The Maze Runner

Yes, another teen book. This one didn’t even have a pretty cover or swirly font… it did have a really interesting premise and a compelling synopsis on the back flap. For some reason I will almost always buy/read a book if it has to do with a maze, labyrinth, or obstacle course… arena… type thing. For example, my favorite Harry Potter book: Goblet of Fire (actually this book and that book have a lot in common – mainly an ever-changing maze filled with dangerous other-worldly creatures… that’s about it).

Also, The Hunger Games. It took me years of convincing to read that book and once I did, I loved it (not because it’s so well written, it’s not, but it is damn entrancing). I would say the same thing about The Maze Runner; not extremely well written, but damn entrancing. It’s been while since I read The Hunger Games, and when I did I read it so fast I hardly had time to sit and contemplate the writing style, but I do remember that it was filled with sentence fragments and a complete overuse of periods. However, I think it worked for the story – short, choppy, fast paced. At some point it becomes more the character’s voice than it does the author’s writing style and we as readers not only accept it, we expect it. The Maze Runner is similar; there’s not a lot of detail or description, the writing isn’t exceptional, and there’s not a flowery sentence to be found but somehow it all works for the feel of the story.

*Other notable titles; Labyrinth by Kate Mosse and The Rose Labyrinth by Titania Hardie. 

The Maze Runner by James Dashner StarStarStarStar

Thomas wakes up in a dark elevator with no memory of how he got there or of his life before the elevator ride. When the doors finally open he finds himself in a grassy glade full of teenage b0ys surrounded by a giant, deadly maze. None of the boys remember their lives before the glade but they’re determined to solve the puzzle and get back to the homes they’re sure they’ve been taken from. For two years the group has been organizing and following a strict daily routine – Thomas’s arrival (and the subsequent arrival of a beautiful and unfortunately comatose girl) changes everything. Thomas, like the rest of the gladers, want’s to escape, but he knows something they don’t know… if only he could remember what it was.

Like I said, this book was not extremely well written. First of all, the characters were shallow and pretty much devoid of emotion. I didn’t feel sympathetic for any of them despite the horrible situation they found themselves in. The main character, Thomas, annoyed me. He spent the whole book thinking to himself “what’s going on?” and never getting an answer. From anyone. Very frustrating. The one flicker of sadness I felt while reading this book was towards the very end and had to do with a side character. Secondly, it seemed like Dashner was constantly taking the easy way out (I guess that’s the beauty of dystopian fiction – can’t figure out how to save your characters from imminent death? Create a magical futuristic device that saves the day!). The end seemed rushed and the “solution” was a little too convenient. Thirdly, a girl shows up, in a plot full of boys. She’s beautiful and mysterious and Thomas finds himself uncontrollably attracted to her – like they’re connected somehow… blah, blah, blah. I just described the romance plot of every teen novel ever written. Gimme a break.

Anyway, this book did have good points, I did give it 4/5 stars after all. Despite Dashner’s lack of description, he imagined up a ridiculously compelling mystery. Every single chapter ended in a cliff hanger that kept me reading late into the night. I absolutely had to know what was going on in that maze and how they were going to solve it. I had to know who the creators were and why the boys were trapped in their experiment like lab rats. I had to know what the world outside the maze had come to.

The ending was just the right amount of satisfying and suspenseful; the solution to the maze only opened the doors to an even bigger problem and I was surprised at the turn it took (*ahem* zombies). I spent the last chapter debating on whether or not I would read the sequel – the epilogue convinced me. I can’t tell what’s real or who to trust and I’m dying to know more.

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