The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
ISBN – 13: 978-0-385-73794-4
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is blank.
But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Glader’s don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.
The Glader’s were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up – the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might find their way home…wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.
And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Smething is telling him that he just might have some answers – if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.
I really enjoyed The Maze Runner, and I cannot wait for the sequel! There were only minor issues keeping this book from being a five heart rating for me, but let’s start with the good.
The idea that teens are being sent to live in a maze, with no memories of who they are, why they’re there, or what they’re supposed to do (other than solve the maze)? Brilliant. I loved it. The fact that these kids are surviving as best they can, while knowing that they are most likely just an experiment is amazing.
Thomas, our main character, was awesome. I felt connected with him almost right away, from his first moments of terror (he has no memory, remember. I’d be terrified too if I had no idea what was going on), to his slowly growing fear that he has something to do with the maze and the Gladers being there, and his eventual resolve to get them out, and safe, at all costs.
Dashner’s writing was overall engaging, fluid and smooth, though there was a moment in the first few chapters where I didn’t know if I’d actually enjoy this book. The writing in the first chapter is a bit choppy and abrupt, but I figure that was to help set the mood of the fear and uncertainty that Thomas is going through since the rest of the novel read fine for me (thank God. I really dislike too many ubrupt sentences in a row). The other thing that almost threw me off was the language. And no, it’s no vulgar. The Maze Runner is one of those books that utilizes ‘made up’ words, the two most notable being klunk (which you realize almost right away refers to fecal matter), shank (which I’m still fuzzy on the meaning of) and shuck-face (likewise, still fuzzy, though you understand the general meaning from the way the words are used in dialogue). Thankfully, their use became few and far between as the book continued and Thomas became used to his new home.
The blurb on the book jacket references the mysterious girl that gets sent to the Glade the day after Thomas. I thought her character would be much more prominent than she was. I didn’t really end up feeling much for Teresa, besides acknowledging that she’s important to the plot, Thomas, and hopefully the sequel(s). Besides Thomas, the character I connected with the most was Minho, the leader of the runners. His personality is electric and I got a sense of him immediately. Unlike Teresa and a few of the other more main characters, Minho was quite three dimensional and well developed. I hope we get to see more interaction with some of the others in the next book.
I felt the plot had a good pace, with a fast and sharp climax at the end and a small twist that good readers will have seen half of coming, and a larger twist that made me feel incredibly sad for our Gladers. Can I be any more vague? I just don’t want to give away spoilers because to spoil this book will ruin it.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Maze Runner, and I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel(s). I highly recommend this for anyone, especially if you like dystopias.
This book is also part of the dystopYA challenges.