Jen K’s #CBR5 Review #94: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The concept behind The Maze Runner is intriguing but unfortunately, I became less interested in the novel as it went on due to poor pacing and characters that were rather lacking in development. Thomas arrives in the Glades one day with no memory of his past though he feels like the place may be vaguely familiar. He joins a group of fifty or so very well organized boys ranging from 11-17. None of them remember who they are, either, beyond their names, and they have arrived a month apart at the Glade for the past two years.
Thomas tries to get answers the first day he is there, and while I understand his desire, I’m not sure if I was more annoyed with him or the other characters when they told him he would get his answers on a tour of the Glade on his first full day. I understand Thomas wanting answers before then but maybe he could have been a bit less obnoxious about it given that they promised him answers on their own time line. The area is surrounded by a maze, and a group of the boys are maze runners, who chart and run through the maze daily, looking for clues or an exit. Every night the walls to the maze close, keeping the boys locked in the Glade and the monsters (things called grievers) outside in the maze. Despite these creatures and the danger they pose, Thomas develops a feeling early on that he is meant to be a maze runner.

Lisa Bee’s #CBR5 Review #19: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

The Scorch TrialsThe Scorch Trials is the second young adult novel in James Dashner’s “Maze Runner” series. Like the first installment of the series, this novel is predicated on a group of young people placed into a testing situation, with so many questions and few answers.

I’ll try to keep the description brief (and slightly vague?) so as to not spoil anything from The Maze Runner. Also, these novels are the kind that seem as though they’d be better enjoyed if you don’t know what’s coming next, but if you are curious to find out what I thought about it anyways, my full review can be found on my blog.

Lisa Bee’s #CBR5 Review #17: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze RunnerDashner, writing about running through a maze… huh. I just realized how much that seems like a terribly unintentional pun. In any case, The Maze Runner is the first book in the young-adult dystopian trilogy of the same name. It first came onto my radar when I saw one of those “If You Liked The Hunger Games then you might like…:” lists, and it sounded kind of interesting, if only because most of the young-adult fiction I’ve read over the years has been somewhat female-centric (I don’t know why, it just has been), and this one is centered around a society of boys. Then, I heard some internet whisperings that this was going to be another YA series being adapted for film, with actors such as the strangely endearing Dylan O’Brien, the stunning Kaya Scodelario, and that cutie-patootie Thomas Brodie-Sangster in the lead roles, and my interest was peaked all the more, hence, my delving into this novel.

And was my intrigue warranted? Yes, it certainly was. While the novel has a couple of parts that are reminiscent of usual dystopian stories (and in this way has a moment or two of predictability), it kept me incredibly enthralled throughout; I actually let out an audible gasp or two at a few parts, which hasn’t happened to me while reading a book in a long time. It’s one of those novels which is very easy to read, and you will likely get through quite quickly, due to the fact that there is so much mystery surrounding the whole setup that you just want to keep flipping the pages to figure out what in the world is actually going on.

If you have been sufficiently intrigued, my full review can be found here.

Melissa’s #CBR5 review #3: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Maze Runner“Just follow me and run like your life depends on it. Because it does.”

Thomas doesn’t know who he is.  Thomas doesn’t know where he is.  All he knows is his name, and that the life he used to know is gone.

I’m back in the Young Adult trough, and have a good one for you today.  Dystopian future novels seem to be all anyone wants to write about lately, and this is yet another one.  However, this one was much better than Gamers, the last book I read.

So Thomas is literally pulled into this new life in a dark cube, and the world is…small.  A giant stone wall surrounds the entire compound, though there are doors that open to an ever-changing maze.  Forty or so boys make the compound their home, but Lord of the Flies this ain’t.  It is run with military precision by a boy named Alby, with his second in command Newt.

The boys in charge use the new guy to exposit a bit about how things work in ‘The Glade:’ Every week, supplies and things come up in the elevator, and once a month, a newbie comes with it.  Each day, there is a group of boys that go out to the maze, mapping it out since it changes every day.  They stay in the walls, which close at night, due to ‘the grievers,’ a monstrosity that causes any boy it stings to go crazy unless they get a syrum that comes with the weekly supplies.  The rest of the boys are assigned different jobs around the glade, from cleaning to animal care, from farming to security.

Thomas takes this all in, and somehow manages not to freak out.  He does decide he wants to be a runner, one of the maze mappers, but is shot down almost right away as being too new.  Of course, things change pretty massively almost right away, starting with the next supply run, which includes something the boys haven’t seen in quite a long while: a girl.  Thomas and the girl have an almost immediate connection, despite the fact that the girl is slightly comatose.

Anyway, Thomas decides the group needs to escape the glade, and starts in earnest trying to solve the puzzle and save his new friends.

This was a pretty good dystopian future book.  Thomas was mostly likeable, even if he did get a bit whiney in his lack of memory.  He wasn’t immediately liked by all the boys, or liked at all in the case of a couple of them, and it felt real.

The secondary characters were mostly strong as well, with the cook named Frypan sticking out in my mind.  Thomas’ antagonist among the boys was relatively menacing, though a bit superfluous with the oozing robot monsters.

The story was strong as well, with a good consistency throughout, and a reveal that didn’t completely destroy the continuity of it.  The worldbuilding was great as well, you really feel as though you are in the glade.

This book did struggle a bit in pacing.  The first day seemed to last at least a year, while the escape was over and done practically before it started.  The romance between Thomas and the girl, Theresa, seemed really shoehorned in as well, like the author was going for a slight Twilight feel, but failed miserably.

All in all, I would recommend this book if you like dystopian sci-fi, or a good escape story.

I give it 4 out of 5 greenbeans.

“I just…feel like I need to save everyone. To redeem myself.”

Cross-posted to Melissa’s Miscellany