Sunday, January 10, 2010

"The Maze Runner" by James Dashner

Summary:  Thomas wakes up in a strange box, with no memories of who he is--other than his first name--and where he is.  The box rises and opens, and Thomas finds himself in a strange place called the Glade with other young boys who all arrived like he did.  For two years the Gladers have been trying to figure out an exit to the giant maze which surrounds the Glade and is home to the deadly creatures the Grievers.  The day after Thomas arrives, a girl comes up the box with an ominous message.  Thomas and the other Gladers must try to solve the Maze and escape--their lives depend on it.

Musings:  The Maze Runner fits squarely within the YA dystopian genre that is so popular right now and is a favorite of mine.  I worry about getting bored of the genre, but the Maze Runner did not fail in delivering an exciting and different storyline.

The strength of The Maze Runner is the mystery surrounding the boys and the Maze.  Although the beginning chapters can be frustrating as Thomas (and the reader) struggles to figure out what is happening, Dashner does an excellent job of answering enough questions to keep you hooked while opening up new unexplained doors along the way.  The mystery aspect really drew me in (perhaps even more than the characters who were interesting, but not especially unique) and kept me reading.  The novel is the first in a trilogy, and The Maze Runner ends with enough questions answered to not be aggravating but so many more questions raised that I'm sure the next book will be just as engaging.  I can only hope the answers to the questions are as interesting as the questions themselves.


  1. I saw the author speak with a few other authors of post-apocalyptic books (Scott Westerfeld, Carrie Ryan & Michael Grant). This one sounded interesting, but I always hesitate before picking up books with mostly male casts - but you've renewed my interest, so I think I'll add this one to my reading list (a list which has grown exponentially this weekend!)

  2. You know, I hadn't thought much about the almost all-male cast until I finished the book and noticed that while there is an explanation for why the boys are in the Glade, there was no explanation for why it was almost all boys. In fact, the book barely acknowledges this oddity throughout. I addition, we learn more about the boys' names, but nothing about the girl's, which bothered me. I'm hoping this is something Dashner will explain in the following books rather than just assuming it as a matter of course. I'd definitely be interested in hearing what you think of it!