When the Wind Blows (1998), to which this is a sequel, has been Patterson's "most successful novel around the world," according to an author's note. That novel, about children genetically engineered to fly, also thrilled most critics. This one won't, despite some charms, and the reason manifests itself in the three paragraphs-paragraphs, mind-that begin chapter 41: "They were elated to be together again-the flock! The tribe! The family!" Patterson tends toward shorthand writing, and generally it works in his favor, but the problem here is that exclamation points do not engender deep emotions within readers! Nor do italics. And the novel is strewn with both, as well as with too much dumbed-down prose. The plot isn't much to boast about, either. In the original, Max the flying bird-girl and her "siblings" were menaced by the mad scientists who ran the vile laboratory known as "the School," but were helped in escaping by erstwhile narrator Frannie O'Neill, a veterinarian, and Kit Brennan, an FBI agent. Here, Max and her five siblings are menaced by the mad scientist who runs the vile laboratory known as "the Hospital" but are helped by erstwhile narrator Frannie and Kit. So what's new? Not much, other than a few neat touches (for instance, the villain, Dr. Ethan Kane, is addicted to M&Ms) and-in by far the best section of the novel, not coincidentally one in which Patterson slows down-a truly moving description of how Max and the oldest male bird-child mate. The rest is an extended hunt and chase, as Kane goes after Max and her siblings in a medical conspiracy so outrageously unbelievable that readers will blink in wonder. The pages move like the wind that lifts Max's wings, of course, but Patterson can, and has, done far better than this. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Frannie and Kit-a veterinarian and an FBI agent, respectively-rescue six very unusual children from an illegal genetic engineering facility called "The School." Although the kids all have biological parents, Frannie and Kit seek to be named their legal guardians. They know the children need to be protected from further harm, while learning to live with their unusual physical condition: all six have wings and can fly. Only Maxie, the oldest child, knows that there is another lab, called "The Hospital." There, Dr. Ethan Kane is harvesting organs of unwitting donors to create a master race who will dominate the world. When the doctor comes looking for the children, Frannie and Kit and the kids "take flight." Patterson (The Jester) leaves something to be desired in this novel: the characters are flat and the dialog banal. The outcome is predictable, and loose ends abound. Though well read by Hope Davis and Stephen Lang, this program is not recommended.-Joanna M. Burkhardt, Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Providence Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
This sequel to Patterson’s bestselling, and best, novel (When the Wind Blows, 1998) soars, like its appealing cast, only intermittently. Having been rescued from the genetics lab, the six young clones, half-bird, half-person, are ready for an even rougher battle with a justice system that pits their rescuers--FBI cowboy Thomas Brennan, a.k.a. Kit Harrison, and his lover, veterinary Frannie O’Neill--against the heartbroken natural parents who’d been told they were dead. Since Frannie and Kit have no legal standing in re the children and have known each other only a short time, they’re returned to their four families in Colorado suburbs. While Max, the flock’s leader, stands up to the bullies who taunt her brother Matthew and then gives a ride to a hunky fellow teenager who wants to cop a feel, villainous Dr. Ethan Kane, who hates pets, keeps a Stepford wife at his beck and call, and murders scores of innocent "donors" in pursuit of a visionary nightmare called the Resurrection Project, is closing in on these sitting ducks. Exactly how his prey--Max and Matthew, older teenagers Ozymandias and Icarus, and four-year-old twins Peter and Wendy--fit into Kane’s nefarious, grandiose schemes is no more clear than why anybody hasn’t made inquiries about the hundreds of earlier victims he’s lured into his den at the Hauer Institute. But there’s no doubt that sooner or later the evil Kane will have his quarry caged, now in the company of the beloved protectors on whom they’ve imprinted for life, and will be crowing over them as he contemplates his plans for what amounts to world domination. Patterson’s sensibility dovetails perfectly with that of his prodigies, whose tender feelings and pitch-perfectteenage dialogue are the best things here. It’s only when human grownups have to talk and act that this overblown saga sags.