The Maze Runner – Yet another YA novel turned movie

I purposely avoided The Maze Runner movie last year, and I made as big an effort to even avoid the trailer (I did see part of it, once). Why? Well I had heard about the book on and off for a few years, and knew that I wanted to read it eventually, I just didn’t bother to getting around to it. Then the movie came around, and that made me want to read it, even though I knew nothing beyond the fact that someone was probably running a maze. And now finally I’ve read it. I obviously can’t comment on the movie (though I’m sure I’ll be watching it soon enough), but the book was great. The thing with this book is that we have very few answers about what is going on, we’re dropped into this maze and we soon learn that this is certainly a dystopia. The other characters who are already have a whole heap of slang which just confuses you, as it does our main character, Tom/Tommy/Thomas who is dropped (or should I say elevated) into this world. It’s confusing, and just leaves you going, WHAT IS GOING ON. And I really enjoyed feeling that. And James Dashner (the author) teases it out for a while, and delays info dumping for mysterious reasons. Even when we’re given information, there are so many more questions we are left asking.

The world we enter is very strange. So there is a group of kids who live in ‘the Glade’ a nice empty space, where over time they have developed a very organised community, with livestock and crops, assigned roles, everything. They get a weekly delivery of supplies, which they do depend on for some things, but could probably survive without. But the kicker is that once a month they get sent a brand new person, and it’s always a boy. Now this person remembers nothing specific about their previous life. They know “their” first name, and remember objects and language, but don’t remember their parents, their last name, distinct memories, nothing like that. And of course, there’s the maze. There are four openings which lead out into the maze, which surrounds the glade. And since it’s the title of the book, there are maze runners, who go out and try to find a way out. Thing is, the maze changes, but there are recurring patterns to it. Plus, it’s massive. So far, no way out, unless you count falling off ‘The Cliff’.

And then there’s the mysterious mechanical insects which have ‘WICKED’  (we find out it is World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department) written on them, and who spy for the ‘Creators’. And killer Grivers who roam the maze, particularly at night. But luckily the openings are closed at night as the walls move and seal themselves, so while some people have died, most are pretty safe,as long as you don’t enter the maze. But if you do get stung by a Griver, and you happen to make it back to the Glade, then you are given the grief serum, and go through a painful process, but come out better than ever. Except mentally, as you’ve seen a lot of things, perhaps memories or visions, that make the outside world look horrible.

Of course the newcomer Thomas, quickly proves himself to be the hero, as he saves the life of their leader whilst locked out of the maze. And he and the head runner, Minho, are able to survive a night out in the maze, something which has never been done before. Everything is thrown up in the air when a girl is sent into the Glade, the day after Thomas. And all she brings is the end. It seems the creators are ready to end this experiment.

And that’s what this all is, an experiment. Which just makes everyone ask, why? Who is behind all this? And WHY? And we really don’t find out, apart from the possibility they are trying to find very resilient individuals to help them with ‘The Flare’, which is apparently a disease which has caused the catastrophe out in the real world. But who knows. That’s left for the other books.

They end up escaping, but right into the hands of the creators. Who have another trick up their sleeves, a fake rescue mission, which I did see coming. I mean, these random people just happen to arrive at the same time that they break out of the maze, bit too much. And this is a dystopia, don’t trust anything good. So ultimately we’re left with a lot of questions.

I did really like this book, it’s got so much mystery and I’m very intrigued. The maze idea was quite exciting. Sometimes the characters could be annoying and frustrating, but that’s okay, they are people and people are annoying and frustrating sometimes too. Some things are farfetched and confusing, but I don’t really care. It was a quick, easy read, and I want to see where it leads me.

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