The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Imagine being a lab rat, constantly being made to run and try to solve a maze with traps that changes on a daily basis, and you will have a fairly good idea what it is like to be one of the boys (and one girl) in The Maze Runner by James Dashner.
It has been sitting in my TBR-pile for a while and I’ve looking forward to reading it. The premise looked great and I loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins that it frequently gets compared to. But, I ended up finishing it with mixed feelings.
It starts off great with Thomas waking up in a dark and noisy room. His name is the only thing he can remember about himself. The mysterious room is moving and soon he finds himself among a bunch of unknown boys in an unknown place.
And this is where I found myself getting frustrated as a reader. The story is dragged through several pages where the boys make Thomas wait for an explanation to what this place is and any information he gets comes in small unsatisfying dribbles. That’s just annoying… for Thomas and for me as a reader. On general terms I certainly don’t object to an author witholding information to build up the story, but I do object to it seemingly being done to make the book a little bit longer. Maybe the writer and publisher thought that it would prolong and intensify the suspense? I don’t know.
Luckily the pace gets better again. Except for some screeching halts where Thomas laments his lost memory or there are further explanations that has to be hauled out of one of the boys who’s been at the Glade for a while, it’s actually very exciting.
I also wish I could have felt more emotionally connected to the characters. I have a feeling I would have felt more of that connection if I hadn’t been at odds with the book so early on.
As mentioned above, I have mixed feelings. I think that a more tightly edited version of the story in The Maze Runner has everything that is needed for making it a great read and a great first installment in a trilogy. And while I don’t like the way the story limps on in the beginning I have to applaud the way it picks up again as the book goes on. The cliffhanger ending is a perfect way to make the readers (the ones who didn’t fall off the hook early in the book never to be re-hooked) come back to find on what happens as the story continues in The Scorch Trials.
What could have been a 4+ ends up as a 3+ because of the irksome bits of suspensus interruptus. So there!
Some less irked and more plot spoiling opinions about the book: