Cassie's Reviews > The Final Warning

The Final Warning by James Patterson
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Sep 07, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: ya-science-fiction, bookwyrm_chrysalis_reviews
Recommended for: no one

Maximum Ride was created to save the world. Now she just needs to figure out how the voice in her head thinks she's going to do this.
With the rest of her flock of Avian-Human hybrids, Max moves from taking down evil corporations to stopping global warming ('cause penguins are cute and hurricanes are bad!).
Now, if only Patterson could be bothered to finish one plot thread before moving on to six more.
If this hadn't been a Maximum Ride book, I would have never finished it, and most likely never even bought it. My general love for Max and the flock is the only thing that got me through all the pages of propaganda about global warming. There were lectures. Multiple page long lectures about global warming. Now, there has always been a definite undertone of eco-warrior, clean up pollution, corporations are bad, etc. in the books. But that took a sideline to the action and characters. In this book, I really felt that Patterson just wanted to talk about global warming and decided to use Max to get his point across.
-Supposedly, this is the last book, but if it isn't, I will be hard pressed to pick up a new title. Whatever your feelings on global warming are, I hate being lectured to in fiction and feeling like someone is dumping their propaganda down my throat. Barely anything even happened in the book, they were too busy talking about global warming. I'm all for empowering kids to make a difference in the world, but I also want them to think about multiple sides of an issue, I want them to question and read scientific studies for themselves, not listen to a pop culture icon tell them how "it is." I mean, how many of us lived through the "Just say no" drug campaigns of the 90s, not to mention the "This is your brain, this is your brain on drugs" scare tactics. At least now they have commercials that go "I got high. Nothing happened. Nothing at all. I just sat on my couch all day like an idiot. You know what? I don't want to get high anymore, so that something can actually happen in my life." Stuff like that tells it more how it is. Sure, Max questions slightly if it's "really bad if the world gets a few degrees warmer," but they stick to the scare tactics and over dramatization that has been popular in global warming ever since An Inconvenient Truth. Complete with ending the book with "worst hurricane ever recorded" (which huh, the bad guys seemed to know was coming, so maybe it wasn't all natural? Never explored this in the book of course).
This book offended me. I feel like Patterson thinks that I have no right to decide for myself what's really happening or not in global warming and that I'm so stupid that I need to be scared into doing what he has decided is the right thing. And what gets me even more is that nobody says a word about this book being such a propaganda tool, but if I wrote a book about a group of kids spreading a counter message, that maybe global warming is part of a natural cycle and that there are more issues involved than just human innovation and existence, then you can bet a million groups would be descending on me like I was trying to poison their children's minds by telling them Santa Claus isn't real.
The hundred pages or so that weren't devoted to saying "global warming=BAD" were enjoyable though. More Max and Fang romantic confusion and tension--I feel like Patterson has that relationship pretty well fleshed out, though I'd like to see some closure or at least some more forward movement. Their relationship really hasn't evolved much from the last book. And at the beginning of this book, they have the funeral for Ari, and I feel so sorry for that kid. Rereading the series before I read this book, my heart just broke for him. He's easily the most tragic character in the series. Still, I only felt like maybe a fourth of the book was about the characters, a fourth on action, and a half on, well, see above. There are so many interactions and relationships that still need to be fleshed out in the books. Max and Jeb especially have a complex relationship that I'd like to see keep evolving. I rather doubt this really is the last book. Patterson left too much open, we still know nothing about the voice, and there's a lot about Max and the flock that keeps getting hinted at, then abandoned. I cringe to think of another book though, as disappointing as this one was to me overall. Maybe he'll fast forward a bit, let Max grow up some. I'd really like to see Max be a little older, because I think her character interactions are at a standstill until she matures a bit more, then her relationships with Jeb and Fang, as well as the rest of the flock, will be able to expand. (Edit - Yep, there is a fifth book listed on amazon. Yay -_-. Maybe this one will have character development. Or maybe they've decided to cool off the world by beating their wings really fast.)
Okay, and seriously, if you call one more bad guy "the director" then, you know what, James Patterson? I'm gonna hit you over the head with a thesaurus. I'm beginning to feel like he doesn't actually read his own writing once he's finished. Not only are there three bad guys called the director (oh, sorry, one is the Uber-Director), but in one book one person was indicated to be "The Director," and the next book it's someone else. He repeats *a lot* of the same kinds of things, has inconsistent chronology (exactly how long does it take to fly somewhere? Huh? Seems to vary by book), never mentioned Nudge was black in the first book (at least not that I could find, I'm thinking he didn't decide that till book two…), and leaves me wondering how even a windbreaker can cover up their wings enough that they don't look like hunchbacks. And, yeah, the wings thing. I really want to see the movie/manga, because I cannot picture how it's supposed to work. Their wing tips should at least fall over their butt. Fourteen feet of actual bone, feather, and muscle only becomes so compact. And they mention cutting slits in jackets, but what about their shirts? And it doesn't seem like they would be able to just snap their wings out of those slits as easily as they always do. Especially while wearing backpacks and such. But okay, enough over-thinking these books. I think the more the author lectures to me about science and real world stuff, the more I question how unlikely his books are to be able to happen in the real world.
Something else I thought of a few days after finishing the book--okay, biggest hurricane in recorded history happens. That's really, really bad, right? Yet, that hurricane is the only reason Max and the flock get away from the Uber-Director. Huh. Global warming bad. But without it, Max and the flock were in big trouble. Bit of a problem with your message there, huh, Patterson? Once again, I don't think he's rereading what he writes.

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message 8: by Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* (last edited Sep 07, 2008 04:28PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* haha. wow i totally agree w/everything you said here.
omg, i didn't think he mentioned that nudge was black either, and i said that to my sister and she's like "you're being so racist!" but gee, it's not like it bothers me but he just never mentioned it. just like he didn't mention that max was blonde until the second book. i reread the first book recently, and it never said anything...
oh and i've wondered about the whole windbreaker-covering-wings? thing too. yeah... not possible.
ah well. i excuse these minor details... just bcuz i luv the plot and the characters. except i was a little disappointed by the last two books. and the fifth one doesn't look so great either. but i'm so attached to the flock by now that i have to keep reading. XD


message 7: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Something like this makes me want to try to write a story about 'global warming' (anthropogenic climate change, to be more exact) that doesn't come off as preachy -- between your review of this and something like Kim Stanley Robinson's Science in the Capital trilogy for adults (and State of Fear on the other side, or so I am told), it seems like any book on the subject turns into a preach-fest.

On the other hand, maybe it is the type of thing that is best served by a non-fiction book, because there you can lay out the arguments like 'scientists infer that AGC is happening because of X, Y and Z. This is how we know about X, Y and Z'. Then you don't have to worry about pesky things like plot and characters getting in the way of your explanation, and you can provide things like 'further reading' and 'footnotes'.

But, it seems like there should be a way to fold science into fiction without turning into a 'this is bad, mmmkay?' kind of story.


Cassie I do think that fiction does limit the amount of backup/support you can give your argument, though when its already reading as a lecture, you might as well add it in.

I'd love to read that book. And see the ensuing media frenzy as they say how awful you are for killing santa claus.

I've read other books with definite eco/hippie/liberal agendas that didn't really anger me at all. I mean, not to say I'm against the environment or anything, this is just my way of rebelling against how Captain Planet brainwashed me as a child and the fact that I now live in Portland, Hippie Capital of the US (well, maybe some places in CA are challenging us for that title).

Anyways, yeah, books like the Adoration of Jenna Fox and even the newest Artemis Fowl books have some undercurrent of "save the earth" kinds of things, but that doesn't bother me, because it stays an undercurrent, and it fit in with the book. The newest Maximum Ride book was definitely "Hey, I want to tell kids global warming is bad, so Max can do it for me!"


message 5: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Ithaca is at least the Hippie Capital of the East USA. I mean, we have compostable plates and cutlery and free-trade chocolate in the coffee shop here, and a club sells organic vegetables outside every Tuesday and Wednesday.

I guess a good example would be Mononoke Hime/Princess Mononoke, even if that is a movie and not a book. On the one hand, one had the animal spirits protecting their forests by killing the humans. On the other was the Lady Uboshi, who was mining out the area for iron to make firearms, but had also rescued a bunch of lepers and prostitutes to give them a fair wage, so she was a sympathetic character, even as an industrialist who was chopping down the forest to strip-mine the place.

Remembering that you're dealing with people (even if some of them have bird wings or were raised by wolves) instead of sockpuppets is good.


message 4: by Mama'sBoy (new)

Mama'sBoy Thanks for your review. It was very helpful.


Cassie I'm glad you found it useful!


Matthew best review i have ever read. very acurate and challenging.
you obviously love to write and are very good at it. i really hope #5 is good or i might just join in on the patterson beating.
i would like to see max a little more matured and less "lovey dovey" and just stick to the major butt kicking.
r.i.p ari was my favorite character and i felt the saddest when he died in book three. i do hope that patterson leaves him dead though. and not bring him back as a bad guy because then that would just be depressing


Isabella.faith The voice is jeb.......


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