The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Maze runnerSource: Own Collection
Format: Paperback
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

I went into this book with some trepidation. Having seen the movie first, I had questions. And with the book being written for a YA audience , I was very worried that the book would not answer my questions.

So what’s the book about? Thomas, a teenager, comes out of unconsciousness to find himself in an elevator, one he’s been in for hours, rising. When the elevator stops, doors open above him, and he is helped out by a group of teenage boys. Thomas gradually learns that they live inside a maze, that some of the boys have been there as long as two years, and that a handful of boys fear him – or loathe him, as the case may be. Then a girl arrives, and things begin to change.

Well. How to say this. I was very satisfied to find that the movie stayed very true to the book. The main plot device was changed, which makes sense having read the book, but the rest of the storyline was true. And yes. I still had those nagging questions by the end of the book.

Why does this not upset me? Because a) the movie was true to the book, and b) I had the rest of the series lined up on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. Surely the answers I seek will be in them?

A very engaging read. I really like the way the reader must figure out answers through Thomas’s eyes, so what he knows, the reader knows. Dashner’s writing is very vivid – although I will admit that I was greatly assisted at this stage of the series by having seen the movie – and clear, enabling the action to proceed without much interference. And proceed it does, pretty relentlessly. The teens in this book are definitely pushed to their limits in terms of problem solving, terror, horror and fear. Brilliant concept.

I have seen not a few reviews complaining that this book doesn’t make sense, that it’s badly written and that it’s just plain horrible. I say no. Sure, you will not get all the answers neatly tied up by the end of the book. And yes, at times the reader may get the picture before the characters do. But at the same time, remember that a) this is a series, and b) these kids are under tremendous pressure, with a relentless series of threats coming at them. One does not necessarily think all that clearly when stressed.

Brilliant book, and I’m looking forward to reading The Scorch Trials.

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