Plot Summary: When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. 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, open expanse surrounded 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 the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.
I love hearing about books on the grapevine. Mostly, it’s because I love hearing about people enjoying books (because I love them, too). But it also means that I’m hearing about more books that I get to read. And what could be better than that? :) Sure, some of the books aren’t my cup of tea, but some of them are truly enjoyable, that I wouldn’t have known about if it hadn’t been for the grapevine.
THE MAZE RUNNER is one of those books. I saw it pop up before it was released, and I even had the opportunity to read an ARC. But when I read the summary, it didn’t pique my interest, so I passed. Fast forward to present day... This book is popping up all over the place, and people are really enjoying it. So I checked out a copy from my library to see what the buzz was all about.
This is a fun book. There is lots of action and adventure, savage monsters, a puzzling mystery, and it’s filled with great entertainment. The pacing is quick, the maze absolutely pulls the reader in, and Dashner is excellent at giving the reader just enough information to satisfy some curiosity, but also to keep us reading.
Some of the characters could have had a bit more depth to them, such as Gally and Teresa. Gally was too one-dimensional-evil, and Teresa didn’t feel complete. And I never got a full picture of Alby, either. But other characters, like Chuck and Minho, were fully fleshed out. I felt like I knew them well.
I would have liked clearer descriptions, too. I couldn’t quite see what the Grievers (monsters in the maze) looked like. I could hear them, but not see them. And the maze itself wasn’t clear. The book’s cover did a good job of filling in those blanks, but I would have preferred to get the image from the text.
The beginning is a bit too slow, and parts of it felt contrived as Thomas keeps asking questions and the others refuse to answer. There was no established motivation for them to not provide answers, so that was disappointing. I also had difficulty with everyone being so down on Thomas, making him the cause of everything going wrong, when it’s obvious they should have been directing that frustration and animosity at Teresa.
And, I’m torn about the twist at the end. I saw it coming, and I haven’t decided whether or not I like it. I think I don’t have enough information to decide, and I’m guessing that information is coming in future books. But I did feel like the book had a satisfying conclusion, and wrapped up the conflict of this book. The conflict of the next book was hinted at, and is intriguing. So I’ll definitely read it.
Overall, even with these shortcomings, this was still a fun and entertaining book to read. I can see teen boys devouring these pages and asking for more. Definitely recommended.