Most of the time, I’m of the opinion that life is too short to read a book that you neither want nor have to read. If you can’t get into a book, then put it down and pick up another one. However, occasionally, I ignore my own advice. Occasionally, for whatever reason I feel compelled to finish a book even if it doesn’t appeal to me. This usually means that I have to give myself a time limit for finishing the book – assigning myself a certain number of pages to be read each day until I finish the book.
That was the case with James Dashner’s The Maze Runner. Even though it reminded me early on of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games (perhaps my favorite read in 2009), I just had a hard time getting into the story. It just seemed to have more sharp prickly edges than Hunger Games. It was not as smooth of a read as Hunger Games. I like science fantasy more than I do science fiction and somehow, I was under the impression this was going to be too sci-fi for me. Yet, I felt compelled to read the book and with the library due date looming at me, I gave myself a reading assignment.
Boy! Am I glad I did! The first in a trilogy, The Maze Runner tells the story of Thomas who wakes up in something akin to an elevator remembering only his name. When the doors open Thomas is greeted by a group of young boys of various ages known as the Gladers. They live in the Glade, which is surrounded by an ever-changing maze inhabited by gruesome creatures known as Grievers. The goal is to get past the Grievers and out of the Maze. To accomplish this, they have to solve the puzzle of the maze. Things are complicated by everyone’s lack of memories of their lives before entering the Glade, distrust of Thomas and the appearance of a strange girl – the only girl to appear in the Glade.
Though I found the first few chapters slow going, it was not long before I found myself pulled into the story. It’s as though Dashner reached out and grabbed me by the collar and pulled me into the Glade along with everyone else. I was immersed in Thomas’ eagerness to find a way out and his frustration at his fleeting memories. The book ended way before I was ready for it to end. I found myself both cheering and moaning that there would be more books. I’m eager to learn the rest of the story, but I sure hate waiting for the next book to be released.
I would classify The Maze Runner as a dystopian young adult number, but one with a light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s just hope it’s not more Grievers. I can’t wait for books two and three.
If you would like to learn more about this book and the author, check out James Dashner’s blog: http://jamesdashner.blogspot.com/