Book Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner
James Dashner
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dystopian
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Pages: 374 (hardcover)
Age: 13+

Synopsis:

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 thirty 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.


Thoughts:

I don't exactly know what I think about this book. It was somewhat of a hit and a miss in some areas, while good in others.

The author does well to bring us to us a very interesting world. A maze that changes every night, boys trapped inside the walls, monsters that live inside the maze that kill off anyone they see. It was really interesting to think about, and I wish the author would have done a better job of showing the world, instead of telling it. I wanted to feel it, to sense it, instead, I looked at it through a glass window.

The characters . . . they really weren't all that great. The main character, Thomas, I found to be bland and whiny. The secondary characters were interesting, but they were just that: secondary to Thomas, our main character. We never really get in depth knowledge about them. The author did too much telling about Thomas. Thomas was "confused" and "angry." I wanted to be shown his feelings, because when I'm told them, I can't relate to them. There was one character that I did like, but even he could have used a lot more characterization. That was severely lacking in this book. I wanted memorable characters, but I didn't find them here.

The plot itself was good, building tension and intrigue as the chapters passed. There were excellent plot twists near the end, though I felt like it worked almost too much in the protagonist's favor. Things should not go well for the main character with coincidences coming left and right.

About halfway to three-quarters of the way through the book, I realized that there wasn't really a solid antagonist. Sure, there was an antagonist, but we never see them until the very end, and even then we don't get a good feel for who they are and what they're doing. We need to know our antagonist, almost as well as we know our protagonist.

On a final note, I felt like parts of this book were awfully cliche. Memory loss? Seen it. Things suddenly changing when our MC shows up? Yup.

While I did enjoy this book, I can honestly say that there are things that could be drastically improved.

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