I usually shy away from the hype. Like, I like to read a book before it’s quite exploded and being turned into a movie and it’s all everyone talks about. The thing about the Maze Runner though is that I’ve heard about it –I assume it’s quite popular now, yet I didn’t know more than the fact that it’s a YA dystopia. And somehow, I ended up buying it, reading it, and actually liking it.
The only book I’ve read that I can compare the Maze Runner to is the Hunger Games (the entire series actually). And I can gladly say that I may like the Maze Runner a bit more than I do the Hunger Games.
As always, the first thing I noted was the point of view the book is told from –third person. It really isn’t a common POV in the YA genre as the main characters usually tend to gush and rant and overdramatise the situation with their fury. Here, this was hardly needed. The third person perspective allowed for the gentle pacing of the events, the discreet insertion of clues, and the impeccable description. We still only see things from the main character’s –Thomas’s– point of view, but I think it was quite great.
The plot follows the typical dystopian trend –a bunch of kids locked up somewhere and some of them have to die in order for some others to make it out. Yet, I felt that this particular book had a rather clever twist to it; it felt like a bit of a mystery. Allow me to elaborate.
We start out with Thomas who has no memory of his life and who is thrown into a queer community of boys. So, to say the least, he’s really confused and has a lot to learn. The nice thing about this book is that it made me feel as though I was in Thomas’s shoes throughout the whole experience. Like, for the first two chapters, I was quite confused as well. Yet, gradually, as Thomas began to acquire knowledge regarding his surroundings and began to feel more at ease, so did I. And I found it rather cool that the author structured the story to work out that way.
The characters are wonderful as well. Most of them felt very dimensional to me; they were consistent but at the same time able to surprise on several occasions, which added to all the fun. And, personally, I got invested to them without really noticing. I felt quite unconcerned about all of the characters until the ones I actually liked began to die. There was one particular death that I began to tear up over around the end of the book (trying not to spoil things here) but was in the car with my family and a driver and I had to hold myself together so I don’t look like a fool. But were I alone, I definitely would have cried. I just didn’t see that death coming, okay? It wasn’t fair. It isn’t.
What I loved the most, though, about the Maze Runner was the word choice. There’s a million phrases in the book that could’ve been stale cliches, yet James Dashner tweaked them a little, adding this touch of novelty to the style of writing and making the story more of an interesting read. The book is full of action and at the same time emotions –fear, confusion, determination– and I felt that Dashner has done a wonderful job getting his thoughts across on both grounds.
Another notable thing about this book is its lack of a romantic aspect. Which is rather understandable considering that, for more than half of the book, all the characters are guys and they’re stuck in hell and so on. But still, Suzanne Collins found a way to insert romance in as drastic a game as the Hunger Games… But I’m not complaining. It was a rather pleasant surprise and made this book feel more unique when compared to others in its genre which is infested with infatuations, mushy love, and scandalous relationships. It also makes it easier for me to lend this book to my younger brother without being worried.
Which brings me to my next point. This book works for such a wide spectrum of readers. It’s adventurous, mysterious, and its lack of romance makes it very appropriate for younger male readers who’d rather not read about fluffy relationships. I’ve actually told my brother about the book, he read the synopsis and he seems really interested in reading it. And I think that it’s such a good thing that could appeal to me as much as it does to him. I’m quite sure older readers would quite enjoy it as well.
The ending obviously paved for a sequel, which kind of puts me off sometimes, but I really am intrigued to see what comes the next. Also, ‘The Scorch Trails’ is quite an interesting title honestly.
This definitely is a recommended read, and I’m wondering what everyone else thought of it. Are you reading/have you read the sequel? What are your thoughts on that?