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The Final Warning: Maximum Ride The Protectors    by James Patterson order for
Final Warning
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2008 (2008)
Softcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Final Warning, fourth in the Maximum Ride series and first in The Protectors sequence, is the best so far. It begins with a bang (a failed attempt by an evil Uber-Director to trap the avian kids) and continues with Patterson's usual mix of fast-paced action, sudden attacks on the Flock, and banter amongst this closeknit self-made family of 'six homeless mutants'. In between events, readers get to share Fang's blogs with the rest of the world.

Still trying to come to terms with the death of Max's half-brother Ari, the Flock (Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman and Angel, along with talking dog Total) head to Washington where Max's parents, Jeb and Dr. Martinez, have set up a meeting with 'very important higher-ups in the government' who consider the kids a natural resource. Of course, officialdom doesn't get the Flock and Max quickly sets them straight. After an explosive pizza makes a new refuge a priority, the Voice in Max's head sends the Flock on a science trip - to Antarctica, to rescue the world!

As they head south and the temperature drops, Fang's and Max's relationship heats up, along with her jealousy over his admiration for a hot young scientist. While the Flock cruises - and learns a little along the way - the nasty Uber-Director prepares to auction them to the highest bidder. Will he succeed? Fortunately they're mutating on their own (including Total) and developing new talents.

Surely Antarctica should be remote enough for safety? Not so. There's a traitor in their midst, Angel's fascination with baby penguins gets her into deep trouble, and the flying kids are kidnapped yet again. After Max (barely) leads them out of danger, she takes on her most daunting challenge yet - Max makes a speech about global warming, saying that 'America looks like a fatheaded, short-sighted, gas-guzzling, arrogant blowhard to the rest of the world' and should 'ratify the Kyoto treaty.'

Who knew that saving the world could be so much fun? At the back of this episode is a sneak preview of the next book, Waterwings, as well as excerpts from the new Maximum Ride manga series and from the Daniel X Alien Hunter graphic novel. Don't miss The Final Warning!

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