Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Maze Runner

I'm so behind in blog posts that I'm tempted to just sum this up by saying, if you like The Hunger Games series, you'll like The Maze Runner. It feels lazy to only write that much, so I'll elaborate some more. The Maze Runner by James Dashner takes place in a dystopian future, but we are given so few details about it that the mystery is slowly revealed by the bare facts Dashner doles out bit by bit. Don't dystopian young adult novels feel like they're all the rage lately? It seems like I've read piles of them lately and but thankfully this one delivers on several accounts.

Thomas wakes up in a metal box, confused and without memories of how he got there or anything about his life, other than his name. When he comes out, he is greeted by a group of teenage boys living in a communal farm, surrounded by giant stone walls covered in ivy. Yup, you guessed it. It's a maze. Every day at dawn, the doors of the maze open and runners take off to find an escape to the maze. They have to return by sundown before the doors close or they take the risk of being killed by the Grievers, monstrous machines programmed to kill. If a runner is merely stung by a Griever, he goes through a horrific change that brings back sporadic memories of life before the maze. Those memories don't seem to be all that pleasant.

I like alternate futures and puzzles like what are depicted in this book, but a few things bugged me. The boys have their own slang and profanity, that while the words are innocent in themselves, are used so frequently and substituted so obviously for familiar swear words that they become just as offensive. It bugged me that Dashner used that tactic and then proceeded to beat the reader over the head with it. It bugged me that it was assumed that all teenage boys would have giant potty mouths. I was never a teenage boy, so maybe that's the norm, but it bugged me.

Complaints aside, this was a cool book.  The mysteries are slowly revealed, but not so slowly and teasingly that I got annoyed.  I reached a point in the book when I realized that this is the first in a series, which annoys me, but what isn't a series any more?  I throw my hands up.  I'll read the next books, I'm sure.  Like I said in the first sentence, if you liked The Hunger Games, then this is a book for you.  If not, I've got a whole stack of books waiting to be blogged about in the next week or two and surely one of those will interest you.  I aim to please, after all. 

1 comment:

  1. I still haven't read The Hunger Games, but you're right, the dystopian YA novel sure seems to be popular these days! I'm with you; I enjoy a good series, but prefer even more a self-contained work that can stand on its own.

    I'm also curious about what is in that stack you mentioned.....