The Maze Runner (James Dashner)

The Maze Runner is the first book in The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner.

Thomas finds himself among a group of other teenage boys in the middle of a maze. He has no memories of his previous life and no idea why he or the other boys are in the maze in the first place – none of them do. But they try their best to solve it and get out of there. But the maze is a dangerous, even deadly place and despite their best attempts to map it, they haven’t been successful so far. And then a mostly unconscious girl is delivered to them, causing further confusion.

With the upcoming movie adaptation, The Maze Runner has gotten quite some buzz but I honestly don’t see why. It is not particularly well-written, nor engaging, nor smart and it annoyed the hell out of me.


[SPOILERS – also for the following books]

The Maze Runner doesn’t actually make a whole lot of sense. Maybe not yet – but what I gathered from my talks with teashoe (who read the entire series) it doesn’t really get much better – but honestly, I wouldn’t want to read on to find out whether it starts making more sense further on. In fact, at the end the book gives you some explanation but not a whole lot and instead of making me want to read more, I wanted to throw the book across the room in frustration. Because I had to read through all that drivel and then get nothing?

And the little explanation we got was just so stupid. It felt like a 13-year-old had thought about science for a couple of minutes, came up with something vaguely scientific and then never bothered to do any research. Ever. I don’t expect my science fiction to always be hard, but at least I want to feel like it took some kind of effort. More than “It was strong sun flares! Inexplicable sun flares! That burned the earth and made people sick. And now earth is slowly going back to normal because there are no more strong sunflares. And the maze was all a test to find the strongest people to save the earth.” I mean, why the fuck would you use teenagers for that shit?

Plus, you only have one girl in the entire book and she is mostly unconscious, apart from the breaks inbetween in which she reveals important plot-developments. And when she isn’t unconscious anymore, it is revealed that she has a strong, special connection to Thomas even though neither of them actually really remembers the other. (At the end of the book it is revealed that there is a second maze group. And at least that second group, it turns out in the next books, is all girls, with one random guy thrown in. So that makes things a little better. But in this book, you get to know none of that. All you get is a sausagefest and the explanation that they’re looking for the best kids. Ugh.)

I might have overlooked all of that, or at least have had the wish to continue to read the series, if it had been better written. If the pacing had been better. If the characters had had any characteristics to speak of, not just attributes. But apart from the grievers – who were original and cool creatures (even if I’m still uncertain about their point) – and the general idea of a huge maze with moving walls, there was nothing in the book that kept my interest.

Summarizing: Maybe the movie will be better.

1 thought on “The Maze Runner (James Dashner)

  1. Pingback: The Maze Runner (2014) | kalafudra's Stuff

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