Monday, November 2, 2009

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner
By: James Dashner

Blurb from back:
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.

This book definitely kept me on my toes. Similar to Jason Borne in The Bourne Identity and other amnesia-plagued characters, you find yourself trying so hard to piece together the little information given to you by the author into a back story for the character.

Post-apocalyptic fiction is some of my favorite to read, because I really enjoy the aspect of human survival. Every book has its own flavor of how people survive when situations aren't ideal. What I liked about The Maze Runner was the many different conflicts that contributed to the story. Thomas is conflicted about his past, he wants to know who he is and where he came from. But, once the truth begins to come out, he is rightly conflicted about wanting to know more. Thomas is also conflicted about the information that he gives to the leaders of the group, and the information he's holding in his thoughts. There are of course environmental conflicts as would be expected with a group of boys governing themselves. This is increased with the addition of a girl to the Glade.

I liked the characters in the books. Even though there were quite a few to keep track of, I felt like they were all easily distinguishable from each other. Each contributed to the story in an important way. I especially felt a connection to Thomas' first roommate Chuck. It gives a little bit of a softer edge to the otherwise hardened life at the Glade.

I only had a couple things I didn't like about the book, and they definitely weren't deal breakers. The first was the made up slang. I also didn't like it in Ender's Game.  I felt like it really clogged up the dialogue sometimes, and regular slang words would do.

Also, I felt like not enough was done with the female character in the story. This can be easily remedied in the sequel; however, and I'm sure she'll make a bigger impact.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I highly recommend this book for boys, especially ones that don't especially like to read. It's a fast-paced, easy read that will leave you thinking about it for days. I gave it four stars.

Profanity: Mild, and it's not actual swear words used in every-day English, but made up slang
Drugs and Alcohol: None
Sexuality: Mildly hinted at when the girl first arrives
Violence: Mild. People do die in the book, but it's not overly graphic.

Books similar to this one: Ender's Game, Lord of the Flies

In accordance with FTC guidelines please note that I received a review copy from Delacorte Press for Young Readers. I was not compensated for this review.

1 comment:

  1. I have this book and it's just stuck in my to-read pile. Thanks for the review. I'm probably going to move it up my list, and maybe even read it with my students. :)