Sorry, guys. I should have told you that it was going to be a little while on my last spork. Internet problems, midterms, and a crazy schedule completly caught up with me.

But I ordered two new Patterson books! I already borrowed Nevermore, but I ordered a copy as well because the library just hates it when I throw their books at the walls. There’s also this new book about a girl who’s accused of murdering her parents, so we’ll see how that goes.

Also, I’m giving up on my page counter. It’s just depressing me.

Chapter Eleven

Let’s recap:

In Chapter Ten, we established that the Erasers were taking Angel to the school.  Everyone had their moment of stupidity in which they hadn’t realized that the Erasers would take Angel back to the School.  You know, the place where they have their lab and everything.  So Max has to explain to the flock – and, therefore, the audience — all about the School and how it wants them back.

Chapter Ten ends with Fang taking out a map.  Nudge asks what it’s for, and Max replies that it’s a map of the School.

Well, now that the flock’s all caught up on –

“Whaaat?” the Gasman squeaked.

I said before that he wasn’t too bright.  Now I can confirm that he’s an idiot.

So, um, again, we have to confirm that they took Angel to the School.  Why the flock is surprised by this, we’ll never know.

So Fang says that their house is at least six hundred miles from the School, and a seven-hour flight.  By my calculations, they’d be flying at around 85.7 mph.  I…don’t know what to think about this, since it’s been noted that ducks can fly upward of sixty miles per hour in a chase.  Since the flock is (mostly) human and duck DNA wasn’t cool enough for this book, I’d like to wonder how it’s possible for them to fly this fast, as their bodies certainly aren’t streamlined for flight.  Not to mention that I’d probably be carrying some supplies and weapons with me, maybe in a backpack.

Also, most cars (in America) don’t hit ninety, even on a highway. Next time you get on the interstate, though, stick your head out of the window, keep it there for two hours and imagine having a conversation while doing this, because we’re doing that in the next chapter.

So Max doesn’t want Iggy and Gazzy to go with them.  Kind of understandable, but I’d like to look at her argument for a while.

“Okay,” I said, trying for a placating tone.  “It’s true.  I don’t want you to come.  The fact is, you’re blind, and while you’re a great flyer around here where you know everything, I can’t be worrying about you in the middle of a firefight with the Erasers.”

Patterson, I said it once, and I’ll say it again: We need to talk. Seriously. You. Me. Coffee. Copies of your books and red pens. And maybe a lecture or two on how consistency works.

Oh, and Gazzy has to stay behind too. ‘Cause those Erasers might want him just as badly as Angel, which is why they left him lying unconscious on the ground.

So Max hides Iggy and Gazzy in a cave somewhere — Sorry, wrong book. Max leaves Iggy and Gazzy in the house. The house that the Erasers know they live in, but haven’t searched yet because nobody is that stupid, right guys?

Chapter Twelve

This is the start of Part Two, called Hotel California, sort of.  I’m not even going to comment on this.  Wait, I will comment to add that most of the intended age group will have no idea what the heck the symbolism here is.)

Right, so the chapter starts off with Max asking if everyone is clear on Plan B.  They’re flying away from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which is actually a nice way to mention where (I assume) they live without an infodump.

Fang nodded.  God, is he ever the strong and silent type.

Where did that come from?  It sounds like Max has a bit of a crush of Fang, but her thoughts toward him so far have been fairly indifferent. I guess it’s so that the twoo wuv later on won’t seem quite so subtle.

Plan B is apparently to meet up at the northernmost point of Lake Mead if they get separated.

My first thought upon reading this is that this lake is probably fairly large, so “northernmost point” would probably be more of a general area than a specific place.  Kind of hard to find someone when you only know the general direction of where they are.

But my curiosity got the better of me.  What if Patterson had done his research and Lake Mead ended at one, very specific point?

Nope.  Apparently, Overton Arm is the northernmost sector of Lake Mead.  If Google Maps is to be believed, it turns into a river and slowly trails off.

There is no northernmost point of Lake Mead.

To add to this, the most direct route I could find from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to Lake Mead was some 600-odd miles. At a (doubtful) 90mph speed, are you trying to tell me that they’re flying six to seven hours without stopping? What if they get attacked and seperated an hour into their flight and everyone is too injured to fly? What then?

Research: It’s not hard.

Max is quizzing Nudge on where the school is, but it seems more like Patterson is trying to tell the readers where everything is again.

Did you hear that address?  Could the school be located in a more perfect place?  Death Valley.  Above the Badwater Basin.

Patterson just thinks he’s so cool.  Could he have thought of a more perfect place?

Well, actually, yes.

Um, Death Valley is a national park and the Badwater Basin is a popular tourist destination. Yet nobody notices the evil scientists and their parade of genetic freaks?

Also, remember waaay back twelve chapters ago when Max was escaping from the School and she was running through a forest?

Yeah.

A little research and a lot less finding cool names.  It’s all I ask.

The wind was whistling in my ears; we could see everything for miles. It was like being God. I imagine.

Now that is one of the most awkward sentences I’ve ever read. If you’re going to have that last sentence there, I’d have seperated it by a paragraph break. Otherwise, it looks like you forgot a comma. I imagine.

Like all of us, she [Nudge] was tall for her age, and skinny, probably weighing no more than sixty pounds thanks to her light, strong bird bones.

HOW DO GRAMMAR?

We later learn that Max’s bones are hollow so that she can fly, so how can they be strong?

So Max confirms that yes, they are flying at 90mph, and that they burn energy like crazy while doing so.

And Nudge saw some of Jeb’s files! And they had her real name and parents on them! And this totally isn’t going to become a plot point later on!

Chapter Twelve

Aaand…We’re with Angel!

Huh. Looking at the forward and the way Max’s narrative breaks the fourth wall to address the reader every so often, I was getting the impression that this was a sort of journal written by Max after everything was over. Even Max’s “warning” in the front was written in a font that made it look like it had been handwritten.

So. Why. Is. Angel. Here.

In the third person, no less. Patterson, just…go away now, okay? Please?

Angel’s at the school, and Patterson wasted a third of a page getting this information to us. But…whatever.

So there’s these…humanoid creatures in the cage by Angel. I guess that the School created them?

I guess that these kids are supposed to be kind of…stunted, or something, ‘cause they talk like this:

Mouth noise girl wings new new

There’s no punctuation and they just talk…like that. It’s also written in some weird font, which is just…weird.

Actually, everything in this book is weird.

Look, if these kids are so stunted, why do they think in words? I’d have had them think in concepts or emotions. But it’s Patterson’s book, so he can do whatever he wants. I guess.

Apparently Angel can feel emotions too. I don’t understand why Patterson didn’t just do that — have her sense the boys’ frightened, confused emotions. It would’ve been so much easier on the rest of us.

These “scientists” come out and discuss Angel by calling her an “it”, suggesting that they’re extremely emotionally removed from the situation. Now, by no means am I condoing whatever horrible deeds they’ve done, but to suggest that they don’t actually view Angel as human is to suggest that these people are not actually aware of what they’re doing.

And I don’t care how many times Max (and our third person narrator, curiously) call them “whitecoats”. They will always be “scientists” to me.

Chapter Fourteen

We’re back with Max. And she’s whining.

Dear God. Just kill me now.

Poor, poor Max. She’s hungry but doesn’t want to give Fang the satisfaction of caving first, despite the fact that there’s never been any rivalry between the two of them before. But Nudge is hungry, so Max has to make decisions! It’s so hard being in charge!

Poor baby. There’s nothing worse than being in a slight rivalry with your brother, is there. I mean, how more downhill could your day go? Even being locked in a dog cage with scientists thinking about how they want to kill you and dissect your brain couldn’t hold a candle to this.

…And suddenly the implications of calling Fang Max’s brother have caught up to me.

So Max declares that yes, they do indeed need food, and then immediately asks Fang what to do. I thought that Max was supposed to be the leader? I guess she figured out that if they rubbed their brain cells together, a thought could be formed

Fang pondered. It always amazes me how he’s able to seem so calm at the absolute worst of times.

…This, kids, is why you should always read over your previous books before deciding how to hype up your next novel. I think that the change in tense was intentional; Max reflecting on the fact years later. Slip-ups like this are why I never fear for Max’s safety: I can assume that Max has already lived through the adventures that she’s writing about.

I’m only halfway through Nevermore, but that “RIP MAXIMUM RIDE” sticker on the front ain’t got nuthin’ on me, Patterson.

Oh, but this paragraph only gets better:

Sometimes he seems like a droid — or a drone. Fang of Nine. Fang2 D2.

Did I ever tell you how much Max whines about the part of her life that she spent in a cage? Given, I guess she has something to whine about. I mean, the “scientists” keep kids in dog crates, kill chimpanzees, and, um, not much else at this point. But, yeah. She reminds us that she spent a good chunk of her life in a cage, while forgetting to mention the part of her life that she spent watching Star Wars and Star Trek.

Right, so our totally innocent and likeable protagonist sees an abandoned cabin near some ski slopes. It’s summer and Max assumes that the place will be abandoned, so she slits the screens with a pocket knife. (But we’re supposed to think she’s “thoughtful” because she carefully sets them on the side of the house. Sorry, Max. The exit to “thoughtful” was thirty pages ago.)

Right, so the abadoned cabin — it’s summer, so the thing’s probably been empty for three or four months — still has food. What kind of idiot leaves food in their cabin when they leave for the summer? They’d get ants. Not to mention, Max finds ravoli inside the cabins, and it’s not spoiled.

How… convenient.

I don’t like convenience at all. Have to escape from the School? Don’t worry, a conveniently sympathetic “scientist” will take pity on you. Got beat up by the guys who want you dead? Budget cuts at the School prevented the “scientists” from buying more than one burlap sack at a time. Hungry? Find a conveniently empty house to break into!

If I was the author, they’d be picking food out of dumpsters, and if Max so much as whined about it, she would be going hungry for the rest of the book.

Right, so the rest of this chapter is everyone being so tired that they have to stop and rest, and then Max tells Angel that they’re coming soon, which is like me saying that I’m getting up in five more minutes.

Chapter Fifteen

So, after a three-page chapter, guess whose POV we get?

If you said Max, you’re wrong — Thank God. If you said Angel, you’re also wrong. We’re with Gazzy and Iggy!

…Yay.

So the chapter starts off with Gazzy and Iggy being quite pissed off. Iggy suggests throwing “their” (Nudge and Max and Fang?) stuff out of the window, and there’s a rather funny bit where he contemplates whether or not Max’s bed would fit through the window. Really, he could have been the best character here.

Also? The blind guy and the seven-year-old are smarter than Max, Fang, and Nudge combined. Why?

For them, it’s not “if” the Erasers return. It’s when.

Thank God, someone in this story has finally shown a shred of sanity.

“Max might not have thought about keeping the camp safe, but we did, and we can do it.”

Gazzy, c’mere. I’mma hug you. I’ll even forget about how you don’t even sound like a seven-year-old. Right now, you’re awesome.

…So Gazzy and Iggy like to make bombs. How does Iggy make bombs? Just askin’.

But, yeah. Last fall, Max apparently had approved the use of bombs to make a trail through the woods. Honestly, it’s a wonder no one’s found them until now.

And now they’re gonna make some more bombs! Yay, I think. Seven-year-olds blowing themselves up are always fun to read about.

…And on that happy note, I must leave you.

Next up: Max oversleeps. Gazzy and Iggy start to make a bomb. Angel is experimented on.

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Comment

  1. Pryotra on 3 January 2013, 13:56 said:

    You know, Patterson, it’s possible to write from a girl’s point of view without having to shoehorn romance in. The story is obviously intended to be action and, supposedly, plot driven. Let the characters grow attracted to one another at a natural pace.

    Oh, this is giving me flashbacks of Patterson’s strange grammar. I recall something about “I moved fast fast fast fast” or something like that. While first person can be slightly more informal, there really should be rules.

    Lovely spork, as always.

  2. Flurrin on 3 January 2013, 14:12 said:

    Bird bones are different. I’ve read that they’re as strong as the bones of any other animal at that size, despite being hollow. It’s easy to assume the small army of Sues here have the same capabilities.

  3. Brendan Rizzo on 3 January 2013, 15:18 said:

    Wait, there’s a mountain range called the Blood of Christ? I think the only reason Patterson has the characters fly from there to a place hundreds of miles away is because of the name; you’re right.

    Huh. Looking at the forward and the way Max’s narrative breaks the fourth wall to address the reader every so often, I was getting the impression that this was a sort of journal written by Max after everything was over. Even Max’s “warning” in the front was written in a font that made it look like it had been handwritten.

    So. Why. Is. Angel. Here.

    To be fair, I did something like that once. I hope I had a better reason than Patterson had for doing so.

    …And suddenly the implications of calling Fang Max’s brother have caught up to me.

    Oh, Cristo dulce.

    And I totally forgot who had which characteristic, that I thought that Gazzy was blind and Iggy was the seven-year-old. All of Patterson’s characters are pretty much the same so far.

  4. swenson on 3 January 2013, 15:47 said:

    And I totally forgot who had which characteristic, that I thought that Gazzy was blind and Iggy was the seven-year-old.

    Me too. Although this might be a result of getting information about the book secondhand.

    I would also like to remark on the violation of first person, after-the-fact, “diary” point of view. If you set up a particular perspective as being the “thing” of the story—this is Max telling us a story after the fact, and so on—then I am highly suspicious of changing perspectives suddenly. It smells like poor writing to me. You can’t think of a way to shoehorn information into the original perspective, so you throw in a different perspective (as opposed to, say, changing the overall narrative perspective for the entire book). If it was really, really necessary to have Gazzy or Angel’s perspectives, at least make a nod to the “diary” format by introducing it somehow, perhaps overtly switching narrators (“The next part of the story can only be told by Angel…”) or by making it explicit this is Max telling Angel’s story (“I wasn’t there, but later Angel told me what it was like…”). Both are kind of awkward, true, but I feel you could make something like that work.

  5. Azure on 7 January 2013, 20:12 said:

    Sorry,guys! My internet connection hasn’t been so great these past few days. I tried to respond several times, but my browser wouldn’t let me. Here’s to hoping it’s fixed now?

    You know, Patterson, it’s possible to write from a girl’s point of view without having to shoehorn romance in.

    …I cannot tell you how much I love this statement. It pretty much applies to every single YA author ever. When writing from a guy’s point of view, the romance isn’t necessary, but every single girl just has to fall in love. And yes, this does include Max. And yes, there is a love triangle.

    I recall something about “I moved fast fast fast fast” or something like that. While first person can be slightly more informal, there really should be rules.

    Yup, that’d be Angel. Patterson doesn’t know what it’s like to be six years old so he uses lots of abstract adjectives and repetition to make up for it.

    Bird bones are different. I’ve read that they’re as strong as the bones of any other animal at that size, despite being hollow. It’s easy to assume the small army of Sues here have the same capabilities.

    Huh, really? Guess I’ll have to do my research more carefully from now on. I’ve seen a fair amount of broken wings from smashing into windows, so I’d assumed that this wouldn’t bode well for humans.

    To be fair, I did something like that once. I hope I had a better reason than Patterson had for doing so.

    Well, to be entirely fair, Patterson’s writing reminds me of my own a few years ago. Honestly, I’d be sporking my own stories if I could.

    And I totally forgot who had which characteristic, that I thought that Gazzy was blind and Iggy was the seven-year-old.

    S’alright. Patterson Max forgets that Iggy’s blind too! It’s even lampshaded at some point!

    But, other than that, yeah, it might be a result of the secondhand information.

    If it was really, really necessary to have Gazzy or Angel’s perspectives, at least make a nod to the “diary” format by introducing it somehow, perhaps overtly switching narrators

    THIS. This is beautiful, and so very true. It would work much better than randomly switching viewpoints.

  6. Pryotra on 8 January 2013, 10:46 said:

    …I cannot tell you how much I love this statement. It pretty much applies to every single YA author ever. When writing from a guy’s point of view, the romance isn’t necessary, but every single girl just has to fall in love. And yes, this does include Max. And yes, there is a love triangle.

    Naturally. The same happened with Rick Riordan’s Kane Trilogy. He was doing fine until he made the female character’s life start revolving around a love triangle. It’s quite annoying really. What’s worse is that nine times out of ten, the romance is sort of a plot tumor that could be removed without any damage to the overall story, rather than being a part of the plot and moving with it.

  7. Azure on 8 January 2013, 22:22 said:

    What’s worse is that nine times out of ten, the romance is sort of a plot tumor that could be removed without any damage to the overall story, rather than being a part of the plot and moving with it.

    Or it’s used to hide the plot holes in the same way that a band-aid is used to cover a bullet wound. Sure, you can slap it on there and pretend that everything’s great, but that’s not really going to do you any good in the long run, is it?

    …The other one time, the romance has to be surgically removed from the plot and by the time that’s done, there is no story left.