Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Maze Runner #1)

I finally picked this book up again after a few months. And I am whacking myself for not reading this from start to finish in the first place.

Title: The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1)
Author: James Dashner


When Thomas wakes up, he remembers nothing, except his first name. He is introduced to the Glade, a large open space surrounded by stone walls. The people living in the Glade are all boys, and none of them have specific memories of their lives before the Glade. Like Thomas, none of them know who they are or why they are in the Glade. All they know is that the stone walls of the maze that surrounds them open every morning and close every night, and once a month a new kid is dropped off. But the next day, a new kid arrives at the Glade, and this time, it's a girl, and she's in a coma. With her comes a note: she will be the last one.

Her arrival causes chaos in the Glade, and a trigger to the kids' escape. 


So I started this book ages ago, put it aside, then finally picked it up again today. And I'm just wondering to myself why I stopped in the first place, because this book is awesome. 

The plot was exhilarating and full of action, with movie-tastic fight scenes and mad escapes. I read Variant first, and I can totally see why it was sort of..ripped off. Variant was like a squeaky clean version of The Maze Runner, with a sterile school instead of a sort of clan formed by the kids. What made me like this a whole lot more than Variant, though, was the setting. (By the way, I totally gave up on the second book of Variant. I understand now why the reviews were so crappy. The first book was alright, I guess, for me who hadn't yet read the Maze Runner, but the second book was just...)

Anyway, I loved the details put into the setting of this book. When I try to write stories (all in my head, I never get around to actually writing them down), I start thinking about plot details, and then I try and think about the details behind those details, until the world seems plausible enough. That's exactly what James Dashner did. His story never went anywhere without at least subtly hinting at a deeper motive, and nothing in the mystery of the book seems random or pointless, or the slightest bit underthought. 

The characters were alright, especially secondary characters, but our protagonist Thomas was more of an audience substitute than an actual character. He spoke in flawless English, is completely clueless and  charges without thinking. The girl Teresa too. But the secondary characters show a bit more life, and while they play a big part in the plot, they were never really explored. I hope for more on them in the next book.

The writing style was fluent and the action kept me going. In hindsight it was a lot more telling than showing, but the constant events of the book are enough to keep you wrapped up in the story and diverts your attention from the mediocre writing (but then again I can't write better than that so who am I to judge).

Also, the world building. The Glade is described vaguely, which I didn't particularly like. We also have no idea what's going on outside the Maze, but it sort of leaves you hanging, wanting the next book.

Grade: B+ Overall a pretty good book. 

P.S. The movie is being filmed RIGHT NOW and starring Dylan O'Brien or Stiles (is it Stiles idk) from Teen Wolf and Simon from Nanny McPhee (He's always Simon to me, even though he was Tim Latimer in Doctor Who, Ferb in Phineas and Ferb, and he was in Game of Thrones but I don't watch that so I don't know) and some girl from Skins who's really really pretty. I like the cast. Especially Dylan but I have a celebrity crush on him so I'm totally biased. 


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