Sunday, 29 September 2013

Book Review: The Maze Runner

Author: James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner #1
Published: 2009
Format: Kindle eBook

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

The hype surrounding The Maze Runner was quite huge; the vast majority of people absolutely adored it, and that left it put on a pedestal for me, and I was quite hesitant to pick it up due to my issues with hyped books (that is a story for another time).

The premise of the story is absolutely brilliant; nobody knows why they have been placed into this 'maze arena' known as the Glade, and this leads to the feeling of tension and mystery as they try to figure out why they have been placed there and how they are going to get out. The concept is what kept me reading, as for the most part, the book was poorly executed with regards to a few things including the character development and the progression of the book.

This book revolved around the main character Thomas, who was written about in the third person; this made the reading of the book quite detached, and I felt as though if this was written from Thomas' perspective then we would have had a better idea of what he was feeling. I generally didn't like Thomas as a character much in the first place anyways; he was always trying to be the hero in the situation, and this didn't create a confidence about him, but just made him out to be very attention seekingly annoying. Other than Thomas there wasn't very much going for any of the other characters either, they were all just, there. There wasn't any particular personality that I was drawn to as such; to me, all the characters just blended together as a group entity rather than singular people.

Although this book was extremely fast paced, I found that the majority of the things that actually happened in it were extremely stupid and inconsequential. Half of the book was spent explaining the 'glade' as it's known; what everyone does, what it all means (to a certain extent), etc. Had this been spread out across the entirety of the book it probably would have been better, but to have half of a book introducing you to the scene was just a little too unnecessary and boring for me. I can't describe it fully, but some of the things that happened in the maze were just plan weird, and at times I wondered what on earth was actually going on; not because I didn't understand the story, but because I didn't understand why it had to be so extravagant. All in all it seemed to be all plot and no substance.

The last third of the book however, enthralled me to the max and definitely had me on the edge of my seat when reading. It just all of a sudden got ridiculously exciting, and this created the tension that should have been used throughout the whole book. Something changed about it, perhaps it was just the fact that I wasn't being bored by meaningless information and was actually delving into some really gripping storyline - in fact, that most probably is the answer. Why Dashner couldn't create these feelings throughout the rest of the book I will never know, but what I do know is that that ending made me itching to get on to the next book.


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