Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)The Maze Runner by James Dashner
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
★★ and ½ (rounding up to 3)

Synopsis: Thomas wakes up in a metal box, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in "the glade" for two years, trying to find a way to escape through a maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change. Older fans of Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember (Random, 2003), will likely enjoy this title and ask for the inevitable sequel.
In A Sentence: Meh….just, meh.

My Thoughts: Well, it was a quick read. And the concept was interesting. And some parts were kind of exciting. But that’s about it.
It seems that a lot of YA novels lately are using the same theme: dystopian, apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic, survival. When you’ve already read several books using the same theme, you start to get a little bored. That’s how I felt here.
Dashner has an interesting concept here regarding who created the maze and why, although I’m sure many people who read this book were able to guess what was going on within the first 100 pages of the first book, so by the time the ending came around, very little was a surprise. I mean, sure, there were a few twists and turns along the way, but overall the story was pretty predictable. I’m mainly surprised that the characters weren’t able to figure it out sooner; aren’t these kids supposed to be smarter than average?
And that’s another thing too: the characters. Sure some were likeable, but there didn’t seem to be enough depth to them to get me to love them, or at the very least relate to them. I felt that there wasn’t enough development on that front to really pull me into the story.
Finally there was the way the plot was handled. Over the years, I have grown to realize that I really don’t like it when authors end chapters with a cliffhanger. It’s a tawdry trick to get the reader to continue reading. The problem is, the trick works, and I hate feeling the need to keep reading, not because the book is good and I’m enjoying it, but because I have to know what’s going on and see if I’m right.
So did I like anything about the book? Of course I did. Like I said previously, the concept was a good one. It was new, and while it was predictable, it was still different and interesting. The plot had some things going for it, and it kept me intrigued. I also did chuckle a few times, so there’s that. And there is certainly a little bit of a Lord Of The Flies thing going on, which I thought was good.
Overall, I have read better YA/post-apocalyptic/dystopian/survival novels, but this one was still all right. I think teenagers are more likely to enjoy this one than adults, particularly teenage boys, but I would recommend it to anyone who loves these types of books. Good, but not amazing.

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