Summary (from Wikipedia):
The first book, The Angel Experiment, focuses around the rescue of Angel, the youngest member of the Flock. The group is safe in the mountains until a pack of Erasers (human-lupine hybrids) appear and kidnap Angel. The Flock must return to the School, where they had once been held and experimented on, to rescue Angel. Max is deeply confused when she finds that Jeb Batchelder, who had rescued them from the School and cared for them before disappearing two years ago, has reappeared as an evil figure, and that his son Ari has become an Eraser. As Max focuses on looking after the Flock and saving Angel, she is puzzled by a Voice in her head saying that her mission is to save the world. The Flock flees to New York City after rescuing Angel from the School. In New York they start trying to find out who there parents are. There, a dog named Total is added to their group.
School’s Out – Forever begins with the Flock heading off to look for their parents using papers they found at the Institute for Higher Living. On the way, they run into flying Erasers (with patched-on wings), including Ari. After a fight with Ari, Fang suffers injuries bad enough to need treatment at a hospital. FBI agent Anne Walker offers her home for residence while Fang recovers. The Flock agrees, and eventually they are enrolled into a real school. While at the school, Max goes out with a boy named Sam, but gets jealous when she spots Fang kissing a girl named Lissa. The principal of the school works for the Institute and almost traps the Flock at the school. Anne reveals herself as a member of the lab that created the Flock, and seeks to recapture them. Later, Max is kidnapped and replaced with a clone that has her appearance but acts differently. In the end, a fight leaves only the real Max standing. It is also revealed that Total can talk.
In Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, the Flock must save the world from the Itex Corporation (the company behind the School) and its evil Director, who want to terminate all recombinant species and cut the Earth’s population in half. The Erasers have been replaced with the flying, robotic Flyboys. As this is happening, Fang tries to persuade Max to find a permanent home where they can live in peace. Max invites Ari (the last remaining Eraser and Max’s brother) to join the group after escaping from the School again, causing Fang, Iggy, and the Gasman to leave the Flock in protest. In the end, Ari dies, the group reunites, and Max discovers that her parents are Jeb Batchelder and Dr. Valencia Martinez, a kindly veterinary surgeon from the first book. She also begins to realize she has feelings for Fang.
In the fourth book, The Final Warning,the Flock flies out of a government meeting set up to decide what is best for them. Later, they go with Max’s parents to Antarctica, where a team of scientists needs their assistance. There they fight an international organization led by the Uber Director, who intends to auction off the Flock to corrupt leaders of foreign countries to be used as weapons and mercenaries. When Angel goes after a baby penguin in the midst of a blizzard, the group is captured and taken to Miami. They defeat the Uber Director in the midst of a hurricane and make their escape. Meanwhile, Total grows wings of his own and falls in love with Akila, an Alaskan Malamute. Max and Fang kiss a few times, and Max starts to acknowledge her feelings for him.
At the start of MAX: A Maximum Ride Novel,the Flock is attacked by bionic assassins (which Max nicknames M-Geeks) at environmental awareness shows in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Later, the government enlists their help in finding out what is destroying hundreds of ships and killing millions of fish off the coast of Hawaii. While the Flock is undertaking the task, a criminal mastermind is tracking their every move. Then, Dr. Martinez (Max’s mother) is kidnapped and held hostage. The Flock takes a submarine down to the ocean depths, fends off hordes of M-Geeks and rescues Dr. Martinez from an underwater dome as it starts to flood. During their struggles, Fang and Max’s relationship grows stronger, and Max feels that she loves Fang.
In Fang: A Maximum Ride Novel, the Flock travel to Africa to help the people there. They meet Dr. Hans, a former Itex worker, and Dylan, another avian hybrid designed to be Max’s “perfect other half”. After a prophetic statement from Angel stating that Fang will die soon, Max is traumatized and starts spending more time with him. Dylan joins the Flock, and they return to their newly rebuilt home in the mountains. Max and Fang are told to leave the Flock because they are more focused on their personal relationship than the surrounding dangers. Angel becomes the new leader of the Flock and gets rid of the rules Max set up for them. Eventually the group reunites, but Fang is captured by Dr. Hans and dies while being experimented on. The Flock rushes to save Fang, and Max stabs his heart with an adrenaline shot and revives him. Dylan also injects himself in a suicide attempt, but fails. In the epilogue, Total and Akila are married, and Fang leaves Max a note saying that the Flock is in danger with him there, and that he will meet Max again in 20 years.
In Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel, Max hasn’t gotten over the fact that Fang has left her, but is slowly starting to warm up to Dylan despite her mixed feelings in the sixth book. Meanwhile Fang starts his own gang which includes Max II (Max’s clone), now called Maya. The two teams join forces in Paris to stop a wild organization known as the Doomsday Group from killing themselves in order to save the planet.
While the beginning of this series started out STRONG, the rest of it started to dwindle. The flock is set to save the world from a coming apocalypse, run from Erasers and learn to work/fight together and fly. By the 3rd or 4th book the apocalypse brings you up short: it’s to save the world from POLLUTION…. Seriously? What happened to the end of the world? Really? If you are a James Patterson fan (i.e.: I, Alex Cross, Kiss the Girls, etc…) you may be disappointed with this series. I read all the books and as I said, they started out REALLY strong with great potential until the bomb shell of saving the world from pollution. We all do our part in recycling but really… seriously? Mr. Patterson needs to go back and rethink the logic on this one.
Maximum Ride has been picked up to be made into a movie, which I would pay to see as the first few books are great. It is slated for 2013 (originally for 2011 but said direction, Catherine Hardwicke sent it back to the screen writer for more input and some changes). Catherine Hardwicke directed Twilight and Red Riding Hood.
Interview with James Patterson on “Schools out forever”