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Book Review - The Maze Runner

 Saturday, 14 August 2010

As part of the lead-up to the release of Mockingjay *omfg* on the 25th of August I'm reading primarily dystopian novels until then and I will do best to get the reviews up in a timely fashion as I'm planning on entering the contest running on Presenting Lenore where you can win 6 dystopia novels by linking your reviews (of dystopia books duh) on the post I've linked to above. She's also got loads of other stuff going on as part of her Dystopian August Event including reviews, interviews and reader insight into what makes dystopia such a popular genre.

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Date: 13/8/2010
Source: Bought
Description: When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. 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, open expanse surrounded 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 the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. 
Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind. (Description from

My Review:
Well dang, where do I begin with this? When I finished this in the early hours of Friday morning I was instantaneously craving the sequel - The Scorch Trials - but it's not out in the US until October!! *dies* so I'll have to just settle with squeeing about it to you lovely folk.

The book starts off in a box, and when the protagonist Thomas gets yanked out of the box we're all just as lost and bewildered as he is. We get thrown into this new and strange world with no chance to catch our breath or find our bearings. We have new characters and weird slang thrown at us before we even know where the shuck we are (hehe :P). Although it was a little hard to take in all at once I rather liked the Glader terms once I deciphered what they meant - rather like A Clockwork Orange where there's no translation of the  Nadsat you just gotta figure it out from context - Thomas gets a little help from Chuck but most of it is fairly obvious after a while. 

Dashner's writing style is pretty plain and to-the-point which is great for this type of book and after Thomas arrives in the Glade we very quickly get dragged into the action and it's almost non-stop until the end. The descriptions we do get of the Maze, the Glade and the Grievers are fab  - I could really imagine the scale of the whole complex and although the visual description of the horrific Grievers is kinda hard to picture, the sounds it makes as it moves are pretty darn terrifying. 

Admittedly Thomas doesn't have much of a personality besides his general heroic qualities but when you have no memories of your life before getting dumped in the Glade I suppose it's kinda hard to be a fully-rounded person. I'm hoping we find out in the second book why him and Teresa are special like they are cos it seems a wee bit convenient.

The character I adored was Chuck, lovely cuddly Chuck. He was the first semi-friendly person we meet when so far all the reply Thomas got to his multitude of questions was the equivalent of "shut your shucking face, shank!". I don't know about Thomas but *I* was bloody frustrated with no one answering his questions - there's so much we don't know about the Glade, the Maze and the point of it all but NO ONE will tell us anything! ARGH! Chuck, however gives us some insight into what the fandazzle is going on which is comforting - slightly. He's a loyal friend and is part brother and part mother figure to Thomas by looking after him during his first few days when the other Gladers are suspicious of him. Chuck Rocked. 

The whole concept of the maze, changing every night and even after two years no exit ever appearing is fantastic as a test of human resilience - that these kids have spent so long running through the maze searching all corridors for even a hint of a way out is so inspiring. Many less determined people would have given up months ago once it became apparent that the maze was impossible to solve.

Although the characterisation was limited in this first book I'm hopeful that there'll be improvement on this aspect in the next books. The action was very fast paced and I raced through this in a couple of hours although it was only a shortish book (370 pages) but there's a lot packed into it - some questions are answered but a *lot* more are raised especially at the end of the book which has me dying to know what's gonna happen next. 

When I finished this I originally gave it 5 stars but last night after finishing The Knife of Never Letting Go I felt I needed to differentiate slightly between the two cos TKoNLG was better imho and it deserves 5 stars. But Jess (Jess Hearts Books) reckons I should keep my original rating so as a compromise I'll rate it thus;

My Rating: 4.75 Stars out of 5

Amazing read but not quite as mind-blowing as the Knife of Never Letting Go - which I'll be reviewing very soon so keep an eye out for that on either Monday or Tuesday.



Jessheartsbooks 14 August 2010 at 22:29  

Great review M'dear :) and I like the compromise hehe! ;)I'm hoping to get my review done on monday or tuesday...Looking forward to The Knife of Never Letting Go review.

Emidy 14 August 2010 at 22:30  

I so need to read this book! I can't believe I haven't yet. Great review, though. Glad you liked it!

I cannot wait to read your thoughts on The Knife of Never Letting Go. I loved that book so much!

Lenore 15 August 2010 at 14:09  

Thanks for joining in the fun of Dystopian August! I also can't wait for the Scorch Trials in October!

E.J. Stevens 15 August 2010 at 18:26  

Great review! I have heard a lot of positive things about this book and can't wait to read it. :)

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