This review will contain a lot of spoilers!!! if you haven't read the book yet and you don't want to know what happens then don't read this review. If you've all ready read it or are not bothered about knowing then by all means read on:
So this is it, a whole weekend (well 3 days) of reading and I've got through the entire series. I was actually quite nervous reading this last one, I've been quite disappointed with the others and I really wanted this one to be good, to make it all worthwhile. And although I try to avoid books online if I know I am going to read them soon, I couldn't help but stumble over a couple for this book and I have to say they weren't that positive.
So the book starts off right in a 'woah' moment and I was like what??? It's sort fo a flash forward and then chapter one starts back to where the previous book ended. Well technically about 3 months later but it sort of works.
The flock think Angel is dead and are trying to move on to a life without her, although no-one seems to be grieving or talking about her?!? Meanwhile Angel herself is back in a lab being subjected to horrific tests and experiments and for the first time since the first book I actually wanted to hug Angel and tell her she'd be OK.
Fang is still in his own but not quite happy with his lot, he still misses Max and his new 'flock' aren't what he'd hoped they be.
Max and Dylan are exploring their relationship more, but Max seems to be toughening up a bit again and it was good to see her kick-ass behaviour back. Although she wallows a bit and makes a boy pro/con list. I mean really?? eugh!
They also go to school to try to be 'normal', yes because that has worked in the past! Just because Dylan wanted to be there, luckily it's over quite quickly and gets back to the point.
Nudge was the one to annoy me more in parts of this book, whining that she wants to be 'normal', fed up of being the 'freak', hating who she is and wanting to change. But she is described as beautiful, intelligent, a good fighter and surrounded by people that love her. It just seemed to get a bit wallowing in self pity and I always admired her self confidence before. Luckily it doesn't last too long and doesn't slow the pace down too much.
Iggy and Gazzy are kind of more background players more of the time, still in the flock, still mentioned but not immediately noticeable, and really it's been like that for a couple of books. What happened to them?
We also see the return of some un-expected characters such as Ari. He's back from the dead - AGAIN. What?? this is just getting silly. Leav him alone for goodness sake, let him die and be done with it. Jeb, Dr Martinez and Ella are also back. Jeb is still on the fence of good and evil, and I really wanted to push him one way or another and be done with it. He's not that great a bad guy and a rather irritating good guy, to be honest I was happy when he faded away for a while.
I must say there were some positives in this book, the action did pick back up there and the book almost seemed to go back to it's roots in places, the sort of quality we had in book 1 and I felt myself enjoying it more than the other recent ones. It felt good to be back into that world. However brief that was. I was more interested and more into it, I finished it in about 2 hours straight.
However it was nowhere near perfect and not quite what I was hoping for. Ultimately I wanted the end to sum up everything that had happened, neatly tie the edges and reveal the big secrets but I was disappointed.
Firstly, I was waiting for some characters to pop up and say 'look I am relevant, this is why I was included' but it never happened. For example in book 2 or 3 (when they rescue Total the dog) it says they also rescue some other kids, some with wings but they decide not to stay with Max, they would rather make their own way. I kept waiting for them to come back and join the fight or something. Why mention them if they have no other relevance.
Also in book 6 (Fang) whilst they are in Africa they meet a little girl, I think she was "Jeanette' or something like that who makes friends with Angel, we then find out she has been receiving injections from teh evil scientists and is developing powers, it's all built up in a way that makes you think 'I'd better watch out for her'. But she NEVER COMES BACK!
They all become totally irrelevant, and Jeanette seemed like a promising character, I wanted to see her come back and do something.
Then the one thing that REALLY bugged me. and from what I've seen online, bugged a lot of other people too. They mystery of Max's "voice". All through the series you try to work out who could be sending Max all these messages, who is in her mind, and what do they want. I expected to be some great big secret, a mammoth 'Woah!' moment, but NO. Who was it? Fricking Angel??????
Really a six year old has been doing that all along, and Angel? It's so silly and unbelievable.
I actually had read this online before I re-read the series so it wasn't a surprise to me, but I wanted to see how he explained it, and the answer is, he doesn't really! We knew it had to be someone or something close to Max as the voice knew a lot of her secrets, but Angel is just ridiculous and it doesn't add up. As I knew, when I was re-reading the series I was sort of watching to see if it would fit and on a couple of occassions I thought 'mm, maybe' but 90% of the time I was like 'Heck no!"
For example in one of the earlier books the voice tells Max to stop playing and concentrate on the mission. Max ignores the voice and asks the Flock if they want to go to the beach. Angel the shouts 'Yes' excitedly. Now if she was the voice and wanted Max to focus and quit playing then surely Angel wouldn't be so excited, surely she would stay quietly at the back of the group and not say anything.
There is a similar occurrence in another book, I can't remember exactly which one but the Voice tells Max not to go somewhere, then Angel volunteers to go with Max to check it out. huh???
Also in book 4 when Angel falls down the snow hole and almost dies she says something like 'I tried to call for Max using our telepathic link but I'd never managed it this far away, there was no way of getting hold of her or the flock" (this isn't exactly what is written but you get the point)
Anyway all through the voice tells Max things like 'Leave here now', and 'Find the flock' etc that sort of thing, even when Max leaves the flock briefly in one of the earlier books the voice is still with her - across the world. If Angel can do that then surely she could have 'been the voice' and said something like 'Find Angel', or 'Search under the snow' or even 'Follow the Penguins'. Something that wouldn't have given her away as the voice but would have got help. It just doesn't make sense for her not to.
I wanted the Voice to be this earth shattering discovery and it wasn't! The rest of the flock also experience a voice themselves - is that Angel too? Also Angel says she has a voice - who is that? It's never explained.
Lastly the whole 'Save the World' thing, first it was some great mystery, then global warming, then a sort of terrorist group led my evil scientists. This does all come together at the end of this book, but then just before the Evil Scientists can truly engage in their end of the population plan a Natural Disaster/Meteor shower happens and wipes most of the population out anyway. Sort of made me think - well what was the point of all that then? Almost seemed like Patterson realised that if he followed the line of the Super Bug Science End of the world he would have to write another book with the survivors trying to stop the outbreak and save humanity whilst finding a cure, so it was easier to just wipe them out this way, that's it end of discussion. Just seemed quite final and abrupt.
Wow I've gone on a bit there, sorry but I had to get it out. If you've made it this far - Well Done!
Despite all those annoyances I actually did sort of enjoy the book. I'm glad I finished the series. I just wish the continuation and that sort of thing had followed. So overall disappointed but kind of happy - it's over at least.