Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review: The Final Warning

I grabbed this book on impulse at the local library.  Since it’s a pretty small library I always struggle to find books I haven’t already read.  I generally like James Patterson’s work (or more correctly the work by him and his collaborators) so I didn’t pay much attention to the book description.

When I got home I home I discovered that it was actually a YA novel, and the fourth novel in the Maximum Ride series.  Having read When the Wind Blows and The Lake House, I thought it might still be interesting to see what happens to Max since the character and concept of genetically modified children was originally used in those two novels.

Great was my disappointment when I opened the first page and found a note to the reader that states that the Max in this novel is not the Max in the original novels, even though some characters even have the same traits, similar names and, seemingly, a very similar background.  Uhm, ok…

Since I haven’t read any of the earlier Maximum Ride novels I got dumped into the deep end.  The novel follows the adventures of a Flock of genetically modified kids who all have the ability to fly (the exact same concept as in When the Wind Blows!).  The Final Warning is largely told from the viewpoint of Max (a 14 year old girl, and the flock leader) and is interspersed with blog entries by Fang, also 14 and seemingly Max’s awkward love interest.  The other characters are Iggy (a blind boy, the same as the Icarus character in When the Wind Blows), Nudge, Gasman, Angel and Total (a talking dog!).

The Flock joins a scientific expedition in order to help save the world from global warming.  They travel to Antarctica where they will help the scientists to gather data.  While there they are captured by the ever present villains - the Uber-Director, his Frankenstein-like henchman, Gozen and their robot minions.

The paper thin plot revolves around the subject of global warming albeit in an extremely contrived manner with characters voicing clich├ęs or spouting facts related to how bad the situation is.  Even the final conflict between the Flock and the Uber-Director is magically resolved by ‘forces of nature’ attributed to global warming.  This almost seems like a flimsily disguised “Inconvenient Truth” aimed at fooling teens into learning about global warming by following the adventures of their favorite book characters.

Very young readers might find this a satisfying read, but if you aren’t in your tweens you will quickly get tired of the preachy tone and a storyline where, ultimately, nothing much happens.  The ending leaves you completely unfulfilled, almost like eating candy floss when you are starving.

Rating: 4/10 
Read it if you have a few hours to kill, but don’t expect much.

Buy it from the Book Depository


  1. The first one was a bit meh. I wondered if it got better. I guess now i know lol

  2. Yes, I think these are aimed at a much younger audience.

    The whole concept is much better executed in "When the Wind Blows" and "The Lake House". At least there it's much more believable and set in a plausible world.

    I can definitely recommend those novels. The YA series... not so much.