Maximillian Fly

Maximillian Fly

The tale of Maximillian Fly—a human with cockroach features—whose quiet life is upended when he aids two human children in their escape from an oppressive governing power. Maximillian Fly wants no trouble. Yet because he stands at six feet two, with beautiful indigo wings, long antennae, and more arms than you or me, many are frightened of him. He is a gentle creature that...

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Title:Maximillian Fly
Author:Angie Sage
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Maximillian Fly Reviews

  • Hsu Lee

    I voluntarily offered to review this book with no obligations and my opinions are honest!

    This was a great book !

    Maximillian is a hybrid human + cockroach.

    He has not being treated kindly because of what he is.

    Still, he is kind and good.

    When he see 2 children in need of saving, he does not hesitate.

    Because of this kind action, his life has been changed forever.

    Loved the characters + the storytelling !

    It has all the ingredients that you need for a great book!

  • Tena Bremmer

    I received this book free from Harper Childrens through Goodreads. Being over 50 this book isn't really age appropriate for me but I thoroughly enjoyed it!! Would love to see this made into a movie, my grandchildren would love it!! It is a book I will hang onto until they are at the age to read it. Thanks you again Harper Children's!!

  • Betsy

    If you are going to make up a world, be it good or be it bad, I sincerely hope you commit to the bit. Think things through. Work out the details. Plan out the plumbing (so to speak). A poorly realized fictional world can either be painful or a bore (or painfully boring, I suppose). Most are middling. They'll sport perfectly serviceable locations but not the kinds of places that inextricably suck you in. Now consider the case of Angie Sage. The book

    isn’t her first time at the rod

    If you are going to make up a world, be it good or be it bad, I sincerely hope you commit to the bit. Think things through. Work out the details. Plan out the plumbing (so to speak). A poorly realized fictional world can either be painful or a bore (or painfully boring, I suppose). Most are middling. They'll sport perfectly serviceable locations but not the kinds of places that inextricably suck you in. Now consider the case of Angie Sage. The book

    isn’t her first time at the rodeo, not by a long shot. Librarians like myself probably associate her primarily with the Septimus Heap series or, to a lesser extent, Araminta Spookie. I really haven’t read either of those, so the allure of this book was probably very much a case of (A) knowing the author was a proven writer and (B) there was a gigantic cockroach man standing on the cover, clearly constructed by the artist Red Nose Studio. That cover was basically tailor made for people like me. And the book, spoiler alert, is remarkable, often because the world building is sublime. Would you want to live in the city of Hope? No. But it breathes off the page. It smells. It pulsates. In

    Sage has built a remarkable story that will land hard with the right kind of audience. The kid that wants desperately to be challenged, is willing to walk with heroes through dark and terrible dangers, but who needs that happy ending to round it all out when all is said and done. This is for them.

    “I am Fly. Maximillian Fly. I am a good creature. I am not bad, as some will tell you.” Considering that Maximillian is a human/cockroach hybrid of sorts, this is not particularly surprising news. What is surprising is that in spite of the harsh life he’s endured, on the day that he spots two children attempting to escape their captors, he decides to help them out. That action, however, has massive consequences. Kaitlin Drew and her little brother Jonno have a stolen piece of technology hidden on them. As a result, dark forces are conspiring to get the children and what they carry. What they don’t know is that Maximillian and the kids are now inextricably linked together, and untangling their relationship and the truth of where they live will prove to be the adventure of a lifetime.

    One of the most engaging aspects of the book is visible from the very first page. Child and adult readers are fairly used to intrusive narrators by now. If the Lemony Snicket books didn’t introduce you to the concept then the Kate DiCamillo books did. Maximillian addresses the reader on the very first page and it all seems perfectly normal. Or rather, it would if Maximillian weren’t continually mentioning the fact that there even is a silent observer. He seems aware of his audience and, more interestingly, moved to impress it. Even that didn’t strike me as too different, until we get to the moment when his friend Parminter reveals that she too is aware of the reader’s presence, and is uncertain how to deal with that information. It was about that time that I realized that what we had here was something rather remarkable. This isn’t a book with an intrusive narrator at all. No, sir, this is the far rarer intrusive READER! I have never seen the like. Honestly, classes that teach how to write novels for children should pair this book with M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin’s

    . Put them together and you’d have an Intrusive Reader on the one hand and an Unreliable Visual Narrator on the other. Brilliant!

    You cannot plunge readers into a world of human/cockroach hybrids without engaging writing. Do it poorly and your central conceit will fail you before you’ve even begun. But Sage writes with a surety that you can’t help but admire. Right from the start, she heads off at the pass a problem I have with a lot of books that sport multiple narrators. Each chapter heading contains a little symbol or two or three, indicating which characters will be speaking during that chapter. I love this. Not once did I ever question who was speaking and when. Then there are Sage's descriptions. The sense of place is writ deep in the bones of the book. Just listen to this passage:

    “I look up at the tall buildings that rear up on either side of us, their red and yellow bricks blackened by smoke from illegal coal fires, their windows thick with grime because who wants to waste precious water cleaning windows.”

    Gal can write. Even the relationships between the characters, their motivations, their arguments, all of that feels so authentic and true. In one instance the villain is facing off against someone she used to know well and, for just a moment, a spark between the two of them that hints at what their relationship may have been like long ago. Sure the villain is pretty unsalvageable, but that spark at least hints at her having been a complicated person once. Finally, it may be the writing that initially sucks you in but it’s the aforementioned world building that will keep you from ever letting go. Consider how well Sage sets up Hope’s twisted society. For example, she’ll pepper the chapters with little subtle mentions of how this world is striated. Like, if a family takes on a “Roach” name (Roaches are only allowed certain approved names) then no one in the family can be employed in schools, hospitals, cafes or restaurants. These mentions are dropped in passing, but their contribution to the whole is huge.

    Only two little plot points have become the flies in my ointment (forgive me). They aren’t huge inconveniences, but nagging little dangling threads. The first concerns Kaitlin Drew herself. In a key moment, Kaitlin in the process of actually fooling the SilverSeed baddies. She has a chance to run for freedom. Then, at the last moment, she walks right back in to her doom. This change of heart isn’t adequately explained. According to the book, Kaitlin was acting like a true believer so well that she actually fooled herself along with everyone else. I don’t buy that for a red-hot minute (not after considering who she had to sacrifice in the process). But it’s not a deal breaker. Also not a deal breaker, but rather annoying, are the night roaches. Set up as baddies from the get go, I expected to see a lot more of them in the book. Yet oddly, Sage chooses to only have one sequence where one of our heroes is hunted by a roach. As a result, I expected an even greater night roach sequence near the end. Instead, Sage pretty much forgets about them, choosing to move her climax in a different direction. The night roaches are convenient methods of moving the plot along but they’re just that. Faceless boogeymen that don’t get their moment in the sun. One wonders if there was a sequence involving them that was edited out at some point.

    It’s always so hard to categorize books like

    . I won’t lie, there are dark dealings here. You’re better off handing this to a reader that likes those dark elements. This book is many things but bedtime storytime reading it is not. Older child readers, middle schoolers really, are probably the ideal audience. After all, this is a book with lines like “Mama taught me all about deferred gratification.” Reading it as an adult I found myself growing far too emotionally anxious at times to go on. I often would skip ahead to determine who lived and who died. This is actually rather difficult to ascertain, since the book kills off far less people than seem to walk off to their own certain demise. The body count is there, but it’s mostly made up of baddies. My conclusion then is that this is a book for the smart kids with a goth streak. The ones that require pulse pounding action from the first page, but don’t mind swaths of exposition from time to time. Most of all, this is a book for kids that might find a post-apocalyptic dystopian wasteland an appealing place to spend their time. Particularly when you are in the company of someone as sweet and charming as Maximilian. It’s not for everyone. It was never meant to be. But it is good and strong and fun and desperately exciting. You have been warned.

    For ages 10 and up.

  • P.M.

    The Contagion was spreading and threatened to wipe out all of humanity. So the geneticists of Hope asked themselves what could survive. The answer was a cockroach so they spliced cockroach DNA into humans. The result was that some human babies cocooned and became hybrids. Fast forward to the beginning of the story when we meet Maximillian Fly who is a Roach. He is a shy and gentle being who decides to prove his goodness by rescuing two children who are being chased by Enforcers. As the story pro

    The Contagion was spreading and threatened to wipe out all of humanity. So the geneticists of Hope asked themselves what could survive. The answer was a cockroach so they spliced cockroach DNA into humans. The result was that some human babies cocooned and became hybrids. Fast forward to the beginning of the story when we meet Maximillian Fly who is a Roach. He is a shy and gentle being who decides to prove his goodness by rescuing two children who are being chased by Enforcers. As the story progresses, more information is revealed and Maximillian finds more than he ever thought he could. Since I loved the Septimus Heap And Todhunter Moon series, I grabbed this book. It did not disappoint. Maximillian was a great character as was Parminter. I'm not sure if kids would pick up on the blatant prejudice of the government of the city or not. The Final Solution for the unwanted children was horrifying.

  • Stealth Journals

    Young readers are sure to enjoy Maximillian Fly's story. This is a very different flavor of tale from those of you accustomed to Septimus Heap and Araminta Spookie. Imagine a world where people are so desperate to escape the Contagion, that they inject a bit of cockroach DNA into themselves. After all, cockroaches can survive anything, right? As I read deeper and deeper, I couldn't help but wonder if this is a political cautionary tale...

    What happens when a totalitarian government decides who li

    Young readers are sure to enjoy Maximillian Fly's story. This is a very different flavor of tale from those of you accustomed to Septimus Heap and Araminta Spookie. Imagine a world where people are so desperate to escape the Contagion, that they inject a bit of cockroach DNA into themselves. After all, cockroaches can survive anything, right? As I read deeper and deeper, I couldn't help but wonder if this is a political cautionary tale...

    What happens when a totalitarian government decides who lives and dies for population control, and who is a traitor who must be "Astroed?" What is happening on the Outside? Is the Contagion still running rampant, or are people living freely?

    Are we sure this is a children's book at all? So many questions!

    Remember kids, when the time comes, don't get on the ship. You will not be traveling to the island. Don't go gently into that good night. AND -- "one must never be parted from one's bear." This is also generally good advice.

  • Anne

    Another wonderful book by Angie Sage! I'm a big fan of her Septimus Heap series, so I was overjoyed to win an ARC of this book courtesy of HarperChildrens and Katharine Tegen Books.

    The world-building is excellent, and you are immediately immersed in the gray dystopia of the city of Hope. Despite being a six-foot human cockroach, Maximilian Fly, the main character, is a gentle, shy individual who justs wants to live his life in peace. But on the night the story opens, Maximilian sees two young "w

    Another wonderful book by Angie Sage! I'm a big fan of her Septimus Heap series, so I was overjoyed to win an ARC of this book courtesy of HarperChildrens and Katharine Tegen Books.

    The world-building is excellent, and you are immediately immersed in the gray dystopia of the city of Hope. Despite being a six-foot human cockroach, Maximilian Fly, the main character, is a gentle, shy individual who justs wants to live his life in peace. But on the night the story opens, Maximilian sees two young "wingless" humans -- humans whose DNA lacks the cockroach mutation that affects a portion of Hope's population -- fleeing from the Enforcers, and he decides to help them. This act of kindness turns his life inside-out.

    Maximilian's way of speaking takes a little bit of getting used to, as it is somewhat stilted and oddly formal. But as odd as he is, and despite being a large sentient cockroach, he is a character of great pathos. You will be rooting for him soon enough. And while the book is written for pre-teens, older children and adults will like it, too (although they may pick up on the clues that get dropped sooner than the younger ones will. Clues to what, you say? Nope, I'm not telling.).

    The novel is all first-person narration, with Maximilian and four other characters as the narrators. I don't usually have an issue with this sort of narration, but I don't think it was handled as well as it could have. Most books that switch narrators will just put the name of the narrator at the beginning of their section. Instead of names, this book assigned an icon to each narrator and put the icons at the beginning of each narrator's section. There were two problems that I had with this format: 1. The five icons were small, and not all of them were distinct enough to be able to recognize them easily (if you read quickly, it was too easy to either get the icon at the beginning of each section mixed up with another icon, or miss it completely); and 2. There was a key to the icons at the front of the book, so each time you encountered a new icon (or if you forgot which icon went with which narrator) you had to go back to the key. It would have been so much easier to just use the narrators' names.

    Other than the issue with the icons, I truly enjoyed this book, and I was honestly hoping that it would be a series rather than a stand-alone novel. I hope that Ms. Sage considers writing another book featuring the gentleman cockroach Maximilian Fly. He's too good a character for just one book.

  • Karen Parisot

    Maximillian is a very large Roach, very large as in huge. His parents were human, and he was born human, but during his infancy he cocooned and became a Roach. He lives in Hope, a city encased in a huge orb that protects it from the Contagion infecting the rest of the world. The city is run by the cruel Guardian and the merciless Enforcers who follow her. One night Maximillian dares to help two young children who are being pursued by a squad of Enforcers.

    An action adventure story that middle gra

    Maximillian is a very large Roach, very large as in huge. His parents were human, and he was born human, but during his infancy he cocooned and became a Roach. He lives in Hope, a city encased in a huge orb that protects it from the Contagion infecting the rest of the world. The city is run by the cruel Guardian and the merciless Enforcers who follow her. One night Maximillian dares to help two young children who are being pursued by a squad of Enforcers.

    An action adventure story that middle graders will absolutely love. Maximillian Fly is an adorable character, who struggles with prejudice against his kind and has a hard time believing in himself. He grew up with only his cold, demeaning mother, but is slowly coming into his own. The story is told from multiple points of view and every now and then the characters talk directly to the reader. The author has done a superb job of world building. She paints such a gloomy, grim picture of Hope and its downtrodden citizenry. It really enhances the story. Any young reader who enjoys a great story with lots of action, lovable heroes and fantastical elements will be captivated by this book.

  • Monica Edinger

    Unique and engrossing; dark and hopeful. (Otherwise it would be unbearable:) Sage tackles a lot here --- Pyscho-level evil, dystopic stuff galore (DNA tampering, climate, fake news, and more), and brave and wonderful children. Made me think at times of Collins' Gregor and DuPrau's The City of Ember series.

  • Lata

    The wonderful image created by Red Nose Studios for this book's cover convinced me to pick this up.

    Despite the 1) coincidence-laden story, 2) evil-with-no-nuance baddie and 3) too pat story resolution, there were so many things I liked in this story:

    -A delightfully kind and gentle main character, Maximillian Fly

    -The friendship between Parminter and Maximillian

    -Parminter's strength and kindness, and her relationship with her mother

    -Kaitlin's resourcefulness

    -The baddie who gets properly (though a

    The wonderful image created by Red Nose Studios for this book's cover convinced me to pick this up.

    Despite the 1) coincidence-laden story, 2) evil-with-no-nuance baddie and 3) too pat story resolution, there were so many things I liked in this story:

    -A delightfully kind and gentle main character, Maximillian Fly

    -The friendship between Parminter and Maximillian

    -Parminter's strength and kindness, and her relationship with her mother

    -Kaitlin's resourcefulness

    -The baddie who gets properly (though a little too easily) defeated

    -Max's decision to return the teapot to his mother

    -The author’s treatment of weighty subjects that she doesn't sugar-coat for her readers:

    -The tiered society and the consequent racism, thanks to the genetic mods that are expressed in some individuals within the population

    -Child abuse

    -Bullying behaviour

    -Betrayals and murder

    -The torture and murder of individuals who don't comply

    -The murder of children

    I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story, and how much I loved Maximillian.

  • Matthew Parks

    I struggle to give a concise review or rating for this book. Entertainment level isn't super high, but it's engaging enough. On many levels, it's a fantastic dystopian book for middle-school ages in some ways, but it also presents immoral behaviors as not only justifiable, but normal and expected "under the circumstances." This aspect may go right over some kids' heads, however.

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