The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Maze Runner # 1
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Number of pages:  375
My copy: paperback, gift from Ace

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.

* * *

I have seen The Maze Runner in bookstores and blogs for a while now, but I never got around to picking it up because I wasn’t very enticed to get it. I honestly thought the summary was kind of bleak, and that’s already coming from me who likes dystopia. I would not have bumped this book up in my TBR if it wasn’t for my friend Ace, who gave me his paperback copy after upgrading his to hardbound and if he didn’t post a glowing review of the book with special mention to me. How can I not read it, right? (And this means I am an easily swayed person :p )

Most of The Maze Runner‘s strengths lie in its pace and plotting. This is the type of book that will keep you guessing and will keep you on your literary feet. The world of the Glade and the maze that they need to stolve added to the creepiness factor of the book, with the closing doors and the scary half-machine, half-something Grievers, and the community that the boys have created inside the Glade to keep them going. The amount of detail written about the Glade, the boys’ dialect and their own “government” and social designations made it very believable, and at the back of my mind, I wondered if this mirrored the world outside of the Glade, or if there was even a world outside at all. The author levels it up with the book’s pacing, and he did a very, very good job in keeping the readers in the dark even all the way up to the end. I was kept at the edge of my seat for most of the book. Even if answers were given, other questions come up, and in the end (which was a total cliffhanger, by the way), there were more questions than answers, leading readers wanting to pick up the next book immediately.

But with all those strengths, I think what didn’t really work for me in The Maze Runner was the characters. The Maze Runner is reminiscent of The Knife of Never Letting Go in terms of world building, but the latter had characters on its side. I found Thomas a bit Gary Stu-ish, with his messianic role in the story. Sure, it was his story, but it was just kind of hard to believe that the other boys inside the Glade never figured out the things that Thomas figured out in his stay there, especially if they were supposed to be smart. Teresa, the only girl, felt more like a distraction than an important part of the story. I couldn’t quite figure her out, as well as her relationship with Thomas — is there a romantic angle here? What is her use in the story except be a girl and talk to Thomas and be cuddly with him? I’m not quite sure I got it. I did like the other characters though, particularly Newt, Minho and Chuck, and they provided a good variety and even some comic relief with the bleak atmosphere of the book.

I must warn readers, though, that this is a very talky book — most of the exposition is done by telling, not showing, so this may be an issue for other people who like descriptions more than dialogue. Despite that and the slight falter in the main characters, I think The Maze Runner is still a good book. Its tight plot, good pacing and mysteries definitely makes this book deserving of its popularity among the dystopian ranks. I will definitely pick up its sequel, The Scorch Trials, to know what happens next…but I will not pick it up anytime soon, because frankly, the end of The Scorch Trials excerpt in my paperback copy really freaked me out. :-s

Rating:

Other Reviews:
The Book Smugglers
Steph Su Reads
Bart’s Bookshelf

In My Mailbox (6)

Hi. My wallet is currently mad at me right now. I had to hide it away because it’s about to scream obscenities at me for…well, spending so much. I can feel it grumbling at me at the middle of the week, but as of today, it’s positively seething.

But, but, I have a very good justification why I spent so much this week. One thing is the Cebu vacation…and another…well, are books. :P It didn’t spend as much as if I buy a Branson Missouri vacation, anyway. That is a perfectly justifiable expense even if I know I have about what, 70 books that I have yet to read.

Yeah, yeah, like that means something.

So yeah, I’m doing an In My Mailbox post this week because I find that I have a pretty huge stash of books this week! Well, including Friday last week, since I kind of count that purchase as part of the weekend purchase, and it feels like I just bought it this week. In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store.

And here we go. *throws wallet under the bag and ignores it angry screams*

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All Things Dystopian (YA-D2 Challenge)

Lately I realized that I have been avoiding the shelves I frequent in the bookstore when I started reading more. By these shelves, I mean the shelves that contain paranormal romance, and even plain contemporary young adult romance. I don’t really know when or why it started, but I find myself not getting interested in any of the new stuff under those sub-genre. More often than not, I feel relieved when I decide not to pick up the book especially after I find some of the reviewers I follow say that they didn’t like the book or it’s a Twilight derivative. I mean, who wants that, right? (No offense to anyone, of course)

After some time, I realized again that I seemed to have found a new pattern to the books I have been reading lately, and I can only blame some of the guys I got to know recently for this new sub-genre fascination.

Friends, I think I fell in love with dystopia.

Aaron posted about this last week, and he managed to convince me to try out this challenge on top of the other challenges I’m doing. I figure, what the heck, right? It’s not like it’s going to be a hard challenge, anyway, what with all the dystopia books waiting on my TBR shelf.

So, yeah, here’s another one for my challenges for this year. I’m joining Bart’s Bookshelf‘s YA-D2: The YA Dystopian Reading Challenge. You want something crazier? I’m going for the die-hard’s choice:

Welcome to Level 3.

Oooh, how ominous. According to the challenge:

Level 3: Is for the dystopian die-hards! Minimum requirement for this level is five young adult dystopian novels, between the 1st October and 19th December. There is, however no maximum cap, you can keep reading for as many books as you like!

Just five, huh. I could do that. I mean, I set to read 20 fantasy books this year, and I lost count at how many I read this year. So, unless the world ends or the zombie apocalypse comes, I don’t think there would be a reason why I won’t be able to finish this challenge. :)

And now the books I will read for this challenge. Much thanks to Aaron for pointing them out of my shelf. :D

  1. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
  2. Gone by Michael Grant
  3. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
  4. The Dead of the Night by John Marsden
  5. Z by Michael Thomas Ford

Wait, just five? I think I still have some I can add to this list! Some reserves/alternates, in case I don’t get to read the others for some reason, or in case I feel like going on and on and on and on until the challenge ends.

And that should be enough. I guess I’ll take today up until the end of September to read the other “normal” books I have before I plunge into all the end-of-the-world/post-apocalyptic dystopia goodness. :)