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The Maze Runner by James Dashner #BookReview

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner Book cover

Title: The Maze Runner | Author: James Dashner | Series: The Maze Runner #1 | Publisher: Delacorte Press | Pub. Date: 6th October 2009 | Pages: 384 | ISBN: 9780385737944 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Starred Review: No | Source: Self-purchased

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The Maze Runner Review

My son isn’t a big reader, so when he got swept away (not literally, he’s fine) by James Dashner’s Young Adult novel ‘The Maze Runner’ I thought I’d give it a try too. It’s hard not to compare any dystopian YA SF book to ‘The Hunger Games’ and unfortunately this one comes up short against that high benchmark. I probably don’t need to say that it’s also not as good as ‘Lord of the Flies’, which it might also be compared to. It’s still a fun read though, and I suspect I would have enjoyed it just as much as my son did, had I read it at his age.
The concept, if you don’t know it already from the trailer for the inevitable movie adaptation, is that various teenage boys are transported to a weird environment with a vast stone maze that changes layout each day. The maze is populated by bizarre bio-mechanical creatures that prey on anyone who enters the maze. The hero, Thomas, is the newest arrival and it soon becomes obvious that he is different in some ways to the other boys. This difference becomes more apparent when a mysterious girl arrives not long after him.
The set up and the twists and turns of the plot are great fun, combining furious action with intriguing puzzles. This mix plays a lot like a video game, with the focus far more on running, fighting and solving problems than it is on relationships and emotion. For that reason it has a very different feel to the ‘Hunger Games’ books. This makes the book less engaging than it might have been. For all the inventiveness and excitement I found I didn’t care that much about any of the characters. It doesn’t help that the quality of the prose isn’t always up to the talent Dashner has for coming up with exciting situations. It’s a bit leaden at times. Readable enough but lacking in spark.
Despite that failing, ‘The Maze Runner’ is an entertaining and engrossing read. It’s fast paced, action-packed and has some interesting ideas at its heart. It also leaves things open beautifully for the sequel with a couple of cracking twists at the end.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inKids Science FictionScience Fiction Book ReviewsUnstarred Reviews
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