Monday, September 24, 2012

The Maze Runner (Book 1 Maze Runner Trilogy) by James Dashner

Rating 5 out of 5
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press; Reprint edition (August 24, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385737955
ISBN-13: 978-0385737951

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

Let me just say straight up wow just WOW! This book had me hooked form the start. I devoured this book in a weekend as I just needed to know what the heck was going to happen next! This is certainly one of my best reads for this year.

An interesting concept which was in my mind well executed. As a reader you only know what Thomas and the gladers know, which isn't much. While the reader is given very tiny snippets of information about the world outside of the maze, it isn't much. The gladers world is the Maze and the Glade so the information we are given concerns life and trials in the maze. I enjoyed the invented language the gladers had, and while there is a little adjustment (learning the meanings etc) it wasn't hard to get the gist.

The characters were good (if a little stereotypical). Gally is the most interesting as he is pretty much nuts and you can't help but feel sorry for him. Minho and Newt would have to be my favourite characters, they have a sense of humour despite their situation and uncanny knack for reading people. Thomas was a smidgeon annoying at times because he came across as a little bit of a know-it-all, but I could forgive the behaviour as he was the new kid and trying to work out the riddle of the maze. But then again if I woke up with out any memories, in some random glade, surrounded by a maze, that moves and has creepy creatures in it....I might be a bit of whingey whiney cranky pants too. Oh heck I would be a sobbing blubbery curled up ball in a corner.

I was a little perplexed as to why more of an incentive to get out hadn't been presented earlier, as in before Thomas rocked up. I don't recall if it was explained why the first group into the maze decided to actually investigate it and not just stay safe in the glad (as it had food and shelter and lovely year round weather). I suspect if a note had been left telling the kiddies "there is an x-box, pizza, cake and coke for you if you get the heck out" or some sort of similar motivator, they would have been out waaaayyyy sooner. But then it would have been a very short book.

The target audience for this book are teen boys. So when you read and review the book in that context it is a great book. Lets face it teen boys really want a few things from a book action, things that go boom, fight scenes, maybe some sort of tech/mechanical thing to drive, oh and some more action. If your looking for a soppy romance or love triangle then this is not the book for you.

I have seen some reviewers complain about the suspense (at the expense of the narrative) and convenient plot fillers, and lack of information. But I must have read a different book because I didn't notice any of these I just sat down and held on till the reading roller coaster was over and I loved every minute of it. The lack of info argument to me is daft because the characters didn't know so how could the reader know what was going on?

Overall I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys the apocalyptic genre. This is a clever story and different from a lot of the stuff out on the market at the moment. It is a fun and thrilling read that should leave you scrambling for book 2 at the end.

I found this interview of James Dashner and he talks about The Maze Runner.

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