How James Patterson could have improved The Whole Flock in Maximum Ride:
She started out alright, though her whole “girls rule boys drool” attitude was a bit grating (it was painfully obvious Patterson was trying to play her off as some kind of feminist icon). I mean, she’s fourteen, she’s allowed to be immature sometimes, but for God’s sakes maybe develop her out of that! This is a girl who grew up around some pretty cool male figures (Jeb, Iggy, Gazzy, and Fang), I find it hard to believe she’d belittle and put down men as much as she does.
And let’s talk about consistency. Is she a brunette or a blonde? How is it that hard to keep track of the main character’s hair color? On a bigger note of consistency, Max is slow to forgive and never forgets…unless it’s Fang or Angel. Seriously, tell Emo Hawk if he leaves the Flock one more time he’s not allowed back, and I don’t know, maybe discipline the little kid for once? She has a power complex and has used mind control to get what she wants, please Max, you are the closest thing this girl has to a mom, it is your job to tell her those things are wrong!
STOP LEAVING THE FUCKING FLOCK YOU PIECE OF SHIT! Also make him something besides the painfully stereotypical “brooding bad boy” character. Make him less of a jerk, as well. Like any quick fix to the very painful cliche Fang was, he’d have done well to exhibit a broader range of emotions. I mean, he’s also a teenager with angst who happens to have bird wings to add more angst, right?
Well, for starters, Patterson could have actually cared about this poor child a little bit more instead of horribly derailing him. When we’re first introduced to him, he’s the one cooking breakfast for the Flock, and when Max tells him not to go on the mission against the Erasers because he’s blind, he takes matters into his own hands and (with some help from Gazzy) stages a counterattack that takes several of them out. He’s a self-taught cook and bomb expert (and based on the fact that he spent a lot of his life in a lab, he learned those skills after losing his eyesight!). What I’m trying to say is, this guy is awesome. He’s also a sarcastic little shit. Which is also very awesome.
It would have been great if J-Patts had been consistent about remembering Iggy cannot see and is blind (then again, he can’t even get Max’s hair straight)! Despite the fact that we the audience get regularly reminded of this ourselves (maybe it was him trying to remind himself in the early drafts and it never got edited out?), Iggy kind of forgets he’s blind a few times per book. And then there’s the cool power upgrades that would have been the only good thing about The Final Warning…did he get cool Daredevil-esque super senses? Hell no! He got “can see but only when he’s damn near snow blind”. That’s actually kind of cruel to do to him, really.
Where to start with her? I hate to be blunt about this, but it’s terribly obvious she was kind of thrown in the story to add a check off the diversity list. And while I didn’t have much of an issue with her OEL manga design, a few other people did (in Nara Lee’s defense though, Nudge in the manga looks like she was designed by someone who’s not used to drawing black characters who had to draw a black character). For God’s sakes, she could have been much more than just the fashion-obsessed air-headed chatterbox she morphed into later in the series, especially since her power set includes magnetism and sensing whatever people have touched! Geez! Who am I kidding, you could have taken Nudge’s character in a million different directions, and they would have all been better than what Patterson did to her!
For starters, I wish there was more to him than being a comic relief character who’s signature attack was farting. Then again, he was named by Max, so…yeah. Anyway, I’d have liked to see more of a brotherly between him and Iggy (they’re obviously pretty close) - it would’ve been nice to see their personalities play off each other a little more, kind of a contrast maybe? Plus, he’s Angel’s sister - I’d have liked to see more of his perspective regarding his little sister showing clear signs of being a budding sociopath. I can’t think of much else to add here.
HAVE THE LITTLE SHIT FACE SOME CONSEQUENCES! Really, she literally mind-controls people and flat-out admits it to Max, but we get nothing on say, if she knew what she was doing was wrong, if she even cared about whether it was wrong or not, the older kids like Max talking to her about the moral implications of mind control, etc. Like seriously, is Angel a sociopath or an innocent five-year-old? Why does this girl not get any karma for abusing her powers?
I’d have preferred to see the darker implications of outright knowing she was Max’s favorite. She can read minds, she’s very well aware Max likes her best, and personally, I think she takes full advantage of the fact - but it’s never really touched upon. Again, I know she’s only five, but she does a lot of morally questionable things to the point of being downright creepy, but apparently J-Patts really liked her so much he thought she was above being reprimanded in-story for any of it.
He should never have existed. Simple as that. He added nothing to the group save comic relief (sarcasm out of the three oldest bird kids and Gazzy’s antics weren’t funny enough? We needed a talking dog?)