Review: The Maze Runner

◆ The Maze Runner by James Dashner
◆ Read January 2014
◆ English Edition
◆ 

❝ 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 30 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.❞
There is something about this book, this series even, that has left me completely mesmerized. I've seen people compare The Maze Runner to the likes of The Hunger Games and Divergent. Such a comparison does not do the book justice though because it's completely original and exciting in its own way. 

There is some really impressive and unique worldbuilding in this book. The Glade is a huge maze with massive doors that close in an open area that has everything a group of people would need to survive: buildings, cattle, a place to grow crops etc. The doors close at night to protect the group from the dangers outside in the maze. There is no way out. Panic really starts to rise when main character Thomas arrives and pretty much everything goes wrong - including the doors not closing any longer.

The survival aspect of the book reminded me of Lord of the Flies. It's not a rip-off at all, don't get me wrong,  but both books gave me the same feeling of wanting to desperately know what happens next. Both Dashner and Golding are excellent writers when it comes to portraying the will to survive, the solidarity and rivalry, the desperation, the tension, the fear etc. This is a big part of the reason why I finished The Maze Runner in just a few days. 

Furthermore, I loved all of the characters. Not only was there ethnic diversity, there was diversity in characteristics too. While Thomas and Minho are really brave, Chuck is a bit cowardly but really sweet. Gally is the bad guy of the Glade while Newt is overly loyal and the sweetest of the bunch (I love him best, can you tell?)

The only problem I had was that the story is told from Thomas' point of view, but he has just arrived in The Glade and has pratically no idea what is going on. I had a lot of a questions while reading and it took really long for them to be answered them because we didn't know more than Thomas did. That sometimes made it a little frustrating.

The last part of the book totally made up for that though because it offers the reader so much clarity and there's a lot of action and excitement. Furthermore, the ending was perfect. There's none of that rubbish of a completely open ending, yet it kept me curious enough to want to read the next book in the series. All in all, a very good read that dystopian-fans will most likely love.

Side note: if you're thinking of reading The Maze Runner, do it soon because the movie comes out this year.

4 stars because:
✓ Unique world building
✓Loveable and diverse characters
✓Excellent portrayal of all emotions in a fight for survival
✗Lack of information/clarity throughout the book.

 

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