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Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

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Plot Summary

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

James Patterson

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2005

Plot Summary

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment Summary opens with the main character, Maximum “Max” Ride, running from a group of Erasers. We will later learn that Max is fourteen years old, and the Erasers are wolf/human hybrids.

She runs through a dimly lit forest, toward what she believes is a clearing. Instead, Max runs to the edge of a cliff, briefly stops, and then jumps off. Instead of falling, she snaps out her wings and heads west, flying away as the Erasers shoot at her.

She wakes abruptly, realizing the chase was just a dream. She inspects her nightgown for bullet holes and then collapses back into bed. She hates that dream, but always manages to wake up before she dies inside it.

Max leaves her bedroom and makes her way through the halls of the house to the kitchen. She lives here with several other teenagers who, just like her, are human/avian hybrids. Each of them has abilities and traits because of their hybridity, and together, they are called the Flock. They all attend the School, a shady institution made up of the scientists who have conducted the experiments to create the hybrids.

As Max looks for something to eat, Gazzy arrives. He’s the youngest member of the Flock, and has received his nickname due to his tendency to break wind. They great each other cheerfully, and when Gazzy asks what is for breakfast, Max tells him it is a surprise. Then Iggy arrives, plopping himself onto the couch; he is about the same age as Max. Another boy, Fang, enters and sneaks up behind Max. Max tells him to stop messing around, and then heads to wake the remaining members of the Flock, Nudge and Angel. Nudge is an eleven-year-old African-American girl, and Angel, a girl who is the youngest member of the Flock.

During breakfast, Angel announces that she wants to go out and pick strawberries. They all do, and during their picking, Erasers arrive and kidnap Angel. During the fight, Max is pinned down by two Erasers. A third slams Max into the ground, remarking that it looks like Max has grown. Though she does not recognize him at first, Max realizes this is Ari, the son of the School’s founder Jeb Batchelder. The Flock tries to rescue Angel, but Ari holds a gun to Max’s head. The Erasers escape with Angel in a helicopter.

The Flock decides to make a plan to rescue Angel. They rummage through some of Ari’s old files and learn that the School’s headquarters is in Death Valley. Max, Nudge, and Fang will go to the school, while the others stay at the house.

The three fly toward the School, and stop along the way to rest in an abandoned cottage where they accidentally fall asleep. Max is upset about all the time they have lost. While flying over Arizona, the trio observes a girl being bullied. Max decides to help the girl, and directs the others to meet her at Lake Mead.

Max swoops down to help the girl, who we learn is named Ella. While defending Ella, Max is shot in the shoulder. Max wonders around until she finds Ella’s house, and Ella’s mother, Dr. Martinez. Dr. Martinez patches up Max’s injury, and seems trustworthy when she discovers Max’s wings.

Fang and Nudge hide in a cave at Lake Mead while they study the flight patterns of nearby hawks; back at the House, the remaining members of the Flock are upset that they were left behind. They begin making traps and bombs. It is a good thing, too, because the Erasers arrive the next morning and fall into one of the traps. Iggy and Gazzy escape, but blow up the House in the process.

Fang and Nudge look for food. They are ambushed by more Erasers, who taunt the pair and lie, saying that Iggy and Gazzy are dead. They scuffle, but Fang and Nudge win, using spray paint as weapons. At the end of the fight, Ari is left with green hair.

Dr. Martinez takes Max to her veterinary practice for an x-ray, and while there, they are attacked by Erasers. The doctor hides Max, and seems unfazed by the Erasers’ presence. The x-ray reveals that Max has a computer chip in her arm, but it cannot be safely removed.

Max spends another evening with Ella and her mom, while Gazzy and Iggy find Fang and Nudge at Lake Mead. Max rejoins them the next morning, and the Flock is together once again.

At the School, Angel is being severely mistreated and subjected to a string of brutal experiments. She learns that Jeb, Ari’s father, is alive, and working for the School.

The free members of the Flock observe a man using an ATM at a strip mall. Ari and the Erasers arrive and scare the man off, and the Flock withdraws money using the man’s account.

The Erasers later find them while they are eating. The Flock makes its escape in a stolen van, but Max crashes it. The Erasers capture Max, Fang, and Nudge, but the others escape. The captured members of the Flock are taken to the School, where Jeb tells Max that she is destined for something much more important.

A little while later, they stage an escape, and Iggy and Gazzy return with the hawks from Lake Mead. The Flock stays in the caves there for a while, then begins traveling around. During this time, Max begins hearing the Voice inside her head.

Angel tells the Flock that she learned about their real parents during her capture. They decide to go to the Institute of Higher Living in New York to find out more. They sleep in the trees of Central Park, do research at the library, and generally try to lie low. They eventually find some tunnels in which to hide.

Max begins to hear the Voice even more, and it directs them to a large toy store where a talking board directs Max to save the world. They are attacked again by the Erasers, but escape, and find another bankcard which they use to withdraw money. They visit a fancy restaurant but attract suspicion when they order large amounts of food. They dash out of the restaurant where they are once again confronted by Ari and the Erasers. Then, Angel manifests the psychic ability to make people do things. The Erasers leave.

The Flock hides, sleeping at a construction site. At one point, while swimming, Max develops gills. The Erasers return, and in the fight, badly injure Fang. Jeb arrives and orders the Erasers to release the Flock; Max kisses Fang.

The Flock go back to the city, and while underground, they are led through the sewer system by a map in Max’s head, finding their way to the Institute. At the Institute they find more experiments, and free them, fighting off Erasers as they do. The other experiments leave, but Angel keeps a dog she names Total. Based upon information they find, the Flock decides to travel to Washington, DC, and the book ends.

While this is primarily an action-adventure novel, the theme of family plays heavily on its plot. The Flock has formed a new family, brought together by the evil machinations of the School. The older kids take on parental roles toward the younger kids, and they each provide the type of support a family normally provides.

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