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Book Review- The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Maze Runner was one of the first books to capitalize on the success of dystopian YA fiction of the Hunger Games (it was written previous to that book). There are plenty of reviews and lots of criticism so let me say that if you haven't wrote a book read by millions, then you seem petty, bear that in mind. Still, here goes..

For the most part, I did like it. It's a killer hook. Teenage boys stranded on an island, and the only escape is a maze; but every night the maze changes and there is only so much time each night to figure it out and get back before the gate closes.

There is a lot of criticism of the main character Thomas. In stories like this, the usual criticism is that he is a Gary Stu- an idealized character with no personality and does the right things all the time. I generally didn't have a problem with Thomas. There were a few occasions where I didn't think he made logical moves and at certain times, he is not particularly sympathetic. I suspect though part is that the character has no memory, so it certainly limits some development.

What i wasn't crazy about was Dashner over explaining. Perhaps that is nature of YA books. Still, we should be able to draw from what the character says and does, what the character thinks and his motivations. It was annoying the way he over explained what Thomas was thinking every minute.

The book certainly draws from other sources, primarily Lord of the Flies, and one other dystopian classic I won't name. I won't fault this since it is a new twist and nothing is original anyway. The Grievers reminded me of a character from a Choose Your Own adventure book Dashner could have read when he was my age.

I was pretty fine with everything. A lot of people didn't like the forced slang, Dashners attempt at Droogspeak or other classic references. I thought it was ok.

There were a couple of times my suspension of disbelief worked overtime. There is an early clue to the finish that seemed a bit too obvious and can't believe no one picked up on it. There is also a big plot reveal that I had to work my mind overtime to come up with a reason why no one figured it out in the two years before Thomas came along. I can make up a justification.

All that said, the book kept me interested. It is a killer hook and the mystery kept me guessing. Some reviewers were not happy with the mystery's answer and also with how the mystery of the maze was revealed. I didn't have any problem with that. You don't like it? Write your own best seller.

Like I said, the ending was telegraphed a bit too much for my liking, but it did have a twist which made me interested in seeking the sequels.

Overall, I was happy with this books with minor moments discussed above. I am sure as a Young Adult, I would have loved it. As an experienced reader, it kept my attention, only barely went overlong and I was engaged throughout.

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