Maximillian Fly
Globally bestselling author of the Septimus Heap series, Angie Sage, brings forth a gripping and darkly humorous 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. Perfect for fans of Lemony Snicket and Adam Gidwitz.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 looks like a giant cockroach. This extraordinary human wants to prove his goodness, so he opens his door to two SilverSeed children in search of a place to hide. Instantly, Maximillian’s quiet, solitary life changes. There are dangerous powers after them and they have eyes everywhere. But in this gray city of Hope trapped under the Orb, is escape even possible?

Maximillian Fly Details

TitleMaximillian Fly
Author
ReleaseJun 11th, 2019
PublisherKatherine Tegen Books
ISBN-139780062571168
Rating
GenreFantasy, Science Fiction, Childrens, Middle Grade

Maximillian Fly Review

  • Betsy
    January 1, 1970
    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 Maximillian Fly 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 Maximillian Fly 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 Maximillian Fly 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 The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge. 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 Maximillian. 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.
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  • Stealth Journals
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Monica Edinger
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Hsu Lee
    January 1, 1970
    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!
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  • Tena Bremmer
    January 1, 1970
    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!!
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Karen Parisot
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    This is a hard book to categorize. Is it Fantasy? Sci-Fi? Maximillian is a human-sized Roach who lives among humans and other roaches in a city within a dome. The citizens have been told that they are being protected from a contamination and they are also ruled by a Guardian and her soldiers, who sound a little like Stormtroopers. When Maximillian sees a girl and her little brother fleeing some soldiers, he decides to help them, kicking off a series of events that will show that all of the city This is a hard book to categorize. Is it Fantasy? Sci-Fi? Maximillian is a human-sized Roach who lives among humans and other roaches in a city within a dome. The citizens have been told that they are being protected from a contamination and they are also ruled by a Guardian and her soldiers, who sound a little like Stormtroopers. When Maximillian sees a girl and her little brother fleeing some soldiers, he decides to help them, kicking off a series of events that will show that all of the city inhabitants have a lot more in common than anyone realized. The story has a lot of potential, but it ends up becoming just another series of action=packed scenes with no real resonance. I still have a lot of questions about the world Sage has created, but I didn't love the book enough to want to read a sequel if one should ever be written. Kids who like weird will enjoy this. Review from galley.
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  • Jennifer Hill
    January 1, 1970
    Maximillian Fly is a human with cockroach features. Kaitlin and Jonno (two human children) are trying to escape the Enforcers who mean to kill them. Maximillian decides to help them and that begins the story. They live in a town called Hope, which really doesn't have any hope. It is surrounded by an Orb (which is like a force field) and no one comes in or leaves. Kaitlin and Jonno's parents are dead, their brother joined the Enforcers and they are on their own. As the story continues Maximillian Maximillian Fly is a human with cockroach features. Kaitlin and Jonno (two human children) are trying to escape the Enforcers who mean to kill them. Maximillian decides to help them and that begins the story. They live in a town called Hope, which really doesn't have any hope. It is surrounded by an Orb (which is like a force field) and no one comes in or leaves. Kaitlin and Jonno's parents are dead, their brother joined the Enforcers and they are on their own. As the story continues Maximillian and the children become more and more entangled in a fantastical adventure where no one may survive.Great story for those who like things to always go wrong and lots of twists. You'll never see the end coming.
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  • Ollie
    January 1, 1970
    I received an arc of maximillian fly as part of a random instagram giveaway by katherine teigen books.This was such a charming, wonderful story. I loved maximillian, and the atmosphere of hope was oddly nostalgic. I was hesitant to pick this up at first because of the roach on the cover, but i'm insanely glad i gave it a chance. This story contained a lot of plot twists i didn't see coming. I especially loved the representation of verbal abuse, and i was so excited when max dropped that awful te I received an arc of maximillian fly as part of a random instagram giveaway by katherine teigen books.This was such a charming, wonderful story. I loved maximillian, and the atmosphere of hope was oddly nostalgic. I was hesitant to pick this up at first because of the roach on the cover, but i'm insanely glad i gave it a chance. This story contained a lot of plot twists i didn't see coming. I especially loved the representation of verbal abuse, and i was so excited when max dropped that awful teapot. The family reunion made me tear up, which is a rare feat for a book to accomplish. Overall, a wonderful story that greatly encapsulates the theme of middle grade books: the world is not as it seems.
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  • Annarella
    January 1, 1970
    There's a long list of adjective I could use to define this book: engrossing, atmospheric, dystopic, enthralling, and entertaining but, to put it in a nutshell, it's a very good book .I loved the gentle Maximillian as much as I loved his young friends. All characters are well developed and you cannot help rooting for the good ones.The world building is amazing and full of details, the plot is fast paced and flaws without any interruption.A very good and fun read, I look forward to reading other There's a long list of adjective I could use to define this book: engrossing, atmospheric, dystopic, enthralling, and entertaining but, to put it in a nutshell, it's a very good book .I loved the gentle Maximillian as much as I loved his young friends. All characters are well developed and you cannot help rooting for the good ones.The world building is amazing and full of details, the plot is fast paced and flaws without any interruption.A very good and fun read, I look forward to reading other books by this author.Highly recommended!Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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  • Don Brunell
    January 1, 1970
    Adult who loves reading Angie Sage I never thought I would like roaches but after meeting Maximilian Fly they are my friends. You don’t have to be young to Read Angie Sage you just have to be young at heart. This was a great story about diversity!
  • Charlien Church
    January 1, 1970
    Read in one dayAt first it was off-putting reading about a six foot roach but the author’s writing drew me in from the first page. I couldn’t put it down (except for going to work) and read it in one day. A satisfying read.
  • Jill Cd
    January 1, 1970
    This was intriguing. I am not normally a sci-fi fan but this kept me engaged to the very end. Besides being well written, I loved the perspective of the story; it was a delightful way to be included as the plot unraveled. Great for grades 4/5 and up.
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  • Jennifer Myers
    January 1, 1970
    With its dystopian theme and ‘on the edge of your seat’ page turns, this book is sure to keep you rooting for the good guys... roaches and humans, alike!
  • Sandy
    January 1, 1970
    Terrific characters in a twisty dystopian novel for middle grade readers.
  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautifully written, sweet book! I can't count how many times I teared up at random parts in this story with it's dystopian, post plague world, all too real situations, and relatable characters, but most of all Maximillian, for whom this book is named. Max told such a meaningful story and I'm so proud to see how much he has grown from beginning to end.This definitely has to be one of my top 3 favorite books now. Glad I read it! ;v;
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