Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Random House
Series: Maze Runner #1
Pages: 374
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Release: October 6, 2009
How Received: Library

Summary: 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 black. 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 they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, 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 arrives in the lift—the first girl to ever 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 be able to 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 Thoughts:
I’m not new to dystopian novels, but I didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I honestly picked it up because there were no other titles that piqued my interest on the “new releases” on my libraries shelves. So I didn’t know it was dystopian.

Let me tell you, I felt as confused as Thomas did when he got to the Glade. I had no idea what was going on, and I wanted answers. The speech was weird—off—because the Gladers have separate words for things, like “klunk” for “poop”. I almost gave up because I hated the way the Gladers spoke. But like Thomas, after a few pages, I was pretty much used to it.

I didn’t think much of the novel at all in the beginning. I just kept going to see if something would get answered. Before I knew it, I was sucked into the book. Hook, line, and sinker.

Dashner posed us with more questions than answers throughout the entire novel, and I felt compelled to find out what was going on with the Glade. Through the quest for answers, Thomas encounters the fear that engulfs the Gladers: Grievers. Grievers are monstrous things with needle like things that prick you; if you don’t get the Grief Serum, you die. The only thing keeping the Grievers out is the walls surrounding the Glade.

I was downright paralyzed with fear for 3/4th’s of the novel. My heart pounded every time Thomas encountered a Griever (especially the night in the maze) – imagine how he felt, actually living it! He was so grounded, so fearless. He was also a bit whiny at the beginning, but I can sympathize for why. My only gripe about him was that he seemed too perfect. The fact that he’s smart was reiterated at least five times. It seemed almost like everything was falling into Thomas’s lap: he was the one who needed to save Minho and Alby, he figured out the key to the maze, he helped find the Griever hole. He found out all the answers without really trying to.  

This book reminded me a lot of Lord of the Flies – the premise of it was survival of the fittest.

Cover Musings: It’s lovely, for a dystopian science fiction book. The spikes between the walls just screams ominous!

Memorable Quotes:
“The creature was a horrific mix of animal and machine, and seemed to realize it was being observed, seemed to know what lay inside the walls of the Glade, seemed to want to get inside and feast on human flesh.” (pg. 39)

“‘Think about it. Our memories are wiped. We live inside a place that seems to have no way out, surrounded by bloodthirsty monster-guards. Doesn’t that sound like prison to you?’ As he said it out loud, it sounded more and more possible. Nausea trickled into his chest.
‘I’m probably twelve years old, dude.’ Chuck pointed to his chest. ‘At the most, thirteen. You really think I did something that would send me to prison for the rest of my life?’” (pg. 64)

“‘Shouldn’t someone give a pep talk or something?’ Minho asked, pulling Thomas’s attention away from Alby.
‘Go ahead,’ Newt replied.
Minho nodded and faced the crowd. ‘Be careful,’ he said dryly. ‘Don’t die.’” (pg. 329)

Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: The Maze Runner was so action packed, suspenseful, and fast-paced, I didn’t have to worry about being bored. Event after event after event unfolded almost one right after the other and kept me hooked. The emotional connections with the characters could use development, because I only ever really worried about two characters in the novel (Minho and Chuck). But really, the suspense made up for any other area that lacked development. I really can’t wait for The Scorch Trials, and I’m so glad I don’t have to even wait that long!

Rating: 4/5

Extras: This book trailer freaked me oooout, and made me realize I probably can’t watch this series if it became a movie, haha. But check it out: it’s pretty cool.

Also, don’t miss out on the release of the second novel of the Maze Runner series: The Scorch Trials It comes out on October 12, 2010!


Anne@HeadFullofBooks said...

This is the book I send kids to after they finish the Hunger Game trilogy. I'd never seen the trailer before. Just as scary as the book. I am looking forward to the sequel.
It was a long week and now a relaxing sunny week-end. Please hop over to my blog and take part in my poll about Banned Books. Thanks. *New follower.

Tammy said...

Great review! I also loved this book. I saw the trailer before I picked up the book so I was already scared before the grievers made an appearance. Wow! Can't wait for the follow up book!

brandileigh2003 said...

This one kept me in suspense as well, and I got really caught up in their world.
Thanks for the review.

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Chelle said...

I enjoyed this book, too! I can't wait for the sequel. To be honest, I'm as excited for The Scorch Trials as I was for Mockingjay.

Bella said...

This book looks creepy! Sounds awesome though. I love Dystopian fiction, it's great. May have to check this one out. Thanks for the great review! =]

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

If there's one dystopian novel I'll recommend besides The Hunger Games, it's this one. Pleeease do check it out. :) I get creeped out easily, so maybe it might not be so creepy for you. xP

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