Genres: Young adult, dystopia, science fiction.
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.
It’s quite a simple premise really: teenage boys are taken from their homes and put in a futuristic, technologically advanced maze with dangerous, deadly creatures – Grievers – roaming the grounds. What happens next? The Gladers (the boys) have to 1) avoid dying, 2) figure out what is going on, and 3) escape.
I absolutely loved The Maze Runner. I enjoyed the maturity of the characters. They were organised and worked together to create a mini society within the Glade (the middle of the Maze where they live), complete with a farm, canteen, and designated jobs. I always love the ‘lets try to figure out what’s going on’ part of a story and this book had plenty to figure out. Why were the boys put in the Maze in the first place? Who are the creators? Is there an escape? Why just boys? The pace of the story is very slow; it’s almost like it is happening real-time. There are also not many action scenes. This suited me just fine as I’m not fond of stories with constant action that doesn’t give you time to really become aware of the situation and the setting. I felt like I had time to ‘get to know’ all the characters and my way around the Glade extremely well. There was, of course, added twists, which were generally (but not always) unpredictable and unexpected. The atmosphere wasn’t as terrifying as I had hoped, given the situation, but it did have its moments. I don’t really want to go into the intricacies of the Maze here as the enjoyment comes from finding out the details, like Thomas, from the Gladers.
The Maze Runner is not a perfect story by any means nor the best dystopia I’ve ever read. There were a few things that bothered me (although not quite enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book). For example, the Gladers’ memories have been wiped and all they can remember is their names. There were times where Thomas would need to remember something, where it was an important factor, and conveniently, just at the right time, he’d remember that very-important-thing. The book does have a few problems like this but like I said, nothing big enough to ruin anything for me.
Lastly, quite a few invented slang words (e.g. shuck, klunk, shank) appear frequently throughout the book and it seems like readers either love it or hate it. I personally loved it. It was amusing at times and I thought it made sense considering the boys are completely isolated from the rest of humanity.
I enjoyed The Maze Runner much more than I thought I would. I was thoroughly impressed and so I’m giving it a five star rating, which means “I loved this book”. The end is…interesting. That’s all I’ll say about it. I didn’t love it or hate it, and it leads quite nicely onto the sequel, which I’ve already read and will be reviewing shortly.
My Rating: ★★★★★