Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book Review: "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner

Hunger Games fans, I have a new series for you. The Maze Runner is the first book in what I believe is a proposed young adult (YA) trilogy, and I thought it was really fantastic. If I didn't have a job and other life obligations, I would have easily read the entire book in one day. (And boy, I wanted to.)

Sixteen-year-old Thomas awakens one day to find himself in a strange elevator, which takes him to a place called the Glade, a large open field surrounded by stone walls. The Glade is populated only by other young people, and none of them remember their lives before they arrived at the Glade the same way Thomas did, one boy each month. As disorienting as his situation is, Thomas tries to figure out exactly what is going on in the Glade, and finds that it is surrounded by a giant stone maze. Each night the walls in the maze move, and there is a group of people, the runners, who explore the maze each day to try and find an escape route. But it's not as easy as it sounds—at night the maze is patrolled by a strange race of deadly creatures called Grievers. One day, a girl unexpectedly arrives in the Glade. And the message she brings with her completely rocks the community the boys have worked to create and causes them to question exactly what they are living for.

This is a tremendously creative, intriguing and affecting book. A little bit Lord of the Flies with some of the dystopian elements of the Hunger Games series thrown in, the story is a little confusing to grasp at the start (much as it is for Thomas) but as it unfolds you find yourself wondering what will happen next, and many of the details will surprise you. Some of the characters are a little two-dimensional, but I found myself totally immersed in their situation. Of course, I want to head directly to the second book in the series, The Scorch Trials, but I'll hold off for a while, since the third book in the series doesn't come out until October. All I know is, I'm so glad that the YA genre has become just as enjoyable and gripping for adults.

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