Publication date: 4 September 2014
Publisher: Chicken House
Length: 371 pages
Genre: Science fiction
Age group: Young Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository
When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade – a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone 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 – even the half-machine-half-animal Grievers that patrol the corridors – to try and find out.
The Maze Runner is another good example for books that have been on my to-be-read list for years but I never managed to pick up. With the UK premiere being only 9 days away, I thought it’d be a good time to finally sit down and read it. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly – a fast-paced, race against the clock kind of thing, perhaps? – but in all fairness, it didn’t ‘wow’ me. It’s a brilliant idea for a book and for a fictional world and I loved Thomas as a main character, but the writing didn’t captivate me as much as I hoped it would.
And with other, similar YA trilogies out there (the Hunger Games being one of them) it’s impossible not to compare them. And compared to its competition, The Maze Runner – for me – wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t as strong as it could have been. It’s still a good book and I will still read its sequel. But it could have been so much better.
The story reminded me of Kevin Brooks’ The Bunker Diary, which I absolutely loved and which I reviewed earlier on. In fact, the way the Glade works is pretty much the same as the odd underground place in Brooks’ novel. People are taken to the Glade, one by one, in an empty elevator. They have no recollection of their past, all they remember is their name. They’re being watched all day long and the ’creators’ who put them there send them various supplies through the elevator every week. They don’t know why they’re there and who did this to them – and neither do the characters. All they know is that they need to find a way out through the maze that surrounds the compound.
Our main character Thomas, a sixteen year old boy, is just as clueless as everyone else when they first arrived – and just as clueless as us readers, which I really liked. We learn about their life in the Glade, their attempt to solve the maze and get rid of its surreal creatures together with Thomas and it’s comforting to know that he’s just as lost as we are. He guides us through everyday life in his new home and slowly but surely we start getting used to it. And so does he.
Initially, I found the first quarter of the book a bit slow but I didn’t really mind as I went along. At least it gives us a little bit more time to get to know Thomas and all the other characters and it definitely helps you connect to them more.
Luckily the second half of the book makes up for the slow start as Theresa’s appearance brings vital changes with it and the book finally turns into the ’race against time’ adventure I expected. I was wondering how Dashner would end the book – if they manage to find a way out, what happens, and if they don’t, what are the consequences? – but it really is genius and definitely makes you want to pick up the sequel.
I still don’t think this is the best book (or series) you’ll ever read from this genre but the ending really intrigued me and I’m looking forward to what The Scorch Trials has in store for us.
The Maze Runner out now in paperback (£7.99, Chicken House)
Check out the trailer for the film adaptation, released in UK cinemas on the 10th October 2014 below:
To celebrate the UK movie premiere, I’m giving away a SIGNED copy of James’ book to one lucky reader. Competition ends 8 October 2014 and is open to UK residents only. All you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below and you’re good to go. Good luck! 🙂