The Maze Runner by James Dashner

 

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Another book being compared to The Hunger Games, this novel is one to watch with an upcoming film on the way.Thomas wakes up in a metal box with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He is found by the others, boys living in the glade, who call themselves ‘gladers’.

For some reason there are no girls. None of the boys have any memory before they were there. They live life in the glade, the centre of a maze of giant proportions with walls that slide closed at night to protect them from the monsters who appeared after dark.
The boys all have different roles in this society and in this way it relates to Lord of the Flies. The comparison only goes so far though.

The role Thomas is immediately drawn to is the runner. The runners go out each day to map the maze. Each morning the maze is different and the gladers hope is in solving the maze and escaping. But you have to earn your place and Thomas is at the bottom of the heap.

Then one morning a new arrival is found in the box. A girl. Theresa.

I found this book a intriguing read. The glade is a fascinating setting and gives little hint of the state of the world outside the maze. The monsters faced, known as grievers, are pretty horrific and reading between the lines it seems a world with advanced technology. There are also cameras attached to little lizards that seem to be spying on them? Is it the Hunger Games reality TV? Or something more serious?

I enjoy it when an author makes their own slang for characters to use. In this context you can absolutely imagine that it is exactly what would happen. Every group of friends has unique words they use. Some of my favourites are ‘shuck’, ‘shank’ and ‘klunk’. You can read what they mean here.

I also like finding books with male protagonists, especially when written by male writers. I’d recommend this to young adult readers either male or female. If you like a bit of mystery you will enjoy the many questions raised: what on earth is with the whole maze thing, who is WICKED, what is outside, why do some kids hate Thomas, who was he before the maze, etc. It is full of action, adventure and has a rise of the underdog theme as well as some ideas about destiny and fate. For you romantic readers out there, you have to wonder about Theresa as the only girl – will there be a bit of romance? If so with who? She and Thomas do become close and have a few moments, however this is not exactly a love story.

There are four books total in this series now, two sequels and a prequel (which I recently read and loved). The order is as follows: The Kill Order (Prequel), The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure.

James Dashner writes a compelling story and his characters challenged me to think about how I would cope with the challenges faced by Thomas and his companions. There is a lot of mystery as to the context of the maze – we, like Thomas, are in the dark as to what the reality of the world outside the maze is.

I am really excited to see the movie of this. I think it should do really well on screen and I know that James Dashner is sounding happy with how the adaptation is going! The casting looks great, I got quite excited when I was that Thomas Brodie-Sangster (known for cuteness in Love Actually and awesomeness in Game of Thrones) was playing Newt (who is one of the other main characters)

Read an interview with James Dashner about the casting of the movie and other thoughts regarding the adaptation here.

My rating : 4/5

Buy it here: paperback, or here kindle, or here audiobook

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

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