This is a book review for The Maze Runner by James Dashner.
I’m not entirely sure how I missed the whole Maze Runner phenomenon. I read a fair amount of YA but somehow this never crossed my desk, despite having heard all the hype about it, until I saw the trailer for The Scorch Trials and was interested enough to see what it was all about.
I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, but whatever it was, it wasn’t what I read and I’m sorry to say that I was a bit disappointed by it.
Straight off, I struggled to get into the story because of the language. While I understand why it was written that way (to make the reader empathise with Thomas) it was incredibly off-putting to me as a reader and dragged on without explanation for so long that I considered just giving up several times. If my friend hadn’t persuaded me that it was worth continuing with, I probably would have abandoned the story at about 20% in.
I never really got emotionally invested in the characters. They all seemed a bit flat somehow. I couldn’t care enough about Thomas to really want everything to become clear for him. The only character I felt something for was Chuck, but even that wasn’t enough to provide any real momentum for my feelings towards the story.
A big part of my problem with this book was that the whole premise just seemed ridiculous. I mean…who drops a bunch of kids into a maze with deadly predators just for the hell of it? And why would said kids keep running the maze after it became clear that the patterns were all repeating quite early on? It didn’t occur to me until I was somewhere around 70% that it had echoes of The Hunger Games, the first two books of which I absolutely loved. Once the comparison had been made, I just couldn’t shake it and I’m afraid it sounded the death knell for this book for me because, in my humble opinion, The Hunger Games were better. It may be an issue of perspective or scope, but I really connected with the other series and I just couldn’t with this one. It may be because there was no back story to the characters here – no family to tug on the heart strings or deprivation to make you cheer for the underdog. It’s possibly also because there’s no obvious villain to root against. The Creators are just too vague and nebulous and the grievers, to me, sounded like the love child of a Dalek and Jabba the Hutt, so it was hard to take them seriously.
Even when it gets to the end and you find out what the purpose of the maze was, it didn’t really produce any reaction because it had been so heavily foreshadowed earlier on.
The only part of the book that really hooked me in was the Epilogue which, of course, ended on a cliff-hanger.
I appreciated that this review is quite negative, but I feel I should state here that this isn’t a bad book and I know a great many people that thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s certainly well-paced and well constructed, despite the plot being a little fuzzy around the edges. The fact that I didn’t enjoy it is almost entirely down to personal taste. I am considering getting the second book because that final twist on the last two pages made me curious.
Would I recommend it? Yes. If you’re a hardcore reader of YA that liked the Hunger Games and are looking for something in a similar vein (and you’re less judgemental than me lol) you’ll probably really quite enjoy this.