride, especially since the two series barely resemble each other.
Angst? What Angst?: Jeb Batchelder has every reason to angst — his son dies, twice, once practically in his arms, his daughter would gladly kill him if given the chance, and he regularly gets slapped around by his superiors — and yet he never says a word. He does get really upset during both of the times when Ari dies and it was mentioned that the clone of Max makes him very upset.
Anvilicious: The Final Warning, the fourth book in the series. The entire thing is about how Max needs to save the world by preventing global warming, and it focuses on that to the point where it doesn't even bother to give details on the villain. The book ends with Max making a speech to congress about global warming. Book five, Max focuses on pollution, though it's not as bad as the fourth.
When the kids develop all kinds of new powers in The Final Warning, there's no proper explanation for why they've got those kinds of powers in particular, or for why they all got the new powers at roughly the same time even though they're of different ages.
Angel reveals in Nevermore that she is the Voice. Despite the fact that the Voice knew things she didn't or shouldn't have known.
Broken Base: When The Final Warning came out, it divided the fanbase. Some really liked it, but others were driven completely up the wall at the plot shift from "bird kids running from Mad Scientists and wolf monsters" to "bird kids save the world from global warming".
Canon Fodder: The series frequently wanders off and leaves plot threads hanging — unfortunately, most of the fandom focuses on Fang/Max shipping and won't even touch the missing mad scientists, Max's past in the School, Jeb's true motives...
Cliché Storm: From the evil twin and the stereotyped characters to the boy drama this series uses almost every Young Adult fiction cliché known.
The Chris Carter Effect: The series suffers heavily from this, though it doesn't really become apparent until Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports. As what was intended as the final book of a trilogy, you'd expect it to finally start resolving plot arcs, but instead it just keeps throwing in wackier and wackier twists while deliberately avoiding answering any questions.
The tough, streetwise, boot-wearing Action Girl. She's the main character and the first one we meet. Her on-and-off Love Interest is a charming, clever, mysterious badass who sometimes separates from her and does his own thing but is always there for her in the end.
The Smart Guy, a chill, laid-back scientific expert who has a chronic disability from back in the lab. This character has a somewhat more childish and comical friend who is nonetheless a skilled expert and an invaluable ally.
The Fashionista, who is talkative and seemingly ditzy but also surprisingly perceptive. She appears to have a happy life but is actually lonely and just wants to fit in.
The Cute and Psycho blonde. She has a childlike personality and outlook but often seems off her rocker and can be terrifyingly vicious if you piss her off. She also shares a mysterious connection with the main character.
The sassy guy with dark hair. Technically, he's not one of them, but they consider him an honorary member of the group.
Other characters in the same series include:
A fatherly figure who helped design the main characters but ended up defecting from the scientific institute when he saw how unethical it was.
The main character's adoptive mother figure, who turns out to be more closely related to her than she knew.
The main character's biological brother. Initially, he appears insane and dangerous and works for the scientists who created the heroes. Later, he ends up doing a HeelFace Turn.
At least one cold, unpleasant Baroness figure who works as a scientist in the institute that designed the main characters.
Jerkass Woobie: Maya is Max's evil clone who tried to take over the Flock but everything that happened to her is quite sad. She was supposed to be the "superior" of the two but failed, her father figure keeps comparing her negatively to Max, and no one likes her. She joins Fang's new group under the name of "Maya" and, when Max finds out, she mocks her for trying to separate herself from Max. Maya finds love win Fang but Fang internally keeps comparing her to Max and how much better he prefers Max. And finally she dies and is immediately forgotten for the rest of the book.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Dylan was widely despised by the fandom for shunting Fang out of the way while proclaiming himself superior in every way (he wasn't) and for taking the books' infamous Romantic Plot Tumor up to previously unseen levels. A lot of fans felt he managed to redeem himself in the final book, however, when he realizes that Max will only love Fang and gives his life to revive Fang so he and Max can be together once more.
Romantic Plot Tumor: The series began life as a fairly decent kids' series, full of action and fighting stereotypical Mad Scientists. By book five, Max, the relationship between Max and Fang has become the entire focus of the (thin anyway) plot.
The Scrappy: Dylan. The Max/Fang shippers hate him because the series hyped him up as a better love interest for Max than Fang, and everyone else hates him because he was subjected to a high level of Character Shilling despite having a personality as flat as cardboard and his presence only made the Romantic Plot Tumor worse.
Roland suggesting that the underage Max and Dylan (who is really 8 months old) breed together. Not later when they're older, no they should do it right now. He even has a home set up for them already, not to mention how Jeb agrees with him. Thankfully Dr. Martinez goes Mama Bear on his ass.
People were disturbed by Maximum Ride Forever, when 15-year old Max reveals she's pregnant with Fang's baby.
The Gasman's flatulence, as well as the fact that he's actually named after it.
Strangled by the Red String: The series started out with just the gentlest of implied romance between the two main characters, focusing mainly on an intricate plot revolving around the mad scientists who created them. Then book four hit, the plot disappeared, and suddenly they were all over each other, all the time. The fandom was thrilled for the most part... except for those who realized that these two characters were, for all intents and purposes, brother and sister...
Strawman Has a Point: In The Final Warning, Max is furious that, after she and the Flock come to the government's attention, they would dare to try to put them in a boarding school. A few of their concerns — being told they would be studied to a certain extent, etc. — were valid, given their history. Several others not so much, especially when Max basically tells them "we've had it harder than you and we know better". It's kind of difficult to argue that they are properly prepared to move to civilian life when they decide to dive-bomb the Pentagon for amusement and then are surprised that there's retaliation.
Take That, Scrappy!: In Nevermore. Maya has her throat torn out by a cloned Ari, and Dylan goes berserk, terrorizes a city and tries to strangle Fang.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The experiments that the Flock frees in the first book could have easily made re-appearances later (especially the bird girl, who is implied to have become the leader of the group similar to Max), but they only appear once.
Viewer Gender Confusion: Max. Considering that the book is written entirely in first person and her gender-neutral name, it's no wonder. It's not clear at all that she's female until at least about fifty pages into The Angel Experiment, when she is finally referred to with a female pronoun.
Wangst: Max has genuine reasons to be upset, but she seems to make it absolutely clear to the reader that she hates everything.
Max having to struggle with saving the world and being betrayed by the people she loves the most.
Iggy. At first, being blinded by the mad scientists of Itex doesn't seem to faze him... until School's Out — Forever when he breaks down after the Flock's failure of not finding their parents when he confesses that if he would ever lose the Flock, he would lose himself. Then, after that, when he is finally reunited with his parents, it looks like they will accept him for who he is... until it turns out that they were planning to expose him to the world, basically gaining money from him and not even caring about what he thinks, forcing him to go back to the Flock. Poor kid.
For some, all the shit Ari's been through can really tugs on one's heartstrings. He's seven years old.