Title: The Maze Runner (The Runner #1)
Author: James Dashner
PubDate: October 6, 2009
Page count: 348
“Just follow me and run like your life depends on it. Because it does.”
Maybe I was too excited to read this series because of the movie but now that I finished the first and second books I’m not too excited to pick up the third book anymore. It was also recommended to me by a friend, saying she really enjoyed it and things but for me it was a little disappointing. But either way, it was engaging and intriguing and a bit frustrating.
The first book in the series tells the story of Thomas when he wakes up in a lift called the Box and next thing he knows he’s surrounded by dozens of teenage boys. He remembers nothing, only his name, and to his luck no one tells him anything about the Glade, his new home. He tries hard to gain information, asking this and that, who and where but even his new-found friend, Chuck, tells him only the basic things he needs to know. But spending a day in the Glade, seeing the runners, the walls closing, knowing about the Maze, witnessing what happens when a glader undergoes in the Changing, and hearing the Grievers, Thomas knew he has to find a way out of the Maze, one way or another. The next day, the Box brings them another newbie glader, but this time it’s a girl, Teresa, with a note saying she’ll be the last one ever. Whatever that means, they all know it couldn’t be a good thing. And true enough, after Thomas and Teresa showed up things start to change and others start to blame them both.
“Holy crap, I’m scared.”
“Holy crap, you’re human. You should be scared.”
I liked the concept of the book with dozens of boys trapped inside a big Maze, the scary Grievers that roam around the Maze at night, the Changing when get sting by Grievers, the mystery behind the Maze and everything else and it was kind of intriguing why it’s happening to Thomas and the other gladers. I was glued right from the beginning until the middle part but when I realized that the book wouldn’t tell me anything about what’s happening, I started to get a little frustrated. The characters are also likeable but underdeveloped and there were times when I can’t tell them apart. I mean, Alby was the leader but Newt was running things around and I honestly still get confused about who is who even after reading two books. Who I liked a lot is Minho. He’s the Keeper of the Runners in the Glade and probably the best among the gladers. Chuck is also a cute character. I liked that he became friends with Thomas and that he’s the youngest and therefore the all-around glader.
“I just…feel like I need to save everyone. To redeem myself.”
Anyway, Thomas as the main character is fine. He’s driven, curious and well, the reason why things started to fall apart. He eventually wants to be a Runner like Minho, analyzing and solving the Maze so they can find a way out. He can be annoying and hardheaded at times but I understand his will on solving the Maze. Being stubborn and breaking one the rules also earns him a few haters and it doesn’t help that people who went through the Changing seem to remember him from it. Thomas is also quite special from the others because of his ability to talk to Teresa in his mind. Or rather, he can hear Teresa talking to him in his mind. I didn’t really get their telepathy thing because for me it wasn’t necessary but well, it was there. Teresa is a so-so character. For the first part after she showed up in the Glade she is asleep and when she wakes she and Thomas start to feel connected with each other.
“It was you and me, Tom. We did this to them. To us.”
The writing didn’t impress me that much. The prose is disappointing and I was actually hoping it would eventually improve but it didn’t. It felt flat that even though I wanted to feel something, anything, about what’s happening, I can’t because the writing somewhat lacked emotion and it was very tell-y, just saying this and that and nothing else. The slang words are also kind of annoying sometimes. Okay, maybe a lot of times but you get used to it at some point. What infuriated me so much was the lack of information! Seriously! Because there are so many questions asked but the book only answered one or two and it didn’t help that the characters also don’t really know anything since their memories are erased when they were thrown inside the Maze. Ugh! But the turn of events are satisfying and I was resolved on just finishing the series for the hell of it. Like I said, it was fine but I really think it could be better if the writing is improved and the characters are well-developed.
So for me, The Maze Runner is an intriguing book with some infuriating aspects. A bit long (for me) but enjoyable enough. I also got to finish to second book in the series (will write a separate review soon) and thinking of reading the third book some time next week.