The Maze Runner by James Dashner is not a book that I would have normally picked up. The cover isn’t appealing to me and until I took a good look at it (when I went to write this post) I had no idea what was on the cover. Even after reading the book, I’m not totally certain what the cover is supposed to portray.
However, despite the cover, I really enjoyed the book. It has a lot of action and it was written for teenaged boys. There is really only one female character in the book and she doesn’t have much of a role. This was on of the books that I brought home this summer to read so I could get an idea of what I wanted to teach in my English classes.
I absolutely believe that the boys would enjoy this book. In many respects, it reminded me of The Hunger Games; the action was nearly constant and some of the images were disturbingly violent. However, I am tempted to get the second and third books in the trilogy because I want to know how it ends.
The plot is simple. Our main character, Thomas, is dumped into the Glade with no memories of his previous life. The Glade is inhabited by boys (Thomas estimates 50-60). The Glade has been in existence for approximately “language”years and every month a new boy is dropped off. The boys, all teenagers, have created their own “society” in the Glade. They farm, tend to animals, grow crops and do other various jobs to keep things running. And then there is the maze. The boys believe that they will be able to get out of the Glade, if only they find a way through the maze. As a result, they send Runners out every day to try to find a way through the maze. But the Runners have to return before night. Night is when the doors to the maze close and the Grievers come out. The Grievers are part machine, part animal creature that “stings” those that cross its path, but only if they are unable to kill.
I won’t give you any more of the plot, so I don’t ruin it, but I did have some observations. First, the author spends a lot of time creating the boys’ society. The boys have their own slang that is unknown to Thomas when he first arrives. The boys have also set up a societal hierarchy. They have their own rules and governing body. Everyone has a job and they try to find the job that the boy is most suited to do before permanently assigning him. Second, there are many, many unanswered questions. We don’t get the answers because Thomas doesn’t have them. Many of the boys don’t have the answers either. We know what Thomas knows and nothing else. Which means that often we know less about what is going on then the other characters in the book. Finally, the end of the book leaves many of the questions unanswered. It also leads to a whole new set of questions.
The vocabulary wasn’t difficult and overall, it was a very quick read (for me it took a couple of hours) and left me wanting to order the next book. I do think that it is a great book for boys, maybe those who are not quite old enough for The Hunger Games, but are dying to read it anyway.
Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you think.