October 01, 2012

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner was a book that came recommended to those who like dystopian novels and in general the sort of fiction that's being put out for teens right now.  As most of those can be hit or miss I approached it with trepidation.  The results; I thought it was ok, but not nearly as good as it was hyped up to be.

Thomas wakes up in a dark box which rises to the surface of a hostile world.  Here there are just boys who are doing their best to survive, and he's the newbie who's entered their world.  Aside from once a month supply deliveries, they are on their own.  The have their own little place to sleep and grow food, but outside those walls is a maze none of them have been able to solve.  And if they are unable to solve it, they don't get to go home.  The special task of handling this running of a maze is given to the select few, known as Runners.  And you would think solving a maze would be easy when there's so much time to do it; but dark things come out at night, and the maze is always changing.

I couldn't really connect with any of the characters in this book.  There were some stand out ones, sure, but the large majority of them just didn't spark that connection.  Especially Thomas, he's our main character and while I can appreciate his intelligence and fortitude, I don't particularly like him and am really sort of ambivalent to him.  The same goes for the only girl in the story, Teresa, who was just a little too perfect.  The only character I really did like was a boy named Minho, who had a bit of spunk to him and was a runner.  There were a couple of "bad guys" I suppose and the author made it easy to dislike them, so that was saying something at least.

The plot was ok.  I liked the maze concept and why they were in there and I thought the ending had a nice twist.  But the pacing was a little rushed and everything seemed to happy a little too easy for the main protagonist.  I realize that it was somewhat supposed to be, but it lessened the sense of excitement and struggle that you wanted to perceive in this book.  Being dystopian, it just should have been harder to do what they were doing.  I did like the beginning though, as Thomas is dropped into this world it has a whole different lexicon that he has trouble understanding at first.  And it's the same for the reader, but as he starts to understand, we begin to understand the different slang terms being used, and that made the book kind of realistic.

It's not a bad book, just not up to par with some of the other dystopian series out there.  I will of course read the rest of the trilogy though and hope that it improves with each book.

The Maze Runner
Copyright 2009
374 pages

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