Thursday, November 5, 2009
The Maze Runner by James Dashner... A Review
You wake up in a lift, can't remember a thing except for your first name... When the doors of the lift finally open you are in The Glade, a large piece of land enclosed by tall stone walls. You wish it were a dream, but you can't seem to wake up... and soon it turns out to be a nightmare.
That is what happens to Thomas. He wakes up in a lift. He can only remember his first name. Images flash in his mind, but he can't put names to faces, and he can't even remember his parents. When the lift finally stops and the doors open, he is surrounded by a group of boys, all teenagers, all young kids. He is welcomed into The Glade, where there are rules to be followed and a hierarchy that he'd soon learn. How he got there he didn't know, but none of the Gladers knew. All they knew was that every month for the past 2 years a "Newbie" would arrive in the lift. Supplies mysteriously arrived in the lift as well. And in order to survive, the boys created a society, with jobs and industry such as farming that gave them purpose as well as sustenance.
The Glade itself had a rickety building where the boys could sleep, although most of them slept outside. There was a kitchen and a boy assigned to cook. There were farm animals and a slaughter house. A vegetable garden and a graveyard. The Glade was surrounded by tall stone walls that mysteriously opened during the day and shut by themselves at night. Outside the walls was a mysterious maze, and in that maze roam horrible bloodthirsty creatures that are a combination of animal and machine. No one was allowed outside of the walls except for The Runners. The Runners run thru the maze during the day, taking notes about where paths ended and turns continued. They would run the maze all day and before the walls close they come back and record their findings on maps. The paths in the maze changed every day, and for 2 years they still could not find the clue to escaping... until Thomas came... and then "the girl". Who were The Creators? Why were they there? How could they get back to their real homes?
The story is YA fiction, but was so well written I couldn't put it down. The futuristic world James Dashner has created is fascinating. The boys quickly adapted to their circumstances, formed friendships, created their own language, and learned to work together to survive. Things aren't so perfect in The Glade... There are conflicts, and suspicions. And there are glimpses of how young these boys actually are... how frightened they are as things start to fall apart. I kept turning those pages to find out what happened next and totally immersed myself in surviving that world along with the other Gladers, and trying to figure out how to get out of the maze once and for all. It was intense, gripping, suspenseful with bits of humor thrown in. I loved The Maze Runner until the very end... until the epilogue...
This book is the first book in a trilogy, and I though the book could have happily ended just before the epilogue and still be ready for book 2. The epilogue is a page and a half that sets up the next book, but I would have preferred to have discovered what is in the epilogue in the next book. But even with that minor difference in opinion I can't wait for book 2!
Have you read The Maze Runner yet? Since starting the Dystopian YA Fiction Challenge I've found some great books! Have any other suggestions for dystopian reading? Share them here and let me know what you thought about The Maze Runner if you've read it!
This book is part of the DystopYA Reading Challenge! Dystopian fiction is generally fiction about a world that is attempting to be perfect but contains a fatal flaw. It's the opposite of a utopia. This can take the form of a fascist government, a failing environment, corporate rule - anything. In it, life is miserable and people have to strive to rise above.
*P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!