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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You're in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids -- the Runners -- venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines.

Thomas is the newest arrival to the Glade in this Truman-meets-Lord of the Flies tale. A motley crew of half a dozen kids is all he has to guide him in this strange world. As soon as he arrives, unusual things begin to happen, and the others grow suspicious of him. Though the Maze seems somehow familiar to Thomas, he's unable to make sense of the place, despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. What is this place, and does Thomas hold the key to finding a way out?

Books like The Maze Runner are the reason why I read. I was so engaged in this novel that I was up into the late hours of the night reading it, hiding from the cold under the covers with my book light, while my boyfriend slept next to me. He read the book before I did and immediately bought the second book; so I knew this book was going to be a good one already because he is extremely picky when it comes to books and it is hard for a book to hold his attention. I finally put the book down for the night only to pick it up again the next day and spend hours in the bath tub with it until my toes looked like prunes and the water grew tepid but I just could NOT put this down until I'd finished it.

There were some truly horrific parts throughout the whole book and everything is shrouded in mystery; which I absolutely love! It reminds me a bit of one of my favorite shows, LOST, though I can't say why exactly without ruining it for you. If you were a fan of LOST while it was on the air chances are you will be a fan of this book.

The language used by the Gladers was easy to get used to and actually enjoyable. The characters were well written and often provide the comic relief needed to keep this novel from being too dark. Thomas makes a wonderful narrator; easy to relate to from the moment we meet him and his terror in the box on page one, to the very last page when he has developed into something of a leader. I can't say much more without ruining it all (not that I have many answers myself as this is a series) but I highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a page turner to lose themselves in.

Rating: 5/5

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