Monday, January 28, 2013

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 374
Rating: 4/5

     When Thomas wakes up i 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 is 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.  Every 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 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 locking within his own mind.

This book is unstoppable and I mean that in the most literal sense.  There are no pauses in the action, no time for the reader to accustom themselves to the world.  Plus, like Thomas, you have no idea what is happening or why.  It's written in third person limited which was really weird to me.  At the beginning, I didn't catch and remember Thomas's name so every time the book mentioned him I thought they were talking about someone else. :P I found couldn’t but it down due to the fast pased action but I found when I did put it down, I didn't feel the urge to pick it up again for a few days.  However, I’m glad I finally did.  I read the last 2/3 of the book in one night!

I loved the characters, especially Minho and Newt. I loved how this group of 50 boys was functional even though they didn't agree 100%.  A scene in which they argue the fate of Thomas was great at showcasing this.  The leaders of their community all have different thoughts but have the common goal of surviving the Maze.  I thought it was a great way of showing the government in a small scale. Also, none of the characters were perfect.  Thomas was a loner who doesn't appreciate his first friend and Minho has a terrible anger management problem.

As a dystopian, I found the story to be good and not overused.  Unlike most, the characters in The Maze Runner are separated from the world.  They can't remember it.  All they know is how things work and the words for them but there are no previous memories attached.  There is also no oppressive government, only WICKED the organization responsible for the boy's predicament.  In fact, the boys have created their own democratic system in the maze which functioned well until WICKED begins to make changes in their environment.

All in all, I really enjoyed The Maze Runner.  It wasn't a difficult read, nor did it leave me deep in thought, but I did devour it. Plus, I could hardly bring myself to turn off the lights when I finally finished.  I was actually shaking and terrified that a Greiver would enter my room as soon as darkness fell.  This book is no Cloud Atlas, but it had great imagery and a bounding story line that could keep a sloth interested.

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