BVS writes: “I am writing to inquire about the Maximum Ride book series, our son brought these home, and is reading one for a book assignment for his parochial school. He has read the book School is Out Forever, and brought home the book, The Final Warning. . . . My internal red flags started firing when on the back cover it reads ‘Like the Harry Potter series, this reading will be shared by children, their parents and grandparents’ . . .
“We have not allowed our children to read the Harry Potter books, because of the direct references to the occult. Next, when you open the inside cover there are a list of people who have reviewed the books and one of them is listed as ‘The Daily Bitch, brainsoupblogspot’, another red flag. Finally when looking through the book there are references to environmentalism, global warming, and praise of socialized countries such as Sweden. All these, I feel, are red flags of an author trying to sneak in an indoctrination of our children towards socialism and population control. I am hoping that you could let me know what this series is all about and if there could be a review of the books to make sure they are in line with Catholic teaching.”
There is almost nothing about these books that are in line with Catholic teaching other than the selfless love the main character displays toward the members of her mutant “flock”.
From what I could ascertain, the Maximum Ride series, written by James Patterson and published by Little, Brown & Company, is just another version of the latest dystopian fiction fad among youth that features dark characters existing in a dark world with a dark story line.
In this case, the 8-book series is centered around 14 year-old Maximum “Max” Ride who is one of a small group of children considered to be mutants after being experimented upon by renegade scientists who grafted avian and human DNA to create them. Consequently, the genetically engineered flock have wings, can fly, have super-human strength and powers that enable them to read minds. Max is also able to hear a voice in her heard that she opts to follow.
Of particular concern in the series is the graphic violence, which is described in this review of one of the books, The Angel Experiment, by Focus on the Family (FOTF):
“Body parts, including noses and necks, are broken with “stomach-turning” cracking noises. When Angel is kidnapped, Max punches a tree until she’s bloody and skin is missing. The scientists perform horrible experiments on kids. They shock and burn them, operate on them, put them in mazes like rats and leave them in pet crates when they’re not being tested. Some test subjects have vital organs outside of their bodies. A few times, the kids in the Flock see badly mutated children die in front of them.”
There is one touching scene when the children find their way into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and examine their belief in God. They all pray for help. However, other scenes in the book introduce children to non-Christian beliefs.
“Max calls a bullet wound she receives sheer bad luck,” FOTF explains. “When the starving Fang finds food, he calls it Nirvana. Max justifies using a stolen ATM card because the card’s owner was a jerk, and she reasons that it’s his karma getting back at him. In a toy store, a Ouija board moves by itself and tells Max to save the world. When Max is lost in the subway, she lets the feng shui guide her and finds the door she needs.”
Even some parents who gave the books a thumbs up on CommonSenseMedia.org warned other parents to beware of the violence, that it might be too much for “easily scared kids.”
I have to agree with BVS that parents should be wary of this series.