Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{March 27, 2011}   The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

Synopsis from Goodreads: “Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You’re in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids — the Runners — venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines.  Thomas is the newest arrival to the Glade in this Truman-meets-Lord of the Flies tale. A motley crew of half a dozen kids is all he has to guide him in this strange world. As soon as he arrives, unusual things begin to happen, and the others grow suspicious of him. Though the Maze seems somehow familiar to Thomas, he’s unable to make sense of the place, despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. What is this place, and does Thomas hold the key to finding a way out?”


I highly enjoyed this novel!  I have been putting it off for a while as it’s a trilogy and only books one and two are out, so I was planning to wait until all three were published.  However, my school library just received a copy, so I swooped in and took it before it hit the shelves.  I’m glad I did!  I thought this novel was phenomenal!  It reminds me of The Hunger Games trilogy.  If you liked that series, then I highly recommend reading The Maze Runner, even though the series is not yet complete.

I will admit that I wasn’t hooked right away.  In the very beginning, I nearly closed the novel because of the slang words used.  Dashner has created a whole slew of made-up words, and nightmares of trying to decipher A Clockwork Orange started running through my mind.  I am not a fan of gibberish, so I was less than pleased.  However, while Dashner does use slang, he uses very few terms (though in the beginning it seems like a lot), and the meaning of each becomes fairly clear within a chapter or two: insert a bad word.  I’ve concluded that Dashner used slang for two reasons: to keep his integrity as a YA author, and to further the notion that this is a futuristic novel.  As language is one of the first aspects to change within a culture, it actually makes sense that slang is used, even if it only pertains to cusses. 

Once I figured out the language, I was glued to the pages.  Dashner does a phenomenal job creating suspense at the end of each chapter.  Though I started the novel right before I went to bed, and planned to read only the first chapter, I ended up reading 100 pages before forcing myself to turn off the light.  I kept telling myself, “I’ll go to bed at the end of this chapter,” but when I got to the end, it was impossible to put down, because I couldn’t just turn off the light and leave everything hanging!  Eventually I forced myself to quit, otherwise I believe I would have spent the entire night reading; it’s that addictive!

While the character development was not 100%, in my opinion, the characters were still likable, for the most part, and I think they will continue to develop throughout the series.  Afterall, isn’t that the point of a series—to further develop the characters as they go through mass amounts of change?  I’m extremely excited to read The Scorch Trials as soon as I get my hands on it!  Five stars for a phenomenal read.


et cetera
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