The Maze Runner by: James Dashner

Book: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Young Adult/dystopia
Publishing details:
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary:

Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You’re in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids — the Runners — venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines.

Thomas is the newest arrival to the Glade in this Truman-meets-Lord of the Flies tale. A motley crew of half a dozen kids is all he has to guide him in this strange world. As soon as he arrives, unusual things begin to happen, and the others grow suspicious of him. Though the Maze seems somehow familiar to Thomas, he’s unable to make sense of the place, despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. What is this place, and does Thomas hold the key to finding a way out?

Why did I read this book?:

This was one of the books recommended to read after The Hunger Games Trilogy.

Reaction/Review:

To be quit frank I expected more out of this book.  It was good but to me read as more concept based rather than character driven.

At the beginning of the story I just didn’t feel that click and so I spent some time trying to figure out why this wasn’t working for me. The things I find I struggle with in my own writing seamed in strong evidence here.  I find sometimes my sentences can be clunky and I will add description in after the fact, when it interrupts the flow of the narrative. I found there was a lot of withholding information to keep the reader interested when as far as story went they shouldn’t have.  When Thomas first comes to the glade they should have been way more forthcoming with him.  Instead they are cryptic and not answering his questions and why. Because they can.

The bright side though is that it is an interesting concept based story.  You have a bunch of kids running around a maze/death trap trying to figure out how to solve the puzzle, all for the sake of government experimentation. I’m torn about how I feel about this. If the world really is as bad as it seams and this is there only hope I might be able to forgive them.  BUT if it is not then I want some serious amount of revenge to take place.

We get to know a few of the gliders pretty well, but the rest are just bodies by the way side. Even those we do know who get killed are kind of horrible characters so we feel almost like cheering. I think this book could have been vastly improved by creating more connections to the kids that die and are sacrificed. Besides the one at the end I would have appreciated more of an emotional connection to my characters.

On a quirkier note though, I did find myself picking up their slang and swearwords

Final Thoughts:

It’s a great opener to a series if you like lots of cliff hangers with very little answers.  It relied on action to drive them book, but also the withholding of information. I kept turning the pages looking for answers to the questions posed, but for every answer two new questions formed and the meet kept constantly dangling with no end in sight.  It is a fascinating concept but I really wish the last book were out for me to read and find out if it was all worth it.

Rating: 6/10

 

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