BOOK TITLE: The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner #1)
Author: James Dashner
In this world of dystopia there is no resisting these new YA novels; that is how I ended up starting this series (and also because some of my friends recommended it to me and it was too tempting). Plus, another incentive was the fact that I saw the movie, liked the overall idea and action but felt confused about some details and I thought that the book might provide some explanation for my rising questions. So I embarked on this adventure called The Maze Runner (be warned, spoilers ahead!)
“If you ain’t scared… you ain’t human.”
The book starts quite strong with Thomas, our main character, going up somewhere in a metallic box with no other memories of his past than his name.
That somewhere turns out to be a place called “the Glade” which basically isn’t surrounded by a forest but by tall walls that form a maze. Slowly, Thomas discovers the rules of the Glade and finds out that only boys live there and that they are formed as a small society, each member having a well determined role; their purpose is the same, to solve the Maze and escape, but it is a tough job as the Maze is a dangerous and ever-changing place. He also tries to befriend some of the boys, but finds out that it’s not as easy as it seems; he has a pretty tense relationship with a boy named Gally, manages to befriend another one named Chuck and also manages to communicate more with the leader of the group, Alby, and another intriguing character called Newt.
“You get lazy, you get sad. Start givin’ up. Plain and simple.”
Not long after the arrival of Thomas a strange girl emerges from the same box and she somehow seems familiar to Thomas but he has no time to question her as she goes into a coma. Her arrival is a crucial point in the book, triggering a chain of events which force all the members of this small community to take action in order to survive and solve the puzzling Maze. Lots of adrenaline and changes of heart will await you until you reach the end of this first volume of the Maze Runner trilogy.
The whole idea of this book was very mysterious to begin with, and I have to say that even after finishing the book I cannot yet see the big picture (or be sure that I got it right because some details seem to be misleading) but I have great expectations because all the background this book provides for the future volumes is pretty well-built and can lead to something amazing.
I liked the idea of a community formed solely of boys and also the dynamic of the relationships between them; a lot of testosterone there, but they handled it quite nicely. They got organized and divided themselves into groups with specific tasks which I thought was very productive. It is nice how Thomas disrupts all their daily activity and brings a change; even if some of the boys accuse him and he has some weird and contradictory memories he keeps pushing for some things that he believes will help them towards their goal of escaping the Maze. He proves how he can be a leader without (seemingly) having some decisive previous experience; that’s what makes him one of my favourite characters – he is stubborn, but in a good way. Another one of my favourites were Newt and Minho. Newt seemed to me more like the quiet and always-thinking-and-making-plans type while Minho was the guy who always wanted to do something to help and could never stand still; they really spiced up things. As for Gally (as you will see he is the closest thing of a villain that we get in this book) he is also interesting but not a likeable character. What makes things even more surprising is the fact that we know nothing of these boys’ previous lives; we only get to make a judgment and decide whether we like them or not based on their action now, without any previous memories or deeds to save them or cast them down.
The action itself is not so complicated, but it is hard to guess what is going to happen next because our characters can’t give us many hints (they don’t know what’s going to happen either and I bet they are as surprised as we are of how some things are going) and even if we try to speculate it is quite hard, we are missing many pieces of this puzzle and only time and constant reading will make it clear. It is exciting though how a bunch of teenagers manage to retaliate in front of a common enemy and how they organise in order save themselves; they are pretty strong. In the end you will feel many contradictory emotions and you will definitely be surprised and left with the desire to read more in order to unravel this huge mystery. Another awesome thing which I think needs to be mentioned is the fact that the boys living in the Glade developed their own slang and that is a nice touch to this book (for an example see the quote below).
“You are the shuckiest shuck faced shuck in the world!”
To sum it up, I really enjoyed this book and was happy to read something that felt pretty original, wasn’t too hard to read and had wonderfully built characters; it was quite a fine dystopia book which I think many of you would like exploring, whether you’ve tried dystopia before or not (I think it is a good start for those who aren’t familiar with the genre or those who have had some experience with it but didn’t enjoy it at first; it has the right amount of complexity in order to keep you entertained but it doesn’t get too complicated). It will always keep you thinking and asking questions, so give it a go!
Overall rating: 5 stars (a most enjoyable and light read!)
Goodreads link: The Maze Runner