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The Maze Runner ~ James Dashner

November 18, 2009

Genre: YA

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

384 pages

ISBN: 9780385737944

Take Lost, The Lord of the Flies, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and a little bit of Newsies and you’ll have Dashner’s The Maze Runner. This hodgepodge of themes seems like it might be confusing, at first, but, trust me: it works.

Thomas, our young protagonist, finds himself, memory-free and huddled on a lift in the middle of a paradise, surrounded by several dozen teenage boys. Their slang is strange and so is their predicament. Every month for two years, the lift Thomas rode up on, delivers a new boy to the pack. Not a single one remembers his life prior to his arrival. The veteran boys know little more about their future aside from attempting to complete a maze that stands outside their compound.

The day after Thomas arrives, a girl appears. Not only is she the first XX to arrive but she is also about a month ahead of schedule for the next due community member. Shortly after her arrival, all begins to crumble, leaving Thomas and and the most recent newcomer in the group’s suspicions. A race beings within the clan to fight for survival even if it means taking their establishment down member by member.

In theory, I loved this book. It was cute. I liked the bromance aspect (see Newsies) and the theory behind the suspense. It had a great outline. Even some of the detail worked. The improv slang was fun and the characters were likable and well put together. I definitely enjoyed more than I didn’t.

That said, I wasn’t a huge fan of the meat of the book. I think, to the book’s credit, it accomplished the feel of disorientation, both for the players within the pages and the reader. While I love  a good mystery, in this case, it left a good deal unexplained, causing an unsatisfied feeling. The ending felt extremely rushed and open.

All that aside, it is a three part series, so with that in mind, I will most likely check out the second and third book to see if having more information makes for a more positive experience.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2009 2:01 am

    I have been meaning to read this forever and it just keeps getting pushed back. Where does the time go? You have said enough that it still seems like a worthwhile series to start. I will try to get to it sooner rather than later. Maybe during seriespalooza.

  2. November 19, 2009 8:17 pm

    Speaking of leaving stuff unexplained, I found the beginning REALLY irritating, when no one would answer Thomas’s questions! Then I got irritated again with the ending – cryptic, deceptive, cruel, even a bit dumb. So I guess I would say my reaction was the opposite – I liked the meat better than the beginning or end!

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