lilianxcheng, July 12, 2012 (view all comments by lilianxcheng)
The Maze Runner thrives on the suspense and the fantastical setting. Just like Thomas, the protagonist, we are thrown into the Glade being just as (if not more) confused as him. The technology, the creatures, the absurdity of the situation was like a video game as we follow Thomas on his journey to solving it. The pace was fine, Dashner knows how to keep my attention with action. But one of the biggest issues are the characters: especially Thomas, who despite his bravery doesn't seem like a smart guy; he only "solves" the whole thing by relying on past memories. However, The Maze Runner is comprised with many surprising elements that draw me into the story, keeping me reading to find out how the pieces fit together. An exciting (even if dark) story of a group of teenagers trying to solve their way out of a dire situation.
Thomas wakes up in an elevator and is led to The Glade, a town of only boys surrounded by a Maze. There are also monsters that lurk the Maze at night, so that nobody is allowed out of The Glade after the walls close. Every week, supplies are sent from the elevator, and every month a new boy is sent. There are different jobs: farmers, cooks, police officers, janitors, etc. And then there are the Runners, a group of elite Gladers sent to run in the maze everyday to find an exit. The Maze changes everyday, and for two years, an exit hasn't been found. Thomas feels strongly tied to being a Runner, but before think about it-a girl comes up in the elevator.
The Gladers have their own slang, which I suspect might be a way to bypass swearing for a novel targeted towards young teens. The abundance of strange words bogs down the story a bit and leaves me in complete confusion in the first chapter. The slang could have been used a bit less so the reader has a stronger grasp of what's going on. If anything, it sounded like the boys were using the slang to intimidate people. Gradually we begin to know what words stand for and it becomes less of a distraction. However, I am not sure why they start creating slang that makes them sound like cavemen even though they all know English. If you are fine with the slang in Moira Young's Blood Red Road, The Maze Runner's language won't faze you.
There's no gore, but there are a LOT of deaths. Thankfully, their deaths usually don't arise from unnecessary fighting. The Gladers generally know they have to work together, and killing one of their own is just not helping the situation.
I am confused as to why The Maze Runner is written in third person limited instead of first person. Obviously we can't have such a suspenseful story in third person omniscient: there wouldn't be any secrets if the narrator is supposed to know everything. We only get follow Thomas and knows what he knows, but the third person stance leaves me unable to understand Thomas. I want to know what is going inside his head. Because of the narrator, the other characters, although many of them likable, don't get enough depth.
Thomas: Protagonist and one of the reasons why The Maze Runner has a slow start: it's because he SO CONFUSED, with so many questions. HOLD YOUR HORSES AND WAIT FOR THEM TO EXPLAIN, DUDE! Makes me want to yell at him to stop interrupting the story with his questions. He is like the annoying kid in class that doesn't know when to shut up. I know why his peers ignore him half the time now. It just might be a guy thing, or a sign of his natural curiosity. I applaud his bravery, his intelligence, but I expected more to solving everything than just remembering stuff. A bit of a let down to be honest. Despite his talkative, curious nature, his determined demeanor makes him a good leader--and one of his best traits.
Teresa: Maybe my head was in the gutter, but one girl amongst like forty guys...wouldn't you be expecting them to procreate? Anyway, she still remains pretty much a mystery. I want to like her, but I don't know her. Thomas and Teresa share a connection, but whether it's romantic or not, I don't know.
Minho: A supporting character and the Keeper of the Maze Runners. He is also my favorite character (maybe it's because he is Asian? I love supporting minorities.) Unlike Thomas, he is less optimistic, but a strong leader nonetheless.
Newt: Despite the ridiculous nickname, he is a charismatic leader. He is more calmer one in the group. I definitely like him more than Thomas as well.
The "monsters" that make the Maze so scary. When they were first introduced I thought they were like gigantic buffalos (since they were ramming windows)...but it turns up they are just six feet long, mechanized, ugly slugs. Actually now that I imagine it, they seem ridiculous. I rather have a buffalo. They can kill, and sometimes sting to give someone flashbacks. I am puzzled with the flashbacks for they seem to be an intentional product of the Grievers. If it was intentional, they wouldn't be built with those needles in the first place, right? But if the needles were intentional, then why brainwash everyone? But if the flashback needles were un-intentional, why create the needles and stick them in the Grievers?
GIVE ME MY ANSWERS! I'm feeling a bit cheated right now (even though I know it's a strategy to get me to continue the series.) The Maze Runner gives me these half-answers that don't quite tell me why people would waste so much time and money on such a elaborate maze. Do people have nothing better to do? SPOILER ALERT: So you waste two years conducting this thing when you could just gather them all to work together? Aren't more brains better than a few traumatized ones? (or worse yet, the murderous ones?)
Overall, I did like the suspense, the world-building. But I am disappointed that my curiosity wasn't quenched: the answers given just left me with even more questions. I hope I will get some logical answers in the sequel, and all this stuff isn't just introduced for the heck of it.
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Jemima, November 17, 2009 (view all comments by Jemima)
Dashner has created a strange but believable world that captured my interest and kept me reading.The Maze Runner sets up a very suspenseful story with an end-of-the-world type theme. At first it seems that the action is confined to trying to solve a maze, but by the end of the novel the setting has broadened and new mysteries are hinted at. I look forward to reading the next installment and finding out what is going on. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes suspenseful science fiction and particularly to teenage boys: what with the heroic young male protagonist, the spots of blood and gore plus the mysteries to solve, it is a great choice for them.
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CC, November 16, 2009 (view all comments by CC)
An excellent YA novel and such a page turner! James Dashner has created an eerie blend of "Lord of the Flies" and "Hunger Games". I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast-paced can't put down book.
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The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy #01)
0 stars -
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Dashner (the 13th Reality series) offers up a dark and gripping tale of survival set in a world where teenagers fight for their lives on a daily basis. It starts when Thomas, a teenage amnesiac, wakes up in the Glade, a fragile oasis in the middle of an enormous maze. Here, a group of teenage boys eke out a hazardous existence, exploring the Maze by day and retreating to the Glade at night. No one knows how they got there; no one has ever found a way out ('Old life's over, new life's begun. Learn the rules quick,' the group's leader tells Thomas). Bizarre technological monsters called Grievers patrol the Maze's corridors, almost certain death for any who encounter them. Thomas struggles to regain his memories, but the arrival of a young woman with an ominous message changes the rules of the game. With a fast-paced narrative steadily answering the myriad questions that arise and an ever-increasing air of tension, Dashner's suspenseful adventure will keep readers guessing until the very end, which paves the way for the inevitable continuation. Ages 12 — up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In this action-packed fantastically-imagined thriller, fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. But Will Drake likes a challenge . . .
Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a special juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. After hatching some escape plans—and making the first real friends of his life—Drake quickly realizes that all is not as it seems on the Rig. The warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X, a blue glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan, and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom—but can they survive long enough to make it?
A lost colony is reborn in this heart-pounding fantasy adventure set in the near future. Enter the world of the Elementals, which James Dashner called completely gripping and full of intrigue, revelation, mystery, and suspense.”
Sixteen-year-old Thomas has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an element—earth, water, wind, or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.
In the wake of an unforeseen storm, desperate pirates kidnap the Guardians, intent on claiming the island as their own. Caught between the Plague-ridden mainland and the advancing pirates, Thomas and his friends fight for survival in the battered remains of a mysterious abandoned settlement. But the secrets they unearth will turn Thomass world upside-down, and bring to light not only a treacherous past but also a future more dangerous than he can possibly imagine.
Written by an award-winning author, this dynamic series is perfect for fans of dystopian thrillers like James Dashners The Maze Runner and Marie Lus Legend.
Plenty of action for readers who enjoy survival stories with a twist of the supernatural and a hint of romance.” School Library Journal
The novels captivating storyline, rapid pace, and cliffhanger ending are sure to leave fans of novels like Grants Gone series absorbed with the action and anxious for a sequel.” Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Engaging characters and plenty of mystery, adventure, and action." -Publishers Weekly
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