“Nice to meet ya, shank,” the boy asid. “Welcome to the Glade.”
Other books in the series: Book 2: The Scorch Trials
The Maze Runner
By James Dashner
Am I the only one who thought it was funny that a guy called Dashner wrote a book called the Maze Runner? Yes? Oh… Okay.
The Maze Runner starts off quite dramatically with the introduction of the main character, who is in a black box with nothing: no memories, no understanding of who he is, no idea where he is or what he is doing, only that he is in a black box and that his name is Thomas.
Then suddenly, the box begins to move, upwards. It’s a lift. When it stops its jerky motions, hands reach down into the box and pull Thomas out. He is brought into the Glade. Around him are maybe sixty kids, all boys, ranging from ten to seventeen in age— the Gladers. It’s bright and sunny here and surprisingly orderly.
But Thomas soon finds out that this is no paradise. The Glade is surrounded by a maze full of horrible monsters called Grievers. The kids aren’t here for summer camp—they’re trapped. One boy is delivered in the lift each month, and supplies are given weekly, though the boys have no idea by who. The Gladers believe that the maze around them can be solved, but their attempts have been futile and occasionally deadly.
When Thomas arrives, he throws things out of balance, saying that he wants to be a Runner, one of the kids who explore the Maze. He breaks rules, make enemies and then, a girl appears in the box a day after Thomas. Two deliveries in one month has never happened before, and they’ve never had a girl either. She comes in sickly and bearing a message that will change everything and flip the Glader’s world upside down.
Well, to begin with, I must say that I rather enjoyed this book. In many ways, it reminded me of the Hunger Games. It’s got a lot of kids, trapped somewhere, fighting to survive. And it was reminiscent of Lord of the Flies as well. But at the same time, Maze Runner was kind of doing its own thing. The kids weren’t desperate like they were in the Hunger Games and their society had order, unlike Lord of the Flies.
I found the plot interesting. There were many puzzles set before the Gladers that I tried to solve on my own and I was usually surprised to see their course of action. The Maze Runner had a good balance of action and explanation. There was a lot to discover about this world, but there’s a lot of danger too, and Dashner managed to both make me understand and keep me entertained.
The writing was well paced, though some people might find the beginning a little slow as they wait for events foretold in cover flaps to take place. Personally, I thought that if it had been sped up more, things would have felt rushed.
One thing I really enjoyed were the descriptive parts of the book because I think they really matched the tone, the story’s mood. The words used made things seem terrifying, grotesque, and very real. At times, things got a little gory, which I didn’t mind, but some people with weak stomachs might. My warning to young readers is such: if you were allowed to read the Hunger Games, you’ll probably be allowed to read this.
Thomas was a character I easily identified with. The other characters in the story– Teresa, Newt, Alby, Chuck–were crafted nicely. They ranged from annoying to engrossing and nobody was the same. Their actions suited the story and their personalities. The only thing that bothered me with them is that Thomas’s opinions of them would often be repeated, overstated. Or Thomas would make up his mind and then a chapter later, change it, which happened with some other things too. It’s not terribly confusing but it definitely didn’t add to the book.
That was probably one of the only things I didn’t like about the book. The other was that the ending, though it wasn’t totally out of the blue or anything, was sudden, the change of scenes, drastic. It comes quickly and you barely have a moment to catch your breath before the book ends, and then you want more.
I’ve looked it up already; there will be a sequel. But it’s coming out later this year.
My final thoughts? This book was clever, and exciting. I enjoyed reading it and finished in two days. There was action, there was drama and there was a twist you’ll never see coming at the end. It’s a good introduction to Dashner’s work and the series. I’m very excited to see where this is going. Seeing as I was totally engrossed, I think others will be too.
0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…
1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.
2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.
3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.
4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).
5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.
6 and above. What I want my book to be.