Friday, October 8, 2010


The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) - James Dashner
Genre: YA Dystopian/Sci Fi# of pages: 374 (hb)
Publisher: Delacorte, Random House
The Maze Runner @ Parental Book Reviews

Poor Maze Runner! It sat on my shelf since March before I got around to reading it. Luckily, it was definitely worth the wait. I highly enjoyed this book, even if it did take me a long time to read.
The author, James Dashner, really did an excellent job maintaining the suspense and a strong feeling of foreboding, and he also did a great job, I think, of describing the world of the Glade and the Maze to us. As far as dystopians go, this book has it all: futuristic, post-apocalyptic feel, absence of useful adult characters (absolutely no adult characters, in this case), which intensified the drama, a perfect blend of action and suspenseful quiet, and the brain-itching question of "What is going to happen next?!"
It seems to me that Dashner treats his readers the way he treats Thomas, the story's narrator - he drops them into this storyworld, right in the middle of all the action, and presents no answers (at first). Thus the purpose of the book is not only to survive and to overcome, but also to figure out what the Sam Hill is going on. And I think he did a fine job. It helped me relate to Thomas and the other boys to feel just as lost and confused as they were.
It seemed like we didn't get any answers until the last 100 or so pages. I would have liked the revelations to be a little more gradual and spaced out, just because it felt like I was being hit with a tidal wave worth of information. Also, there really only seemed to be one "thing" out there in the Maze, the Grievers, and they really weren't that scary to me, so segments that really should have been "exciting" or "borderline scary" just weren't. I would have amplified the creepiness factor of the Maze, made it more terrifying. However, the ending (especially the last few chapters) was EPIC. As in, best spankin' way to conclude a book. It sets up for The Scorch Trials so tantalizingly!
The only thing that could have been better was the story's characterization. The narrative seemed at times to be inexpressive and matter-of-fact, and I didn't really feel like there was a lot of character depth. The narrative told me what Thomas was feeling, for example, but it didn't really show me. I'm interested to see if characterization becomes stronger in the next book.
The 'language,' too, seemed a little overdone. I found the made-up expletives very amusing, but a bit overused. On the other hand, I can't be certain that boys wouldn't speak so colorfully, if they were by themselves in a big shucking maze. :)

Highly enjoyable and highly recommended! And whadaya know! The Scorch Trials is available now!

Final Grade:

8 shout-outs!:

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

I totally agree with you! :) I LOVED The Maze Runner. Although with me being the scaredy cat that I am, I thought the Grievers were scary throughout the entire book. Hey, unexplained noises get me scared, what do ya expect? =p I can't do scary.

I do, however, agree with you on the narrative. I couldn't really connect with Thomas that well. Harry Potter has the same narrative, but I could connect with him, sympathize with him, etc. Not Thomas.

I caaan't wait for the Scorch Trials! :) I'm definitely going to have to go out and buy it asap! :D Awesome review, as always <3 *fan of your reviews* :P

Anonymous said...

Awesome review, thank you! I bought The Maze Runner just the other day and am super duper excited to read it, there's something about mazes that freaks the heck out of me, yet intrigues my imagination at the same time ... I suspect Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, as well as Cedric Diggory (back before he became Stalker Vamp :o), have something to do with it, hehe.

I was already excited about this book, but you've just made me even MORE so ... I need to know why those guys are dumped in a maze ... it's just weird, I need answers and I haven't even started the story, yet. I just hope I'm not starting another dystopian series only to have it eventually end in Depression on Toast, think Mockingjay. (TEAM GALE!!! Had to throw that in there :D)

Natalie said...

This is one of those books that has sat on my shelf FOREVER, yet I still haven't gotten around to it. One of my flatmates really enjoyed it though. Glad to hear that you did too!

Katy said...

Ah, I've been on the fence, unsure if I should try this one. Sounds like I should. :)

Dazzling Mage said...

I've read great things about this book, and now I'm really, really curious! Great review!

Anonymous said...

I found the made-up expletives very amusing, but a bit overused. On the other hand, I can't be certain that boys wouldn't speak so colorfully, if they were by themselves in a big shucking maze. :)

that part totally cracked me up ^^

once again, great review amelia

Tales of Whimsy said...

I really must read this.

Literature for Lunch said...

Great review! I loved this book and am so excited for The Scorch Trials.

I did think that the Grievers were super scary, though. Giant blobs with huge pinchers and spikes sticking out. Eeek!

I did have trouble getting into the book (say the first 100 pages) but after that I really felt it picked up steam and drew me in.

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