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Book Review: The Maze Runner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published: October 6, 2009
Reviewer: Lyanna
Rating: 3 stars


"If you ain't scared, you ain't human." 

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He's surrounded by strangers--boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It's the only way out--and no one's ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

My biggest problem with the Maze Runner was its transition and my inability to emphatize with Thomas.

Lea (the other admin of BookBeasties) set my standards for The Maze Runner so high, I think too high that reading the book itself (after so much hype from not only Lea but everyone else) did not live up to those expectations, instead, failed miserably in impressing me at all.

I appreciate its creativity and attempt at adventure. But unlike Lea, I'm more critical with writing than I am with plot-building. And the writing in this book made me recoil, it wasn't as bad as other books I've read, but I still wasn't impressed. For a book with a movie coming up, a huge fan-base, lots of followers and tons of hype, it falls short.

I started reading this book a year and a half ago, so imagine that, it's been sitting on my shelf untouched for that long, I only picked it up again due to Lea's constant ramblings about how "I must read it" and the fact that a movie's coming up. Also, I'm not the kind of reader who gives up on a book, no matter how bad.

And even then, I put it down more than four times to get a breather and read approximately 8 books before finishing it. 


I don't know what it is about male authors and their need to leave out descriptions. I'm not a fan of heavy detailed writing, but I would've appreciated to at least know what colour Thomas' eyes were. (I can't even remember if it was mentioned or not).


Thomas was a mess. He kept on volleying back and forth between such contradictory thoughts. He denied the obvious and lived in ignorant bliss. He was also very bipolar: I know this girloh but wait, no I don't. Like make up your mind! I should do this … nah, too stupid, wait, but, uhhhhh, I should do it.

Dashner never really explained what pushed Thomas to do the things he did. Thomas constantly got these gut feelings every now and then that he wanted to do this and do that. He also claimed that the Glade and the Maze were all very familiar and somewhere near the end we learn why, but some questions, like why Thomas wanted to be a Runner from the start, were left unanswered. Either it was a sloppy mistake or it'll be addressed in the next book. (If I even read the next book). 

We have all these distinct characters, all with their own personalities. Dashner could've exploited that to his advantage but he focused too much on Thomas, Minho was given a little justice but I would've liked more involvement from Teresa.

She was asleep for most of the book, literally.

Then suddenly she's one of the most important characters, like sure, she and Thomas are supposed to be the deciding factor on whether they solve the maze but you can't just drop a girl into a maze full of boys, place her to sleep for 200 pages, wake her up and decide that she's this blessing from above or curse from below.

I wasn't able to empathize with any of them. Dashner could've killed all the characters and I wouldn't have blinked an eye.


Ahhhh.. the plot. Here's something I enjoyed.

The Maze idea was very unique, in fact the whole book was very unique. It was intriguing and that's what drew me to it in the first place. It had the right mix of mystery, thriller and adventure.

I think some obstacles were overcome too easily and I would've appreciated more hurdles.

Sadly, the plot does not compensate enough for the lack in character development and writing. Hence, this book gets 3 stars from me, I would've given it 2 stars but I think it deserves more credit for distinguishing itself from other YA dystopians.

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