Books · reviews

Read it before you see it: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Sorry, I’ve been MIA again! I’ve been busy reading though (and kind of having a life this week– yay!). Some reviews coming your way soon: A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan and A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, but for now it’s time for my review of The Maze Runner. Enjoy!

Cover of "The Maze Runner"The Maze Runner
By James Dashner

Published by Delacorte Press.

Caution: Some (minor) spoilers ahead in this review.

When Thomas wakes up, surrounded by the unfamiliar faces of teenage boys, all he can remember is his first name. He remembers nothing about where he comes from, or why he’s been sent to his new “home”, the Glade. In the Glade, he and the other boys must survive on their own, and every day one group leaves the Glade and head into the Maze, the unsolvable labyrinth surrounding their home. The Maze is full of danger, mostly in the form of nightmarish mechanical monsters known only as Grievers.

Life in the Glade isn’t easy, but it’s better than nothing (and better than being out in the Maze); Thomas is curious to learn about his new surroundings and eager to become a Runner, despite the danger. Then one day, not long after Thomas arrives, a girl – the first girl ever – is sent to the Glade. Soon, everything the boys have come to know is called into question, and they find themselves in a race to escape the Maze, before the Grievers come to pick them off one-by-one.

The Maze Runner was every bit the fast-paced Dystopian vision you’d hope it would be. Once things start happening, they happen fast, and the book barely gives you time to digest one event, before something new is happening. Just like Thomas, we aren’t left with any time to get complacent or bored with our surroundings. I felt like this was a bit detrimental in the beginning – I would have liked to have seen a bit more of what “normal” life is like in the Glade, and to explore Thomas’s antagonistic relationship with Gally—but once the action starts going you hardly give that a second thought.

I really liked the ending of the book as well, though the epilogue was somewhat foreseeable (especially if you know there are sequels), it was still a shock to me. I couldn’t put it down and was shocked at the final turn of events. For the most part, I really liked this book (borrowed from my colleague – thanks Betsy!) and am eager to start the sequel The Scorch Trials.

If I had to complain about one thing though, it would be Teresa (the mysterious girl who shows up one day and spends half the book in a coma). Teresa is pretty irritating, which I think was mostly to do with poor characterization. She’s pretty much a walking plot device. Teresa appears, falls into a coma, weird things start happening, and Thomas feels strangely connected to her, though he doesn’t know why. Everything she does helps Thomas, and I’m finding it hard recalling anything useful she actually did on her own, besides saying that she triggered “The Ending” (hence her status as walking plot device). I felt like she could’ve been a cool character if she hadn’t spent half her time in a coma, and the other half begging Thomas to help her. Her poor characterization in The Maze Runner was really a lost opportunity. We’ll see how things go for her in The Scorch Trials though.

I’m really looking forward to the next book, and to the film adaptation that’s coming out next month. I’ve looked at the trailer, and I think visually it’s exactly what I imagined it to be like. And I’ll be interested to see how the Grievers are done as well. And maybe they can improve upon Teresa!

 Final thoughts:

A fun, fast-paced novel with a Dystopian premise and a male protagonist. It sounds clichéd, but if you liked The Hunger Games, you’ll probably like this book, and will be itching to get your hands on the sequels.

Rating: 6.5/10

Read a sample from the book, or check out the trailer for the movie:

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6 thoughts on “Read it before you see it: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

  1. I wasn’t a big fan of The Hunger Games (never read books 2 and 3), but I’ll probably see this movie when it hits RedBox. Great review! 🙂

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