Okay. so FANG is out in NZ bookstores. It's got a shiny new cover format, and so does MAX.
And I skim read it this afternoon, cuz that's just me. It feels like a short book, because nothing REALLY huge happens. If books were graphs, they'd start at twenty, rise to one hundred at the climax, and then drop off at the end. This is more at fifty all the way through.
It's better than the previous two books. It goes from being 'GLOBIL WRAMING IS TEH EBIL' and 'SWAMPMONSTAHS R TEH EBIL' to the more interesting SCIENCE!
That alone made it worth reading. The plot wasn't as blatantly ridiculous. And, yes, there's actually a plot.... sorta. It was a little incoherent at points, JP is trying to move things too far too fast. Character development happens... sorta. Again, Nudge and Iggy and Gazzy are forgotten in favour of Max, Fang, Dylan and Angel.
The book starts in Africa. They're only there for a couple of chapters, and it's propaganda about third world poverty mixed with a convenient way of introducing Dr. Hans Gunther-Hagen (and Dylan). JP's thought about his science for once - why experiment on babies in first-world nations when you can exploit the poor in the third world.
THANK GOD! His work is on rapid-healing and genetic accelerators... good in theory but has side effects that horrify Max.
They then move back to the States, and everything's more sensible. If kind of Anti-Science. Max thinks what Dr. G-H is doing is terrible, full-stop. (The human-experimentation, yes. Everything else, no. IMO.) Max calls Dr. G-H by a series of names throughout the book, each more cringe-worthy than the last.
Dylan and Jeb meet up with the flock at the E-house. Max and Fang go off and suck face. ERASERS COME BACK... AND JEB SORTA EXPLAINS WHY, IN A PLAUSIBLE WAY THAT BRIEFLY EXPLAINS WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SCHOOL AND THE OTHER SCIENTISTS! Angel gets pissed that Max and Fang were sucking face while they got attacked by Erasers... Max blows up at Jeb, Jeb yells at Max,
best scene in the book...
Angel takes over the flock temporarily, and kinda goes nuts. Max and Fang go to Vegas. The rest end up in Hollywood, trying to raise money for Africa. Dr. G-H doses them with 'genetic accelerators',
which are supposed to do something interesting in the next book, because they really didn't in this one. Angel threatens to shoot Max. Jeb gets shot, but don't worry, he survives. Max is upset.
There is evidence at points that the last few books have all been part of a larger experiment... One that Dr. G-H is not a part of as he messes with 'their' plans. There's a bit of anti-science in this, as a labtech thinks that more or less "some of the scientists have forgotten that despite being programmed, their subjects aren't robots and have free will." There are cameras watching the flock.
(Also, Max is confirmed as being Subject One. Dylan is Subject 22, and he's a clone. Eight months old.)
Angel gets kicked out of her leadership, and buddies up with G-H. We get a look into her head - she's after power, and thinks that she's doing the right thing by buddying up with G-H. She wants her own flock. According to her Voice, she's supposed to get Fang as her second-in-command, and Max and Dylan are supposed to go off on their own.
Fang goes after Angel at G-H's Malibu pad, gets drugged with the accelerator, nearly dies.
...That wasn't part of Angel's plan, and she realises that she's not cut out for this yet, that she's basically been screwed around.
We end with Total and Akila's wedding... nah... we end up with Fang leaving. He goes off on his own, because 'he's a distraction for Max, and not good for her' a la Twilight. Where he goes is not explained. Angel's sudden reacceptance by the flock is not either.
--There's also a few blog inserts in the back... mainly Fang's thoughts on events in the book.
There is no Scientist Slashyness. But the portrayal of the 'whitecoats' is more 3D and accurate than ever before. It's not written with as much Max-bias. Although, damn, is Max ever biased and unstable in this one. And paranoid. Yeesh. But she begins to learn that her actions have consequences. And a bodycount.
Dylan is a non-event. Max is attracted to him, yes. She thinks about him, yes. He and Fang have a few discussions, yes. But he's way, way too passive as a character to take much notice of. He's never a threat to teh Faxness. He's just...there.
Angel is unbalanced. Hell, it's even said in conversation when Angel threatens Max. She's a bit like Max but worse, and actually after power. She wants things her way, and boy, does she get surprised when her plans fuck up. Somebody is definitely pulling her strings, and this will be something to watch.
Dr. G-H is probably the best 'villain' we've ever had. He's trying to change the world, doesn't care what people think of him. Wants Max's help willingly, but will get her whether she wants to or not. He's not into ridiculous monologues, or pointless ploys. He's smarter than that. And he's damn good at manipulating the flock, especially Angel.
The whole book reads smarter and more mature. Quite frankly, you could tack it on to the end of STW and, with a few edits, call it good, actually a part of the series. Unlike that other crap TFW and MAX.
I'd give it a seven out of ten. (And I wouldn't buy it. But it was worth a read.)
I honestly think this book will go over the heads of most readers. They just won't understand it - a smart villain, the manipulations, the change in flock dynamics.
Oh damn, the squees will not be happy with that ending. Fang leaving. Okay, so he's not dead. But he's pretty gone. Dylan sticks around. And he's not evil, he's not even that hateable for any reason.
Everyone will be pissed about Angel. On the other hand, expect Fang/Angel and Max/Dylan fanfic to skyrocket.
Jeb is now a good guy, even in Max's books. This will make some people unhappy.
Makes us happy though.
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