The Maze Runner
By: James Dashner
“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.
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.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Summary: We enter the story through the eyes of Thomas, our hero, being deposited into the middle of a large open area surrounded by extremely high walls called The Glade. Disoriented, he is introduced immediately to Alby, the leader of The Glade, Newt, and Chuck. The first few days of Thomas’s arrival are frustrating because no one can explain everything and answer all of his questions at once. Slowly Thomas’s questions are answered and we learn everyone in The Glade is 12 to 17 years old, the oldest members have been there for two years, once a month they get supplies and a new male child (yes-they are always male) and no one remembers why or how they got there.
In The Glade the boys have created there own working society where everyone contributes to the whole by working a specific job and decisions are made by a representative counsel. The most important of these jobs is called a Runner. Runners are designated to go into the Maze everyday and map any and all changes in the hope of finding an escape. To add to its difficulty, each night the four openings that lead from the Glade into the Maze close and as the walls in the Maze move, mechanical monsters they call Grievers come out and kill anything living in the maze.
Just as Thomas is getting acquainted to life in The Glade, everything is turned upside down when a girl is sent into the Glade with a message, “She’s the last one. Ever.” From here the story begins to take on a fast paced, never ending, spiral into Hell.
Review: In the wake of The Hunger Games and Divergent series I have become an instant fan of the post-apocalyptic genre of the fantasy/sci-fi young adult genre. So when I heard about The Maze Runner and read its description it immediately went on my “To Be Read” list and jumped to the top. Now I’ve had some friends who have been keeping the pulse of this new genres as well and we all agreed it will be nice to read a young adults novel from the perspective of a male for one main reason.
- Less angst – Let’s face it, in the teenage/young adult world there is no other creature more moody, more ridiculous, or more unsure of themselves than a teenage girl. And honestly, if an author were to write a book indicating otherwise would be a total waste of time.
So, when I began reading I was delighted with the detail I was able to absorb through the eyes of Thomas. The functioning of The Glade and the social systems in place. It gave me a chance to see each characters personality and not just their reaction to their circumstances; it was a genuine look into who they might be outside of a person stuck in a maze. By using this approach, the author let me develop my own emotions. Therefore, my reactions to the situation and any events that transpired were much stronger because they weren’t the reactions of any one character. So when I stated above, ‘a fast paced, never ending, spiral into Hell’ it is truly the way I felt about conflicts I experienced with the characters, it was Hell.
I had so much more of myself invested in the book, even though it was Hell, I couldn’t put it down. I had to see what was going to happen to us next! By the end of the book I was emotionally spent and had convinced myself to discontinue reading the series. I actually spent the following day so tired and depressed I went to bed and stayed there as soon as I got home from work. At that time, mind you, I didn’t know why I was depressed and hadn’t realized the book was affecting me so strongly. The Maze Runner included a sneak peek into the next book, “The Scorch Trials,” and I honestly felt so exhausted from the first book, I’m going to have to take a break before I start the second. Yes, I’m going to continue the series. How can I not?! A book that can elicit this type of reaction cannot be ignored! It would be like ignoring the last gallon ever to be made of your favorite ice cream, just because your diabetic. You know it’s good because you’ve tasted it, but you also know it will probably hurt in the end…but it’s SO GOOD the pain is worth it!
Please don’t misunderstand me, I enjoyed the book immensely. What I summarized above, was just 57 pages of this 374 page novel! There is so much to this story I could never explain it all. If you liked The Hunger Games and Divergent series, be prepared to read a story that is more emotional and frightening.