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MAX: Maximum Ride, Book 5    by James Patterson order for
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

MAX is the fifth in James Patterson's bestselling series starring Maximum Ride and her genetically modified (98 percent human, 2 percent bird), unusually talented flock of varying ages - Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman, and the youngest, six-year-old, telepathic Angel. They're accompanied by talking dog Total, whose ad libs add to the series humor.

In The Final Warning, the avian kids took on global warming in Antarctica, and foiled the nefarious plans of an evil Uber-Director. Fang's and Max's relationship heated up, spiced by Max's jealousy over Fang's admiration for young scientist Dr. Brigid Dwyer (a theme that continues in this episode as does Total's crush on lovely canine Akila).

As MAX opens, the flock is performing in one of a series of air shows organized Max's mom, Dr. Valencia Martinez, to help get out the message of the Coalition to Stop the Madness (a group of scientists trying to raise public awareness of pollution, greenhouse gases etc.). Naturally (at least it seems the norm in the bird kids' lives) they're interrupted by a sniper, who fortunately misses Max.

After Max is kidnapped and threatened by the cyborg minions of a new criminal mastermind, Mr. Chu, a Flock mutiny forces her to try yet another school (this time in Utah). This brief respite is interrupted by a kidnapping that takes the young mutants into the ocean depths (in a submarine off the coast of Hawaii where unusual numbers of fish have been dying).

Events - and Flock members themselves - take a fishy turn after they discover that the Chu Corporation has been dumping dangerous wastes in the ocean. Helped by sea monsters, Max rescues her mom and saves the day once more - only to be warned by her Voice about someone close to them, a development that will leave fans anxious for more of Max's adventures.

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