Monday, 16 May 2011

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (4.5/5)

The back says: When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is empty.

But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.

The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up – the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprisingly yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might find their way home… wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the Maze is unsolvable.

And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers – if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

I say: I am ridiculously hooked on this, and would have bought the second part if it weren’t for that pesky book-buying-ban I put myself on. So now I am patiently waiting to see if the library will heed my suggestion and buy it.

But I digress.

This book has almost has everything I seem to be oddly in love with at the moment, i.e. some element of dystopian science fiction, fast paced plot, constantly being kept in the dark by an intriguing and quite excellent plot. This is a Young Adult book, so the writing is what it is, but I hardly paid any attention to it (well, not much) as I was constantly trying to figure out the who, what, where, when, why of the maze. And even though I had an inkling of what it could have been, the enormity of it all was nowhere near what I had expected.

Which is why I’m loving it.

The reason why I’m not giving this a full 5/5 is because some of the characters were a bit one-dimensional, and I had serious problems believing some of their actions; there was a lack of build up to one of the main scenes, and so I suppose anything could have happened really, but no. Also, as unpredictable as the plot was, Dashner, unfortunately, pulled a classic move right at the end, which made me frown for a quick minute.

But then again, I wouldn't be surprised if what I think happened isn't what happened at all.

So yeah, my copy had the first two chapters of the sequel, The Scorch Trials, which I’m hoping is going to be just as good – if not better. And then the third and last instalment, The Death Cure, is out in October. I’m just seriously hoping that Dashner hasn’t taken the story and ran like the dickens into some weirdness; which is always my main worry with sequels.

I guess, I'll just have to wait and see.

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