TBR: Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner​ has often been referred to as something along the lines of a gripping story with an amazingly creative plot. In fact, a movie based on it has even been made! But are the claims of The Maze Runner​’s appealing characteristics true, and is this book right for you? Well, hopefully this will help you come to a decision.

From its very beginning, ​The Maze Runner​ made my mind whirl with wonder. The book opens with a boy about sixteen years old named Thomas (the main character) finding himself in an elevator-like box ascending toward a distant light. At first, he’s completely bewildered by his situation but eventually finds himself viewing a grassy area enclosed by very tall walls and a bunch of other teenage boys surrounding him. But later on, he grows to discover that these boys call themselves Gladers, and like him, have no idea about their pasts or how they ended up in that grassy field they call the Glade. However, for the Gladers and Thomas, things begin to take a turn for the worse when the elevator-like box that Thomas arrived in that usually delivered essential survival supplies to them suddenly stops doing so. They now have to find a way out of that grassy field and enter its terrifying surroundings filled with moving walls and robotic monsters known as Grievers –all collectively dubbed by the Gladers as “The Maze.”

Firstly, the plot is both very captivating and unique, a clear plus for the book. But second, interactions between the characters are so realistic that the author really makes you feel as though you were in Thomas’s or any of the other Glader’s shoes. When it comes to characters, I’ve often made it a sort of rule that if I really come to grow feelings about them, the author has really done a fine job. And The Maze Runner​ also passes this, as I guarantee that you will grow to hate some characters and root for others. And third, the pacing of events throughout the story is great, and some scenes are almost nail-bitingly good and suspenseful.

Really, this book has a mix of everything. Horror, action, mystery, science fiction, you name it. In some ways, it’s actually better than a ​Percy Jackson​ book in that something like this could truly happen. The more realistic element to this story makes it all the more captivating and thrilling.

If I were to point out what I felt to be some drawbacks with this book, I feel like the first thing would be (​* spoilers ahead)​ how Thomas figured out the solution to the Maze. It could arguably be explained by how the author describes Thomas’s intelligence and alludes to Thomas having helped create the Maze in the first place, but it almost feels like Thomas’s speed in solving the Maze was almost too quick to be natural. Second, the relationship between Thomas and Teresa in the story feels a bit unnatural in how they were immediately attracted to one another. (Teresa is the last of the new arrivals to the Gladers in the elevator-like box that Thomas came in.) Now, I’m no romance expert, but the immediate bond between Thomas and Teresa did feel a bit strange. Their relationship is made clearer in the next book in the series, T​he Scorch Trials,​ but without having read it, I feel like the reader does lack a bit of context.

Wrapping up, The M​aze Runner​ really is a solid read on par, if not better, than some of the popular fantasy and/or dystopian novels. I feel like the other good reviews of this novel are on point, and if not convinced by this review, I encourage you to check those out as well. If you do decide to try it for yourself, I have a 95% confidence that you will not be disappointed. Enjoy!

Review By ~ Andrew

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