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IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WAS MAXIMUM RIDE.
A girl. A fighter. A leader.
A superhuman with a mission to save the world.
She's gone to the ends of the earth seeking her destiny.
AND NOW THE END ISN'T NEAR...
Max and the Flock prepare to go to a private school called Newton, while they live in Oregon in a house Nino Pierpont gave them. Though Max is unhappy about it, she just cannot say no to Dylan when he makes Bambi eyes at her, and she caves in.
Max is watching T.V. until it stops working; when this happens, Iggy fixes it. The news reporters are talking about a new group called the 99 Percenters who are quickly growing into a powerful group. However, they don't know what their purpose is.
Dylan comes in and Max snaps at him, telling him that they will be late. Dylan points out that Max is still in her pajamas.
At school, a teacher tells Dylan to capture Fang so they can perform tests on him, but Dylan refuses to do so. The teacher tell him that they will kill or hurt Max if he doesn't, which scares Dylan.
Meanwhile, Fang and his gang are caught up with a new threat: the Apocalypticas (more commonly known as the 99 Percenters). When they hit the road, they're attacked by two monster trucks. Ratchet had sensed blood—"lots of it"—an hour before, but no one believed him, thinking it must have been some desert animal. Within those monster trucks are Erasers and Ari, who has yet again risen from the dead. There is a fight, which ends when Maya battles Ari and dies in Fang's arms when he flies up to catch her as she was falling from the sky. Fang mistook Maya as Max when she was falling: " . . . her mouth open in a perfect O, caught in mid-sentence, drawing in . . . To tell him everything that had never been said. That she’d still be there for him, like she always had. That he shouldn’t have left her and the flock . . . That she loved him."
Mindless with grief, Fang still has to deal with the betrayal of Star and Kate, and, after they walk away, Fang tells Ratchet and Holden to go home and forget everything that had happened with him and the gang.
As he is resting in a graveyard and thinking about Max and Dylan and the flock, he is told by the Voice that he has to go home to Max. While he is traveling on foot (one of the bones in Fang's wing was broken when he rushed up to catch Maya), Fang meets some three beefy-looking guys (who possibly work for the 99 Percenters) who ask him if he needs a ride…and end up throwing him off a cliff.
Angel has a vision of this, as well as Maya dying. However, she thinks it is Max who died. When she hears Fang tell his group Maya is dead, she feels relieved. Then she feels guilty about it.
Meanwhile, Max and Dylan are having a date in a treehouse that Dylan built. Their candlelit dinner is interrupted by Nudge, Iggy, and Gazzy spying on them. Their Voices have told them to record everything so they have a video camera which they filmed Max and Dylan's kiss with. Max, in a fit of anger, kicks the table, causing the candle to fall over. This sets fire to the tree and the treehouse. Once the Flock gets to safety she apologizes to Dylan saying that the treehouse was the most beautiful thing that she had ever seen. Dylan tells her that she's the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.
An alarm goes off that night and the Flock sees Fang coming. Max and him reconcile, making Dylan very angry. Fang tells them about a comment on his blog saying that a kid named Mazin Nourahmed knows where Angel is. They go to where he said Angel was.
(Earlier in the book, Angel had described how smoke filled the building and how the whitecoats had left her clamped to the table.) The rest of the Flock sees the fire. Once it dies down they go inside the building to search for Angel. They find the dead bodies of whitecoats in a circle suggesting they knew what was going to happen. They see Mark again; this time, he has some sort of disease, and jumps out of the window onto the broken concrete and dies. They find Angel, and it turns out that she is not completely blind, for as she says, "Everything is kind of a blur." Reunited, the flock heads back to Oregon.
Dylan watches Fang and Max reconsiling from miles away. He is angry and goes into the town causing destruction to store banners, electric wires, etc. The Flock sees this on T.V. and Max goes out to find him, but can't.
At night, the alarms go off again. The Flock runs out thinking that it is Dylan. However, it is Jeb, Ari, and a hundred other Erasers. Jeb tells them that Fang has to die as he has a gene which is the next link to immortality and scientists will try to hunt him down to get it. Max refuses to let that happen and knocks out Jeb. Dylan comes in and kills Ari which kills all the Erasers as they are connected. He then tries to kill Fang and almost succeeds until Max begs him not to. He then leaves.
Dr. Martinez comes and explains that she was brainwashed by Jeb and tells them that Nino Pierpont will take all of them to a safe place in his jet. They bring Jeb along and leave him in the plane under guard when they get to a tropical island paradise. All of them have their own treehouse on the island (including Total and Akila who share one) which was designed to suit their personality. They also see other enhanced kids who live there.
During a party, Dr. Martinez explains that a deadly disease called H8E has been released to kill all the humans. The bird-kids are immune to it and the others who are on the island are safe because precautions have been set up to prevent the disease from coming. If it did happen, there are underground caves that they can go into and live in until the disease dies out.
Iggy and Ella see each other again and kiss.
Fang and Max are kissing in Max's tree house when Dylan comes down. They are both furious to see him. He says that he saw something large that he can't describe from above and everyone has to go down to the caves. Max and Fang refuse to believe him. He then says that he will tell everyone else to leave and then come back up there and if Max decides to stay and die he will do the same.
Max sees the people going down into the caves. She sees her flock and tells them to stay, but only Angel hears her. She says they have to go, but Max disagrees. Angel says that Max should listen to her because Max always listens to the Voice…and then Angel reveals that she is the Voice.
Max says that she will go die with the humans. Fang tells Max that whatever the outcome, they'll face it together. Angel is upset and flies away.
Then the sky bursts into flames and rips in half, making it very hot. Max and Fang try to fly away, but soon there is an explosion that knocks both of them out of the sky.
Max is unable to fly away now—the fall broke her wing. That is when they see a giant tsunami. Max suddenly realizes that they are going to die.
Fang says he loves Max, and holds her face with his hands, and she understands that it would be okay. They kiss multiple times before the water swallows them.
In the first epilogue, Max is talking to the reader. She says that she is the luckiest girl in the world because she died in the arms of the person she truly loved. She says that she knows the reader is wondering, like Max herself is wondering whether she really was supposed to save the world or if it was all a lie. She wonders whether her life was a metaphor for what we're all supposed to do with our lives, that we can't leave anything up to fate or chance or for someone else to clean up. Or whether it was a lesson that you have to seize the day and hold on to your loved ones. She hopes that in the end her life meant all of those things. She says she hears Fang calling her from far away and she doesn't know what's next but she's ready to see. She tells the reader to save their own world; to love it; to respect it; and to not let haters represent it.
In the second epilogue, Max is underwater, but she thinks she is dead. She hears singing that sounds like "strangled whales". It feels good. She sighs with relief…and realizes that she is breathing, alive, and underwater. Dylan pulls her out. Fang and Angel are also there.
The island has been broken into many smaller, charred islands. Dylan and Fang go to see if there is anything left of the treehouse village. While they are doing this, Angel enters Dr. Martinez's thoughts and says that they are alive in the underground caves, monitoring satellite connection all over the world. Elsewhere, whole countries may be covered in water, ash, or flame. Seeing the island half-flooded and left with only towering cliffs and trees, Max thinks to herself she and the others were made to survive in this world. Fang returns and they kiss, and she tells the reader that this is the time of Maximum Ride.
- The novel's book trailer depicts Max as a redhead.
- Nevermore was originally intended to be the final book in the Maximum Ride series; however, a ninth "encore" book—Maximum Ride Forever—was released in May 2015.