Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Maze Runner

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): It's a human rat race, except the cheese is another day surviving a nightmare.

Author: James Dashner
Info: Delacorte Press, copyright 2009, 374 pages

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

~Goodreads Description

The Breakdown
There's the glade, home of the glade-ers, young boys who have found themselves in a mysterious world and are fighting to survive.  Just outside of the glade is the maze, an unimaginably large stone labyrinth teaming with vicious monsters, with walls that move every night making it impossible to solve.  For two years the glade-ers have worked to survive and attempt to solve the labyrinth.  But everyday was the same, until Thomas arrived, Thomas who asked too many questions and ignored the rules that kept the glade-ers alive for so long.  And then the girl.  The girl who who said that everything was going to change.  And it will.

The Awesome
The story is pretty darn terrifying.  You've got these poor kids living off the land just outside a horror filled maze that's basically death, and there seems to be no reprieve in sight.  Dashner has done an excellent job creating a unique setting that's filled with thrills and chills.  And he's not afraid to get a little gruesome and kill some characters off.  Maybe I'm a little cut throat, but the more  read, the more I enjoy when things aren't all neat and clean.

The Not So Awesome
Character development was lacking a bit throughout  the story.  This isn't to say I didn't like the characters or feel concern for them as they battled the scary robot creatures, but they seemed more like stereotypes than living, breathing, feeling human beings.  Thomas is your reluctant reader with a bit of heart and a lot of gumption.  Alby is your cranky, hesitant leader.  Newt it the good guy, the friend, the one that listens and tries to support the hero.  Chuck is the quirky sidekick.  And Gally is the bully.  Then there's Theresa, the girl, who just has cryptic things to say and very little personality.  The first in a series is always hard because of story building.  Dashner is skilled enough that I want to continue to see what happens and who survives.

I picked up the audiobook for this title in the hurried attempt to finish it before the release of the movie.  I wasn't overly impressed with the reader, but now that I've started the series in audio, I'll probably continue that way just to see it all through.  I felt like the reader was reading me a story.  I know that sounds stupid....I'm listening to an audiobook, DUH! of course it sounds like the reader is reading a story.  Some narrators have the unique ability to create the story around you instead of forcing it onto you, if that makes any sense.  The reader felt like the narrating voice of a movie.  He was telling me what happened instead of letting me engross myself in the story and see it myself.

But it's descent.  And you should absolutely read The Maze Runner, in whatever format you're most comfortable with.  It's fast paced, exciting, and terrifying.  Just what a good dystopian novel should be.

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