Review: The Maze Runner – James Dashner

“When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas can remember is his first name. But he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible maze.

Like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they came to be there, or what’s happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything to find out.”

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is an interesting story about how the guy Thomas arrives to the Glade, a working society of only boys, where he is supposed to live and work until they find a way out of the enormous maze surrounding them. When the first girl to ever come to the Glade arrives in the Box, the group of boys realize that everything is about to change.

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The Maze Runner was first published in 2010 and is part of a series. I must admit that I think James Dashner came up with a genius idea for a plot. First of all – the world he has created in the novel is amazing. The appearance of the Glade is both described as pretty and ugly – it’s both their only place of security but also a personal cage which entraps them and keeps them away from the real world outside.

The cage consists of a huge maze which the Gladers have spent two years trying to find a way out of but to no avail. I have always found the idea of mazes extremely interesting – if you enter a maze, you may never find your way out again – which just makes me love the world of The Maze Runner more.

The protagonist Thomas is very likeable, but at the same time he can sometimes be a bit too good, which dissociates him a bit from a real person who would have both good and bad sides to him. Of course Thomas also have these bad sides but to a much lesser extent that you would expect from a person.

The suspense is constantly there in the novel, the characters of the story never gets a break from all the extreme situations which occurs around them, and while reading I felt like there might have been just a little too many of those situation – of course these situations made a certain mood throughout the story which was interesting, but I still found it to be a bit too unrealistic with all those crazy situations coming right after each other all the time – and as you may have noticed, if you have read more of my reviews, even though I read novels with fantasy elements, I still like them to be somewhat realistic. Then again the suspense did make me almost want to skip pages just to find out what would happen next.

I was positively surprised when I realized that the plot didn’t start to revolve around Thomas and the girl’s love life as soon as she first appears in the story which was what I had expected to happen. I liked how the novel kept focusing on the relationships between the Gladers and their will to find a way out of the maze, instead of changing the focus to a love story as many novels do nowadays.

Last I will say that I finally found a book where the creatures in it actually sounds scary and terrifying to me, instead of just dumb, but I will also say that even though I liked the ending of the book a lot, there were still scenes in the end that were just a bit too cliché.

I would recommend the book The Maze Runner to people who like stories with fantasy, sci-fi and survival elements. I will probably be buying the sequel soon, but I honestly have no idea what it will be about.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (English), 371 pages, The Chicken House

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