The Maze Runner by James Dashner
“Everything is going to change.”
The Maze Runner, as most of you probably know if you have either read the book or seen the trailer for the upcoming movie, is a post-apocalyptic book about a group of teenage boys who are trapped in the middle of a maze that they can’t seem to puzzle their way out of, with no memories of their lives before the maze. Still, they aren’t giving up – despite the many hideous monsters lurking out in the maze. And when a girl arrives, the madness takes a turn for the worst…
Here’s the trailer:
“If you ain’t scared… you ain’t human.”
Concept/Storyline: This book is a little older (published in 2009), but I decided to read it (finally) after seeing the trailer for the upcoming movie. I just couldn’t wait until the movie came out to see what had happened to these boys and why in the world they were in the middle of a huge maze. And let me tell you how very satisfying it was to find out! Although even by the end of the book we still don’t have the full picture, the very concept made it worth reading. The lead-up to it was also very expertly done, as it kept me guessing even up until the end, even though the book is peppered with small hints and realizations.
Dialogue: The dialogue was very exquisite to delve into. The character’s particular dialect while locked in the Glade (though, obviously, rather childish – for instance, “klunk” is the name given to feces) was very well thought-out, and seemed just one more part of what a bunch of boys being thrown together in a maze might come up with.
“You get lazy, you get sad. Start givin’ up. Plain and simple.”
Character: Furthermore, I was fascinated by the civilized sort of lifestyle the boys adopted. Everyone worked, every day. (Contrasting this with the idea of “Lord of the Flies” – a very intriguing novel describing the events succeeding a crash-landing of an airplane filled with young boys onto a deserted island, it’s interesting to see how different the boy’s lives end up. In The Maze Runner, the boys work every day and keep themselves busy, which leads to less in-fighting. Whereas in The Lord of the Flies, the boys end up turning to savagery and violence.) Dashner did a fairly good job of developing the characters, even the slightly-more-antagonistic characters were given rounded personalities.
“Tonight, they’d make their stand, once and for all.”
Reading Level: Okay, this isn’t something that’s desperately wrong with the book at all, but I just have to say that I would have liked this book far more had it been written to a slightly older audience.
Clichés: Although the boys were very well-rounded, the one female character in the story is designed in a more flat way: beautiful and seemingly perfect. Another cliché is the design of the plot, starting out with the typical exposition phase (learning about the place, and answering questions), at which point the action increases little by little until we get to the end of the novel and the characters are now faced with a brutal, deathly test which serves as the climax. Let’s just say, it’s been done before.
This book definitely has a good smattering of violence in it (most of it done by adults to children). Other than that and the occasional cuss word (most of them made up by the boys themselves) this book is fairly PG.
I’d definitely recommend watching the movie this weekend. (I know I will be!)
Other books by James Dashner
May your life have many creased pages!