Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
published October 2009 by Random House
384 pages (hardcover), YA
He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air.

Metal ground against metal; a lurching shudder shook the floor beneath him. He fell down at the sudden movement and shuffled backward on his hands and feet, drops of sweat beading on his forehead despite the cool air. His back struck a hard metal wall; he slid along it until he hit the corner of the room. Sinking to the floor, he pulled his legs up tight against his body, hoping his eyes would soon adjust to the darkness.

With another jolt, the room jerked upward like an old lift in a mine shaft.

Harsh sounds of chains and pulleys, like the workings of an ancient steel factory, echoed through the room, bouncing off the walls with a hollow, tinny whine. The lightless elevator swayed back and forth as it ascended, turning the boy's stomach sour with nausea; a smell like burnt oil invaded his senses, making him feel worse. He wanted to cry, but no tears came; he could only sit there, alone, waiting.

My name is Thomas, he thought.

That... that was the only thing he could remember about his life. (p. 1)
When Thomas is discovered, he finds himself in the Glade, surrounded by boys his own age who went through the same disorienting experience of waking with no memories in a metal box. He's the new guy, Greenbean affectionately, and he has a ton of questions about this place. The Glade is a self-sustaining community, almost utopian, except for the fact that there is no way out. Just outside the Glade, surrounded by a high, ivy-covered, retractable wall, is the Maze - the only hope for discovering an escape route. For two years, the eldest of the Gladers have been searching for an exit, with Runners to map out and try to solve the Maze. When Thomas arrives, everything changes. He's different, and everyone knows it. But without any memories, it's impossible to know how or why.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I tore through the pages and was constantly surprised by unexpected plot twists and turns. Really, the whole book was unexpected. Although I liked being in the dark like Thomas was, I was anxious to figure it all out and hopeful that they would find a way out. What I didn't think too hard about was the state the world might be in if/when the boys did escape. After all, who sends a bunch of teenage boys to a happy little trap of an environment with an unsolvable Maze? Oh, and did I forget to mention that there are Grievers, terrifying monsters I'd care not to envision, out in the Maze with the sole purpose of killing anyone who attempts to stay in the Maze past dark? Suspenseful, action-packed, and a little mind-boggling.

As much as I loved this book, I have to gripe a little bit. Let me show you how this book concludes:
Really? Really?! That's it. I'm reading the last page before I start another book. I cannot handle another series/saga/trilogy. I'm just tired of it. I can't keep them straight. And I can't wait. I'm not the most patient of gals. And chances are, I will forget this book by the time the next one comes out. I read too much to remember them all. But even more, none of my questions were answered in this book! Where did these boys come from? Will they eventually remember their old lives? Who is responsible for their sad fates? In a nutshell, what in the world is going on?!

So, if I knew (and I should have known) that it was going to be a trilogy, I would have waited to read it until they were all published. Maybe then I wouldn't be so frustrated. But if that's the only criticism I have of the book, then that must mean it was a pretty darn good one.

Read-alikes: The House of Stairs by William Sleator, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Other reviews:
Presenting Lenore, Guys Lit Wire, Books at Midnight, Pure Imagination, Book Crazy, Jen Robinson's Book Page, My Friend Amy


P.S. What is it with Utah and awesome YA authors? Is there something in the water?


Jan von Harz said...

Natalie, I am like you I have a hard time being patient for the next book in a series. I did love Maze Runner though and I can only hope the next book is as exciting. Once again a beautiful review, It is always a pleasure to see what you have to say.

Peaceful Reader said...

You make it worth reading but I agree it is so hard to wait for the next one. It reminds me of Gone by Michael Grant, which also left me hanging!

Alexia561 said...

Really enjoyed The Maze Runner, but like you, I wish I had known that it was part of a series before I started it. I'm not the most patient girl either... :p

Lenore said...

I knew Maze Runner was part of a series and I read it anyway...DUMB! LOL.

It was just too tempting.

NatalieSap said...

Jan - I'm hoping the next one's just as exciting too, but I'm worried that the setting won't be as interesting. And that I'll forget most of the first book!

Michelle - That is precisely why I haven't read Gone!

Alexia - Yes, patience is definitely not one of my virtues. Who can be patient when there are so many amazing books to be read?

Lenore - I agree with you; it's hard not to read a book that everyone's been raving about it... even if it means the wait for the next one!

readwhatyouknow said...

I've put off reading this one since I found out it's a cliffhanger, but it is so hard when everyone keeps suggesting/reviewing it!

LibraryKat said...

I too did not realize that I would be waiting to read the sequel. Worst part is that I recently read the sequel and it ends with "End of Book 2"! Now I have to wait some more ...
BTW, it was a great read :)

CZ said...

Did you ever finish the series? I felt the same way when I started reading them.

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