Thursday, 11 March 2010

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I ran into this book courtesy of Audible/Amazon who recommend books based on earlier purchases, in this case, The Hunger Games. Like The Hunger Games, it’s a young adult dystopian novel which takes place in a presumed state of affairs sometime in the future, only The Maze Runner is much more enigmatic and speculative, at least in this first book of the trilogy.

Thomas finds himself in a box travelling upwards with no memory of how he got there or where he came from. Although he can remember general things about life, he cannot remember specifics, like who his parents or friends were. He arrives at a glade where 50 or so other boys are waiting for him. What they introduce him to is a world that makes no sense where the boys are just trying to survive from one day to the next. They are stuck in The Glade, surrounded by walls hundreds of feet high whose only exits lead to a maze, which the boys hope will one day provide them with a way out. In the meantime, they focus on surviving not only the day to day challenges of growing their own food, but also the deadly enemies found in the Maze, who seem to have no other purpose than to hunt and kill them. Thomas struggles to make sense of this new life and find his place in it, confounded by the reluctance of the other boys to provide him with any information at all. His questions either go unanswered or are received with inexplicable hostility, for those boys who have been there the longest, no longer have the patience to answer questions that they already know will lead nowhere. Thomas barely has a chance to make a start when a girl, the only girl ever seen in the Glade, arrives with a message for them all.

Although occasionally frustrated by the lack of information, the bizarre hostility and unfriendliness of many of the boys and the failure of Thomas to do the logical because he is afraid to face his fears, I really liked this book. It was a good read that kept me guessing at the outcome. I think if you had given me this book when I was a teen, it would have ranked up there with A Wrinkle in Time. I can see where a young adult would be fascinated. Having more experience and years behind me made it a bit easier to guess where the story was headed, but it was pretty good all the s


Jeane said...

Every time I read a review of this one it makes me think of The House of Stairs, by Sleator. I'm going to have to read it someday, so I can find out if they're really similar or not!

Jeane said...

I'm glad I helped you figure it out! I wrote about The House of Stairs here

Diane said...

I don't read very much YA, but I've seen this one around a lot and several have seemed to enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.