Thursday, March 18, 2010

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Thomas first wakes up he finds himself in a metal box moving upward. He only remembers his name, not his parents, where he came from, or any other details. Then the box opens and he arrives in the Glade where a bunch of teenage boys who also have selective amnesia greet him and introduce him to his new life in the center of a large maze.

For two years the Gladers, all boys, have attempted to solve the maze and find a way out, but without any success. A special elite group of Gladers, called runners, court a gruesome death everyday in a maze that is patrolled by mechanical monsters called Grievers. The Gladers have created a society where they keep order by making sure everyone takes part in providing for the needs of those living in the glade. There are those that raise animals for food, those who garden, those who build, those who cook and those who clean up. Thomas must now find his place among the Gladers, but he can’t shake the feeling that he remembers this place.

Then one day, a girl arrives and everything changes. Thomas must look deep into himself to find a way out of the maze once and for all.

At first I found this book thoroughly frustrating. The reader and Thomas have a million questions, yet everyone refuses to answer them. At points I found myself wanting to throw the book across the room, because I felt like I was getting nowhere. As the story progresses, you still don’t get many of the answers you want, but it gets more bearable when you discover that none of the characters have all the answers and that Thomas has more answers and knowledge than most.

This book is action packed and extremely fast paced. There is danger around every corner and even the Glade isn’t safe. Thomas can be a difficult character to like at times, but you do have to admire his boldness. Many of the other characters were interesting and I think I would have enjoyed hearing more from Newt and Minho. It was nice that Thomas had to realize, through the other Gladers, that the solutions they sought were not that easy to come by. In fact the others often reminded him that if the solution was simple they would have found it already.

This was an engrossing, action packed read. Recommended for fans of action books, mysteries, and dystopian futures.

Cautions for sensitive readers: First the obvious, this book is very violent. The Grievers are terrifying and merciless and sometimes the Gladers themselves are violent. There is no sex at all in the book. As for offensive language, the author chose to make up his own types of swear words, so you will often see the word “klunk” used where you would normally see a foul word.

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