Friday, 16 September 2011

Book Review: The Maze Runner

Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You're in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids -- the Runners -- venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines.

Thomas is the newest arrival to the Glade in this Truman-meets-Lord of the Flies tale. A motley crew of half a dozen kids is all he has to guide him in this strange world. As soon as he arrives, unusual things begin to happen, and the others grow suspicious of him. Though the Maze seems somehow familiar to Thomas, he's unable to make sense of the place, despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. What is this place, and does Thomas hold the key to finding a way out?

There was a lot of hype surrounding this book. I was recommended to read it by a number of people who told me that it was pretty much the male version of The Hunger Games series. With such high expectations, I suppose it was inevitable that I would be somewhat disappointed by James Dashner's The Maze Runner.  There were a lot of things that annoyed me about this book, the first one being the style of narration. It seems to me that the majority of the books that I have been reading lately have been from the first-person perspective. I really enjoy this point of view because I think it allows readers to draw a deeper connection to the characters. The Maze Runner threw me in a bit of a loop, however, as it was written in third person. It took me a while to get use to this narration style, and really made it difficult for me to sympathize with Thomas, Chuck, and the others.

Another thing that made this book difficult for me to enjoy was the pace of the plot. I'm sure many people who have read The Maze Runner would say that it was action packed and thrilling, but I found it quite slow and awkward. There were several times I just wanted to stop reading and move onto another book. It wasn't until about Chapter 45 that I felt the book really picked up its pace for me. While I'll admit that the ending of the novel was quite unexpected and exciting, it took me a long time to get to that point. The interest set up by the epilogue is probably the only reason I may read the following books in this series. 

That isn't to say that The Maze Runner was a completely horrible book. I did enjoy certain aspects of the novel, such as the authors creativity in naming the characters after historical figures, like Albert Einstein. The setting of the novel was also pretty creative, as I would never have imagined putting characters in a maze before! Overall, the general popularity of The Maze Runner series means that this is definitely a book that a lot of people have read and enjoyed. The fact that I didn't personally fall in love with it shouldn't diminish the  novel's general celebration. My own recommendation, however, would be to borrow The Maze Runner from the library before you consider purchasing any of the books in the series.


Jacquelynne said...

I am slightly disappointed that this book didn't deliver the right amount of action or anticipation that surrounded it. I'm glad you sort of liked it though and that the next book in the series has sparked your interest.

This review was very informative, and professional :) I enjoyed it a lot and will definitely take your advice and perhaps take it out from the library instead of purchasing.

Jenny said...

I still haven't gotten to these yet but I will soon. I'm very interested in what I'll think.

Christy @TheReaderBee said...

Sorry to hear this book didn't live up to your expectations... (I hate it when that happens!) I haven't read the series yet, and I've heard mixed reviews about it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book!

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