Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: The Maze Runner - James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner #1
Genre: YA, post-apocalyptic
Published on October 6, 2009
Published by Delacorte Press
Pages: 374
Read From: 11.10.12 - 11.14.12

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 Gladers 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, the 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 Gladers 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. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers - if he only finds a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? No. It simply doesn’t do anything for me. The cover isn’t what attracted me to the book; other peoples’ reviews is what got me to read it.

Characters: Thomas, our protagonist, is surprisingly likable. He’s tough and smart and resourceful, but he’s also caring and continually fights against the idea of being controlled. The other Gladers vary a lot from each other, each one likable in their different ways. Alby is the leader, and Newt his “second,” who steps up into the leadership role when Alby goes mental. Gally was one creepy dude - like the sort who could go berserk at any moment and beat someone’s head in. Chuck was like a cute little brother; I felt Thomas’s attachment to him. I don’t really know how I feel about Minho even now. I didn’t dislike him, and he was a strong character, but I didn’t feel any special attachment to him, either. I didn’t think I would like Teresa at first, but she’s actually a very good female second protagonist. What sarcastic comments she makes seem like genuine teasing, and not The Attitude, and she makes herself useful.

The Romance: It pretty much doesn’t exist. I get the feeling that Thomas and Teresa will end up liking each other, but in this first book, their relationship feels more like just a really close camaraderie. They were both involved in something important before the Glade, they’re both outsiders, and they have to save the Gladers together, so of course they have a close bond.

Plot: A complete success. The Author had me guessing from the very beginning. I loved how it began - I felt Thomas’s disorientation and fear - and I loved everything in between. The Grievers were genuinely scary, because they are never really fully described, there aren’t usually a bunch of them in one scene (with a few exceptions), and the Reader doesn’t really get to meet them all that often. The finale battle made them a little less scary because there were so many of them in one place, but for the majority of the book, they actually creeped me out. I absolutely loved the whole isolated and sinister feel of the Glade - the way everyone acted, how they wouldn’t tell Thomas anything, the Banishment, the walls closing at night, the Box, how there’s no rain and the temperature is always perfect, the Changing, - and the Maze’s secret left me feeling delighted.

Believability: Not really applicable for this book. Maybe it will be later in the series.

Writing Style: The Author’s style isn’t what I would call masterful, but it worked for the story, and he did a tremendously good job with description. I could picture the Glade and the Maze very clearly, and the whole atmosphere of it.

Content: The violence isn’t graphic, but it’s still brutal.

Conclusion: At first it seemed like all of the questions had been answered, and I was momentarily disappointed. But then the Epilogue revealed a whole new set of questions, and I can’t wait until the sequel comes in from the library. The end was as dark and sinister as the rest of the book, with a good number of deaths and several OMG moments. I really liked The Maze Runner. I wasn’t expecting anything special when I first got it, but it definitely surprised me. It reminded me of a combination of a darker Twilight Zone and Lord of the Flies. I stayed up super-late reading this book, always saying, Just one more chapter; I can’t stop here!

Recommended Audience: More of a guy-read than a girl-read, older audience due to scary content, fans of post-apocalyptic thrillers/mysteries.

Others in This Series:
1)The Maze Runner
2)The Scorch Trials
3)The Death Cure
4)The Kill Order

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