The Maze Runner – Review (Spoiler free, can it be? Yes, yes it can.)

Title: The Maze Runner

Series: The Maze Runner Trilogy

Author: James Dashner

Publisher: Delacorte Press

When was the last time I reviewed something that wasn’t a TV show or the X Factor NZ? (See what I did there? Snigger.) Well I can’t tell you- technically I could, but there’s no way I’m going to muster up enough bother to go a clicking for the answer. So let’s just have a chat about the Maze Runner by James Dashner already, shall we? Jess has read the trilogy and I’m half way through it, a wee bit late to the party but hey I’m here! Better late than never, better late than lying in a ditch somewhere, am I right? Yes, words to live by, kids. Now, while Jess is traipsing about in LA, I’m in New Zealand where we’ve finally got some sun but I’ve barely noticed it as I’ve foregone any interaction (sort of) with the outside world in my consumption of the series. I’ve only just managed to tear myself away from my kindle to talk about the first book.

I have to say I found the writing itself slightly juvenile, however the plot and characters were intriguing, keeping me completely engrossed if at times exasperated. So we wake up with our protagonist, hero, main character, pal, buddy in an elevator. He doesn’t know who he is or how he got there, or even where ‘there’ is. All he knows is that his first name is Thomas and, once the doors open, he’s surrounded by other guys around his age who refer to him as a shank. Shank, shuck-face and klunk are just a few slang terms you’ll become accustomed to, hopefully, as Thomas does.

The Glade, this place the kids have been for the last few years, is a large piece of land surrounded by some gigantic walls, gigantic walls that are part of a huge maze. However it isn’t just the huge maze that’s the problem, there are creatures lurking out in the maze are well good at being scary. Thomas’s arrival becomes a catalyst for change, in the Glade. Something unexpected turns up in the elevator after Thomas that completely throws them all for a loop. It isn’t just the memory loss that disorientates and confuses Thomas, and the reader, events that should shed light sometimes only cast more of a shadow.

Written in the third person limited we know only as much as Thomas does, or rather what Thomas reveals to us at any given point. What I mean by that is sometimes Dashner deliberately withholds Thomas from fully disclosing certain ideas or epiphanies in his thinking. Now I’ve never been one for patience, however a little patience can be rewarding if you’re going to read this book. Dashner deliberates the reveal of significant answers generating frustration both from the reader and the protagonist. There’s only so much ‘We can’t tell you!’ from the Gladers and ‘I don’t know!’ from Thomas I can take.

However if you’re keen for a dystopian young adult series with an ambiguous kick, then have a go at the Maze Runner. You’ll have to navigate your own labyrinth as you try to figure out what’s going on without seeing where you’re going, and at times you’ll come run into a bit of a dead end, but you’ll find that your minotaur may be closer to home than you think.

Special Mentions May Contain Spoilers:

– Not a spoiler, just in case someone’s gaze strays down just a shucking excuse to utilise the klunking slang. You shuck-face klunker! If you’re a greenbean to our site then welcome, even if you’re not a greenie I welcome you anyway.

– I think Dean Winchester said it best when he said:

– The movie that’s being filmed as I type? Based on some concept art that EW have released it should wind up looking rather spectacular. I also like the casting.



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