★ ★ ★
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Not So Fun Fact: I accidentally bought the UK version of this book (who does that?!), so all the meters, stone, and centimeter talk didn’t make sense, but I don’t blame the book for that, so it won’t bring down the rating.
It seldom happens that the movie adaptation of a particular novel helps me enjoy said novel, more. So you can imagine my surprise when this exact thing happened. What do I mean by this?
The Maze Runner moved very sluggishly, and majority of the characters were stale, like our MC Thomas. Since I enjoyed the movie and there weren’t a ton of differences between the two, I was able to imagine the movie playing in my mind as I read; This helped me tremendously! It’s amazing how fast I finished it after that switch was flipped in my mind. For me watching the movie first was the best idea.
I’m not going to take you through the beginning because, frankly, it was boring and I’d be wasting my time retelling the exposition. This first book was a lot of world-building, however this wasn’t beneficial because it’s the world inside the maze that Dashner was building. Since the second book doesn’t take place within the maze, this extensive building was useless. If there was suspense surrounding the who, what, where and why then I could handle that, but the suspense lies elsewhere. The suspense that exist within the novel is about Thomas’ role within the maze and how to escape, which completely neglected why they’re there to begin with. This bothered me almost as much as my initial opinion of Thomas.
Like I said before the characters are really, really stale – minus a few exceptions – which didn’t allow me to feel connected to the characters at first. However, I proceeded to read the novel while imagining the movie (as I stated above) and Thomas’ stupid actions, decision and dull inner voice became the movie and everything unfolded well. His constant barrage of questions and irritating mirror-like emotions became something much more fierce and wonderful until I liked the characters, except for Theresa.
This is a very serious question, and I’d really like an answer.
Q: What was the purpose of Theresa?
A: unknown (can someone please answer?)
That’s the last mention of her character in this post.
There were some characters that I loved, like Minho, Newt, and Chuck. Minho is overflowing with sarcasm and his character has to be the most genuine and honest throughout the novel. You love him from the moment he’s introduced to you (as Thomas) – his humor is wonderful in a world devoid of real happiness. Newt is described differently in the novel than in the movie, however his attitude and calm nature is ever prevalent throughout the book. Chuck has a larger role in the movie than he did in the novel, but he’s still this cute kid just trying to fit-in with the big guys. His positive attitude gravitated me toward him and once you decide to read it, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.
Since this novel is a dystopian, set apart from the rest of the world, the kids there are surviving and adapting to their environment, which cannot be done without a hierarchy and a workforce. Everyone in the Glade (where the boys live, believed to be at the center of the maze) has jobs like cooking, mopers (janitor), runners (explorers of the maze), etc. the job you get depends on your skill-set and it keeps the Glade running efficiently. There are leaders to each group and they’re like the union bosses for each career “choice”, with Alby being the leader of everything. This setup, in my opinion, was awesome and showcased what the story was meant to be about, but it just fell flat on many other points.
Words fail me to describe the conflict present in the novel.
There’s the Griever: Machine/Animal creatures that sting their prey with a substance. Man vs. Technology
There’s W.I.C.K.E.D: A mysterious acronym that is mentioned much too early in the novel, and adds nothing to the plot – so far. (It’d be a spoiler to tell the actual definition) Man vs. Society
There’s Gally (is that right?): A Leader within the Glade that doesn’t add anything important or interesting to the novel, i.e, a waste of ink. Man vs. Man
There’s the Maze: The home of the Grievers and the labyrinth of uselessness. Man vs. Nature
There’s the Changing: After said Griever stings you with their poison(?), you go through the hallucinations and learn all this important information that turns most people semi-crazy. Man vs. Nature
There’s Thomas believing he’s the enemy: After certain events transpire Thomas believes he might be a foe, not a friend to the captors of the Glade. Man vs. Self
You’d think with this many obstacles to overcome this story would be a fat, juicy adventure…yet, it fails each time! Every type of conflict is utilized in this novel, however it failed to execute one and still barely held onto a plot.
Another issue that plagued me was the language. There were a lot of shuckface’s, flintheads, and klucks being thrown around.
See how you don’t understand what I’m talking about? Well that’s how I felt about the language in this book. Dashner had a cute idea to minimize actual swear words, and provide the boys with their own language that developed in the Glade, but it wasn’t altogether successful. It felt forced and didn’t flow with the dialogue. Although I do appreciate there not being any real cursing in the novel because some YA novels just include waaaaay too much of it, I couldn’t stop myself from wondering why these teenage boys didn’t use real curse words……
Will I read book two? Yes. I’ve actually already bought it, but only because I’ve seen the second movie and interested in knowing what’s been modified.
Overall, the amount of oomph missing from this book is apparent to anyone who reads it, and cannot be completely redeemed. The main reason I enjoyed this novel was because I enjoyed the movie for what it was – a teenage dystopian, adventure. Don’t expect too much from this novel, especially for those individuals who haven’t seen the movie.
Have you read this book? If so, what are your opinions? Did you happen to catch the movie?