The Maze Runner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Pages: 374
Genre: Dystopia, sci-fi, YA, apocalyptic
Series? Yes, #1 in the Maze Runner series
Publisher: Ember (2011)
Rating: 4/6 – I really liked it

Synopsis from cover: Everything is going to change.

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 empty.

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 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 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 Initial Thoughts/Rambling: I had full intentions of reading this book, but I’ll be honest here and admit that the reason I finally put plans into action was because I heard they were making a movie of it. And Dylan O’Brien is starring. Need I say more?

Possible Spoilers Ahead.

What did I think about the characters? Well now that I’ve torn my eyes away from that gif, here’s the breakdown: none of the characters were “holy crap” inducing, but all of them were solid. You know what I mean? They were good, relatively well-rounded characters, but none of them really stood out to me and said, “I am the one you’ve been waiting for.”

And the concept and plot? Concept gets an A+ from me. Trapping some kids in an unsolvable maze? Sounds like my kind of people! 

The plot meandered a bit too much at times, with a lot of dilly-dallying, but overall it was well-paced. There were a lot of elements to the story that reminded me of Lord of the Flies (especially regarding a certain character) and Ender’s Game (trying to weed out the best of the best in pre-adult individuals). I didn’t mind it too much, but it did make some parts a bit predictable.

What about the writing style? Throughout most of the book, we know exactly what Thomas knows: and that isn’t a lot. It gets really irritating at times, but in the end I think it was a plus because I really empathized with and connected to Thomas’s frustration and disorientation. How you receive this aspect of the book is entirely up to your patience level. 

Anything else you’d like to add? Despite my nit-picks here and there, I honestly did enjoy this book. I wasn’t on my toes the whole time, but that stupid cliffhanger has me face-palming because I was just at Barnes and Noble and picked up How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr instead of The Scorch Trials (#2). I really want to know what happens next! (And now I’m staring at that gif again)

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