The Maze Runner Book Review
In trying to clear my mind, I've taken back to reading. It's amazing. I love it. Do it.
There are spoilers after this point. You have been warned. Boom.
I recently got wrapped up in reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner. In short, the story is set in an apocalyptic, dystopian future with brain wiped teenaged boy geniuses going through a series of hardships only to discover all of their pain and deaths of their friends were part of an elaborate experiment.
The teenagers are living in the Glade, a place where there are no adults and a maze without a solution. The Maze is mapped out by Runners, a group whose sole purpose is running in mapping, in order to solve it. However, the Maze has deadly creatures, Grievers, living in it and patrolling it, searching for victims. You can see cool fan drawings of them here and here.
If someone got stung by one of these things, they would be sent to the Med-jacks (doctors) for the Grief Serum, which not only helps cure them but gives them memories of their old lives back. It’s called the Changing. Those that go through the Changing seem to be driven slightly mad and attack people. One of them tried to attack the main character, Thomas, and because of his actions he was given Banishment as a punitive measure. Banishment consists of outing a collar around the accused and hooking them up to a pole and pushing that pole into the Maze at night. This all happened the same day that Thomas arrived.
Each month one child was introduced to the group in the Glade and every week they are sent supplies and food from their captors. The day after Thomas’s arrival, a girl arrives with a mysterious note. The girl is comatose and losing her memories, but is able to communicate cryptic messages to Thomas telepathically as she knows they are connected. Their connection is the only thing she remembers and the words she wrote on her arm: WICKED is good.
The book is very dark and the horrific incidents that occur are described in great detail. That being said, the book wasn’t written in a way that I was on the edge of my seat when I should have been. The suspense build up needs help, but the concept is cool enough to keep you engaged.
I didn’t really appreciate or care about Thomas’s and Teresa’s relationship. Dashner tries to make Teresa seem nonchalant but still attached to Thomas. I, personally, can do without romance when there’s Sci-Fi involved. I think all young adult fiction falls into the trap of trying to create a romance, where one isn’t necessary. I remember as a teen I would roll my eyes, just as I do now, when stories came to that part. But, hey, Dashner’s sold over three million copies of the book, so what do I know about story formula?
I am interested to see whether or not the second book will develop the relationship between Thomas and Teresa more, as that might ruin the series for me. Secretly, I’m hoping they turn out to be brother and sister a la Star Wars. I enjoyed that the children were named after other geniuses (e.g. Chuck was named after Charles Darwin). It was a clever device that didn’t distract from the narrative. The book was an interesting read and I will finish this series and let you know what I think. Feel free to share your thoughts as well.