Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Maze Runner #1)

Story Synopsis:

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. 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, open expanse surrounded 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 the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

My Review:

Do you ever read a book, and you know it isn't great literature, or even great writing, but you're willing to overlook the technical faults because it's a fast-paced mystery that's easy to get in to and fun to read? That's what I felt when I read The Maze Runner.

This book follows a group of boys, and one girl, who are trapped in a maze with no memory of how they got there. Escape attempts are often deadly. The mystery behind the maze got me into the book; tiny hints of a broken outside world kept me gripped. I was drawn into the story and the action, and dying to know what happened. The pages flew beneath my fingers, but not so fast that I didn't find faults.

The writing is cliche-ridden and choppy, with some weird phrasings that made me go, "huh??" I'm not as anti-adverb as some people, but this text is drenched in -ly to the point where even I noticed. On the plus side, the description of the memory loss was not outside the realm of scientific plausibility, and I appreciate that. Another plus is a story and writing style appropriate for both older middle grade readers as well as teens, so there's a wider range of appeal.

If you like strong female characters, this probably isn't the book for you. It features one single female character, and she is, for one reason or another, absent for most of the book. Once she does start taking part, she mostly limits her interactions to the main character. They question of why there was only one girl bothered me a lot, especially once I reached the ending. There's two more books in the series, so maybe that question will get answered. But I tend to be less fond of books that don't provide a strong female character in at least a secondary role, so for me this one one of the book's more glaring issues. How you respond to it will likely depend on your own personal tastes.

The Maze Runner is a fast-paced, action-packed mystery. It's not fantastic prose, but that's okay. It's the sort of book you read when you want fun and entertainment; the quick pleasure of a good summer read. And who doesn't need that sort of book from time to time? I certainly do.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Rated by: Blair

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