Thursday, 10 April 2014

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner book cover

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner, #1
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 4 / 5

Add to Goodreads

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

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.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

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.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

Starting this review is tricky. Did I like the book? Yes, I really did. Did it meet my expectations? No. Not even close! This is no way meant to be a criticism of the book. I thought the story was really good. But I have a little issue with what is written on the front cover: “…a must for fans of The Hunger Games”. Even before we get into the story, the comparisons are already beginning.

The Hunger Games is one of my all-time favourite series. You compare any book to THG and that automatically means that my expectations are going through the roof. I do feel like I have to explain why I’m not giving The Maze Runner five stars. The short answer I can give is I just wasn’t as emotionally invested in the characters and the story as I was expecting.

I loved (and still love) the Hunger Games and I love Katniss as a narrator. As a reader, the book captured my attention completely. I was in the story right along with Katniss. I experienced every twist, every emotion stemming from every decision she made and I felt I was right there with her throughout. That doesn’t happen very often, and when it does, it sticks with you and the book ends up being treasured.

Did I have the same experience here? Was I as emotionally invested in Thomas as the narrator? Absolutely not! I experienced everything he went through, and yes I sympathise with him and the other characters, but I didn’t feel that desperation that they had to fight for their lives. I do wonder if the story was written in the first person would I have preferred it… I think I might have.

If I read this book a while ago, maybe when it was first released, I think my reactions would be a lot different. I think it depends on the order you read books in whether you end up enjoying them as much as you hoped to

The idea behind the book is amazing. I have no complaints about the story itself. It’s unique and piques your curiosity. As a reader, we are in a constant state of the unknown. We have no idea what is happening, just as the characters don’t fully understand what has happened. I loved this aspect. I did end up correctly predicting a few of the twists early on and toward the middle of the book unfortunately. The ending on the other hand, was brilliant! I loved it. I was completely surprised, and I love that feeling of “O..M..G!!”

The only thing missing was a bigger connection to the characters. That’s all. And that’s a highly personal thing I think, and it’ll depend on each reader individually. I bonded just as much with some of the secondary characters as I did with the main characters. This tells you just how well the secondary characters were treated, or it tells you something was lacking from the main character… Thomas was a good MC. He was a believable and reliable narrator, but I unfortunately felt a disconnect with him. Teresa is the main, and only, female character for the greater portion of the book. I didn’t feel particularly attached to her one way or the other. We got to know about her but we didn’t get to know her.

The ending definitely made the book for me, especially the epilogue. That was just pure awesomeness! I have a terrible habit of pausing when I read a paperback, just to think about what I read, and I end up flicking the pages of the book, and I end up noticing words… and then I kind of get the gist of the story… Thankfully, I managed to keep myself under control this time, and I didn’t spoil the ending! It’s this ending that has pushed the book into a high 4 star rating. If I connected with Thomas, it would have been an easy 5 stars.

Will I continue with the series? Definitely!

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