01 September 2009

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Flap Copy from ARC: "When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is blank. But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they've closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.

The Gladers were expecting Thomas's arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up - the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might find their way home ... wherever that may be. But it's looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.

And something about the girl's arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers - if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind."


Kudos to Dashner for writing a fast-paced and riveting young adult novel, one that kept me questioning right along with the characters and still guessing at the end. The Maze Runner is an easy and engaging read and I highly recommend it for teens and adults alike - 4 stars.

That being said, I am extremely frustrated by the abrupt ending both to the adventure and to the book itself. I understand there's a trilogy, but I want each book to function as well as a stand-alone read, either with some resolution or with an actual ending. I was so caught up in the boys' struggle, so ready for them to solve the Maze, or at least escape it, and then suddenly we're at an epilogue, written from a different narrative point-of-view, and I'm left only with clear foreshadowing of events to come in later books. But what about this book?

I found Dashner's writing to be clear and age appropriate, and his character development was very good, especially considering that none of the kids actually have any memories of themselves before the Glade - he still created distinct and realistic personality traits and flaws. But I was disappointed at the end of my reading - I will certainly look for the next book in the series, but I wish I felt like I had truly finished this one!

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