Title: The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner #1)
Author: James Dashner
Author: James Dashner
No. of Pages: 371
Publisher: Chicken House
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 thirty 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.
Admittedly I had low expectations for this book, its been sitting on my shelves for over two months now, I barely glanced at the blurb. But I'd heard quite a lot about the book, so, as luck would have it, I got into a reading slump, and picked up The Maze Runner. I can safely say its not what I had been expecting, with intriguing characters, an ingenious plot, and harsh slang - this novel blew me away from page one.
When a bought my copy of the book one thing that really irritated me, after finishing the book, was a quote on the front that read "... a must for fans of The Hunger Games" as though The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games were alike. They most certainly are not. Both are excellent dystopian novels, but think of The Maze Runner as a modern Lord of the Flies. The writing style was another unexpected bonus, I was expecting something that was similar to MG, but it was descriptive, well written, and not to mention the slang Dashner created. I just absolutely love the slang, its become part of my own personal vocabulary now.
The 'Maze' itself was an interesting concept, at first I was expecting a little Harry-Potter-esque type maze, but again Dashner blew my expectations out of the water with his own creations. With shifting walls and terrifying 'Grievers' that come into play about a third way through the book; the 'Maze' is life or death for the boys. Just touching on the Grievers, they definitely sounded terrifying on paper, but when I tried imagining what they would look like, I just kept getting a vague image of a slug, that was not even scary, which was a bit of a let down.
One thing that did put me off reading The Maze Runner was the lack of female characters, I'm being brutally honest saying that I didn't think a book full of male characters would work out, but of course, I was wrong. The set-up inside the Glade was evidence of this, everyone had their assigned jobs, such as Runners (lads assigned to run into the 'Maze' and map it, looking for a way out), they had a routine. I also enjoyed the way Dashner showed the boys as what they were, teenagers, through use of the slang, without using actual profanity, which a lot of YA authors seem to ignore. Not that swearing is great, but c'mon authors, do you really think teenagers don't swear?
The characters were just... I don't even know how to explain them. They were awesome, each had their own personality, you didn't necessarily have to like them to see that they were developed well throughout the plot. Since the novel was told from Thomas' POV it makes sense to talk about him first. I have to say he wasn't my favorite character, but I have nothing against how Dashner wrote him. Thomas is an excellent character and his POV works well for the plot, but I found myself predicting his next moves before I read about them, whereas other characters such as Newt, provided a little more intrigue.
A negative for me was the ending, it felt very rushed, and frankly its was predictable, it was something I'd read before, which was quite disappointing compared to the excitement I had experienced with the rest of the book. Also, I thought the 'puzzle' could have been slightly harder. I understand from the slight back-story it took them over two years, but again, it was just predictable, if Dashner was doing this for dramatic irony it certainly worked, if not... well, it got me thinking how things could have been done differently, and what I would have changed. Which I don't usually do when I'm reading a novel.
The writing itself flows very well, the chapters ended in the most frustrating, but effective ways. As all bookworms will know, how annoying are cliffhangers? Well, this book is full of them. But it was just so darn effective in the telling of the story, and had me on the edge of my seat wanting more. I'll definitely be buying the second book in the series, 'The Scorch Trials', and now I'm excited to see The Maze Runner come to life on the big screen in March!
Rating: Three Bookish Birds