16 January, 2011

Book Review: The Maze Runner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Dystopian/Contemporary/Adventure/YA
Page Count: 374 (paperback)
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Cover Rating: 4 out of 5. It's good--I like the green and the font is nice and big--but aside from the spikes I find it kind of boring.

Back flap:
Everything is going to change . . .
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 empty.
   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. Everything 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 can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

My expectations: I'd heard a lot about this book, and almost everything was positive, so I expected a fast-paced, exciting read at the least.

That's what I got.

About the book: The Maze Runner is an interesting book. The idea that a large group of boys would be stuck in a maze that appears to be unsolvable is a perfect recipe for intriguing results. For some reason, this book creeped me out a bit, when even some Horror books don't. There was something disturbing about the Glade and the Maze.

I like James Dashner's writing style. It's to the point and there isn't excessive description. I thought that the emotions were highlighted somewhat more than what's usual, with swings from one emotion to the other and back again from Thomas's POV, but it wasn't a bad thing.

  • Plot: 
I guessed the ending. Well, I didn't guess everything, but since I knew there was a book called The Scorch Trials--please, if you're going to release a sequel, don't give things away from the previous novel!--and since Thomas kept making promises and saying he'd do things . . . it all kind of led up to the ending. But aside from that, it was a fairly fast plot that kept me reading much too late. (Hehe.)

  • Characters:
I felt throughout like I was in the mind of someone in their  mid- to later- 20s, past a "young adult", and maybe parent-age. He seemed almost condescending at times toward the other boys, and I got the feeling had more experience than everyone else, and not just knowledge. I wouldn't say I liked him; but I respected him for what he did.

Teresa didn't do much in The Maze Runner besides act as an anomaly. I didn't get attached to her, I didn't hate her, I just felt like her character was kind of flat. Yes, she had answers and information, and that was intriguing, but her personality could have shone through a bit more.

Gally was an interesting antagonist. Stereotypical bully at first, but then it comes out that he might just have other motives that seeing Thomas as a threat to his social status. He was an angry and creepy person, and why he did things was unknown to Thomas and the others--a good thing for a bad guy/villain.

  • Setting/Elements:

I expected it to be a whole lot more like Lord of the Flies, with the kids there trying to tear each other apart and get to the top of the social ladder. However, things got nowhere near as nasty and violent as in the book by Golding. I suppose that's because things were fairly controlled inside the Glade, without much change--until Thomas arrived, of course.

Other: Violence, language, (made-up words that are clear substitutes for s%#* and so on; if that's worse or better than using the actual words depends on how you look at it) and "thematic elements" (I suppose that's what you'd call it).

They're making a movie of this book--I hope they don't botch it up.

Do I recommend this book? Yes.


In other book news, I will have an interview here on January 20th with a character from The Treasures of Carmelidrium, the Fantasy novel recently released as an e-book, and written by N. R. Williams! Don't forget to come back to check it out. :)

(Also don't forget you can ask me questions in the post below, or HERE, which I will answer on January 21st!)

-----The Golden Eagle


Anonymous said...

I tried to read this book earlier in the year, but sci-fi (dystopian? Is that the word?) type of stuff isn't my forte. The over use of the made up swearing was super annoying too.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've been wanting to read this book.

Colene Murphy said...

I loved it this one!! I read it so long ago that I don't remember how Thomas was. Interesting that he seemed older...huh.

The Golden Eagle said...

Shaynie: Dystopian's kind of a sub-genre of Science Fiction, and it's a fairly loose categorization.

It did get on my nerves sometimes. It could have been cut out without changing the book, much, and it would have been cleaner.

L. Diane: Hope you get around to it, then! :)

Colene: Maybe it's just me? But I really did feel like he had done more and knew more than everyone else--and that he acted like it.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm glad to see more YA that might appeal to boys. So many of the books are from female POV and I think a lot of boys won't read them for that reason.
If there's a movie coming out, I must read it do I can critic the movie for missing so much of the good stuff.

Old Kitty said...

Oooh I'm most disappointed that the female character was a bit flat cos reading the blurb, she's quite pivotal to the story!!! Do you think she was a missed opportunity but then maybe if she were more explosive she would have weakened the dynamics between Thomas and Gally? Interesting!! I want to read it now! Thanks for the review - fab as always! Take care

gideon 86 said...

Hi, Golden,

Great review. I needed to step away from my WIP and say hi.

I'm on the last chapter and almost finished. I should be done by tonight.YAY!

Thanks for all the encouragement. You're great! Here's a cheer for you. I'm shaking my pompoms.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


Milli said...

I've been putting this book on hold for, like, forever.I'm glad that it was good:D I LOVE dystopian stuff. I'm not such a fan of main characters that are sort of 'better' than everyone else. (i've always been one for the underdogs):) Well, thanks for the review!

Misha said...

I have only read positive reviews of this book. Yet I putting off reading it - was kind of afraid of all the hype. I really want to read the book now.

Beth said...

Great review. It sounds like a compelling read!

Jemi Fraser said...

I got this book for my classroom and haven't been able to get it out of student hands long enough to read it :)

Mason Canyon said...

Sounds like an interesting read. Enjoyed your review. I'll have to add this to my wish list.

Thoughts in Progress

Angela Ackerman said...

This is one that's on my TBR list--it looks excellent and right up my alley!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Darlyn said...

Sounds great and intense read. I heard the same and even you said the same thing!

Anonymous said...

I've had my eye on this for a while. I hope to read it soon.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Great review! I'll have to add it to my TBR pile. It sounds right up my alley.

Harman said...

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Laura pauling said...

This is going to sound terrible but the main reason I haven't read this book is that I can't stand the idea of being stuck in a tunnel for so long. It doesn't sound interesting to me. But, that's totally not fair and I should give it a chance. :)

N. R. Williams said...

I've heard a lot about this book too. Oh how I hated Lord of the Flies. I never enjoyed nasty boys.

Thanks for the shout out.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

The Golden Eagle said...

Susan: I agree! It's nice to see a book with a boy as the MC.

LOL. I like watching movies for the same reason. :D

Old Kitty: She is, but I just felt she was more for the plot than for character. Usually that doesn't bother me, but when she was presented as being so important, I was disappointed.

No, I don't think so--it would have made things more complicated, but I don't think it would have detracted from the book at all.

You're welcome!

Michael: Thanks!


Milli: I like dystopian, too. :)

I'm not really attracted to characters like that, either.

You're very welcome!

Misha: Hype can be a bad thing; I've read books that I'd really been looking forward to, and they flopped. :P

Beth: Thanks!

It is a good book!

Jemi: I hope you get a chance to read it yourself! :)

Mason: Glad you liked the review!

Angela: It's worth the read!

Darlyn: LOL. I guess it must be true then, right? ;)

The Golden Eagle said...

Medeia: It's a good book!

Jennifer: Thank you!


Harman: Hello.

Laura: It's not a tunnel, exactly; the Glade itself is pretty open and there's sunlight and grass and all that. :P The Maze is dark, though.

Nancy: The Lord of the Flies disturbed me, too, but I did think that it was well-written.

You're welcome! It's been an awesome tour, Nancy. :)