Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Imagine waking up and being transported in a box like elevator of sorts. You have no recall of your past life, no recollection of how you got where you are, and only remember your first name. When the box finally opens, you are surrounded by a bunch of people you don't know, people you'll find out are called Gladers. Your world now revolves around finding a way out of a cement walled maze that changes patterns ever night. In all of the two years of the maze's known existence the only way anyone has gained freedom from it is via death. Questions are endless, but answers are few. The group has various positions available within the community, but you feel it in your soul: you are meant to be a Maze Runner. A profession in which you run through the maze during the day to find a way out of your confinement and back to the real world which you remember, but you don't recall the details of it.

The life of a runner, however, is not without danger. For if a runner doesn't make it back to the glade before nightfall, the doors to the maze will be shut. At night something WICKED lurks behind the walls. something that shows no mercy. Something that can figuratively chew you up and spit you out and, if it gets it's hands on you, kill you. But before you can really get accustomed to your new life, another person is transported to the Glade via the box. The only girl ever to breach the maze and her words are shocking...."Everything is going to change." As she passes out a wadded piece of paper is taken from her clasped hand which states, 'She's the last one. Ever.'  The girl is a game changer.

Welcome to Thomas' new world.

This book has been on my to read list for over a year. Thankfully, it was recently chosen to be read by my Goodreads group. It definitely grabbed my attention from the very beginning and ran with it. Each stopping point we settled on for each day left us wondering what would happen next. It had a faint similarity to the Hunger Games in that there is a group of kids put into a life or death situation, and at times, the maze seemed a touch like the arena of the Hunger Games, but that was where the similarities seemed to end.

The dynamics of the world of the maze are very interesting. The kids have implemented their own sort of government that is rather simplistic, yet works. They call gatherings, talk things out, then vote. There is one leader and a group of Keepers who are in charge of determining punishments and/or solutions to issues and problems. None of the inhabitants have their memories in tact and each are missing the knowledge of their life prior to the maze. When injected by the spikes on the Grievers they get some, but not all of their knowledge back, but if the Creators could erase their memories could they alter them? Those who have gone through the 'change' and gotten their memories back are never the same. They tend to pull away from the rest of the established society and keep to themselves.

Thomas and Teresa, as they later find the girl's name to be, are not immediately trusted. Anything that deals with the Creators is questioned and change is not considered good in a world where death is not uncommon. Everyone realizes the world of the Glade is not normal and have no idea why they are there. The only clue to anything are the letters WICKED which they come to realize is an acronym for:
World ICatastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department

The world of the Maze is a puzzle on so many levels. Where did it come from? Why are the kids there? Is there a way out? The ending is cliffhanger that leaves you puzzling over what can be believed and what can't. The main questions I was left with were: Is WICKED good? What are they trying to accomplish? Are their intentions honorable/noble or just some sick mind game that amuses some very messed up people? Here's hoping the former is the the correct answer. I have my doubts.

I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It had a fast pace with plenty of action, and it kept me wondering what was going on. The characters were easy to identify with and had a 3 dimensional feel to them. Thomas, the main character, was smart and very likable. I enjoyed discovering things as he did which made it easier to see his point of view even though the narrative was in 3rd person.

Order of the Series:

Coming August 14th--the prequel:

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like a nightmare in a Hunger Games sort of way. Putting it on my TBR list. :) Great review!


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