Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: The Maze Runner

I believe this book, The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, came under my radar because it is coming out in movie form this year. It was a possible selection for my book club. I'm glad I added it to my list. A fairly clean book with great appeal for boys, I'll definitely recommend this to my sons in a few years (or perhaps to Bryce if he needs to read a book of his own selection - something he rarely does). I even thought it was headed for some Christian parallels when they began to talk about the need for a sacrifice in order to save the lives of all the others, but this broke down somewhat. I'll probably see the movie when it comes out in September. It looks like it will be good. Here's the trailer:

Thomas awakens to find himself being lifted into a new world in an elevator. This new world, The Glade, has a large group of young men who have been trying to find a way out through a terrifying maze for two years already. The maze walls change every night (after the giant stone walls close on it) and hideous creatures called "Grievers" come out to sting and kill anyone left in the maze. Thomas is desperate for answers but none of the other boys offer up much in the way of information. Then, something strange begins to occur. Used to receiving a new citizen once a month, the boys are shocked when the day after Thomas arrives a girl, Teresa, arrives. If that isn't strange enough, she is clutching a note which says the end is near. She seems to remember Thomas, although Thomas has no recollections of her or his previous life. The intensity grows as things begin to change and they must find a way out or die.

This book was highly reminiscent of the Patrick Ness books, The Knife of Never Letting Go and More Than This. Like the first book, it is a world entirely made up of males with the introduction of one female. Like the second book, the main character has lost memory and finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world of some strange sort, requiring him to figure out what is going on. The telepathic communication between Thomas and Teresa reminded me of the noise of audible thought in The Knife of Never Letting Go. The Creators have placed the boys in the maze-world for a reason, but they seem helpless to figure it all out until Thomas and Teresa arrive. While open-ended, I wasn't terribly thrilled with the ending. It answered questions, yes, but left me wishing for a more satisfying conclusion.

This book had all the elements that appeal to male readers - a male dominated society with their own unique curse-code, monsters, intense challenges, a mysterious and attractive female, a maze, death, and gore. The reading was intensely compelling. Although not as wild a ride as a book by Ness, it was equally riveting. I can see why this was selected for a film interpretation. Can't wait to see the movie. How about you?
Click here for a review of my experience with the movie and with the prequel, The Kill Order.

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