Monday, 2 December 2013

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner was a surprise to me. I appreciated the unique plot and the characterization of the novel, but to be honest, I got a little bored toward the middle of the book. It was the exciting ending of the book that changed my mind with an explosive climax that changes this book from a slightly dull PG-13 dystopian novel into a horrific climax that will have you on the edge of your seat.

The Maze Runner is a great novel for teen boys, which is perhaps why I struggled a little with the content. Dashner writes a dystopian society of boys who live a caged existence, forced to navigate a dangerous maze filled with half-machine, half...something disgusting and weird creatures. The Grievers require some imagination on the part of the reader, but it's not hard to imagine the horror that facing such a monster would cause.

The allegory of the maze is timeless in its ability to cause feelings of hopelessness and panic. To solve the puzzle of the maze is the point of the boys' existence and there are greater forces at work who are willing to spill a lot of blood to create obstacles for the boys before they can solve the puzzle. The maze isn't the only evil--there's also the creators of the maze. I won't even go into the creators; you'll have to read the book to find out how twisted this dystopian world has become.

The movie is coming in 2014 and it's sure to be a hit. Dashner is very detailed in his writing and he writes with such vividness that it's easy to put yourself in the Glade or staring death in the face within the maze. Dashner has created a thrilling adventure of survival, of friendship, and of determination. There's mystery, violence, and danger. Hopefully the screenplay is just as thrilling!

This book reads great for a male, YA audience who love books with adventure, suspense, and who can handle some violence. There's quite a lot of humour that boys would appreciate as it feels realistic in how boys talk to each other. The characters use hillbilly-ish jargon for curse words and other crude terms and it interjects some humour into the book. There's very, very little in the way of romance, too, which a male audience will appreciate. Especially if you, like me, are getting a little sick of the love triangles...

The Maze Runner is dark like The Hunger Games, but it's a little more far-removed from a future dystopian society. James Dashner has written a nail-biting book that will almost guarantee you'll be ordering the next book immediately after finishing the first. All in all, I'll give a 3.5/5. It lost some points for a slow middle portion, but the story is gripping and the ending is stunning.

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