Wednesday, October 15, 2014

James Dashner: The Maze Runner

James Dashner takes the reader to a mysterious place where problem solving is the main asset that anyone there could have:
Once a month a new boy is send up into the area of the the maze with no memory of where they came from or who they are. They all realize that the have the same purpose to survive and solve the maze. They know that they need to get out of there and return to where ever they came from. Thomas is the newest "greenie" to enter into this unknown place, but Thomas is different, he questions everything and feels the need to know everything. Thomas is about to change everything which is a good thing as an event is going to trigger the ending of those in the maze and the need to solve it just became more of a life and death situation.

I will admit it that the only reason I pick this book up was that it had been made into a movie. I remember picking up this book once in the half price bin and putting it back down as it was a YA novel. Since then I have read quite a few YA novels that I have really enjoyed so I thought why not give this one a try too. However, for me this book was a disappointment and did not live up to the hype of the books or the movie trailer promises.

I found the premise really interesting and you have to try to think what type of game these boys have been forced to play over the two years that they have been there for and this is a game that plays for keeps. A maze that appears unsolvable, as you have maze runners who investigate and map it each day to look for a way out or a pattern, but nothing seems to be working. Very cool idea and you have to think why are they there, who put them there and there must be a way out. I can get behind a premise like that, but you need more than just an interesting premise to make a book succeed. The book needs to have interesting characters, and scenes that will leave you on the edge of your seat. I personally was not get behind really any of the characters and I found the book predictable, which did not leave me wanting to read more. I always felt like I was a few steps ahead of the characters and waiting for them to catch up.

I was not a fan of being in Thomas' head for the most part of the book as I could not get behind him as a character. I found his thought process hard to follow at times and I understand that he does not have any memory of before but his thoughts were staggered and then there was times the reader was not allowed to know what he was thinking and then other times you are. I think it has to be either one way or the other either we are inside his head or not. The book is only told from his point of view and I wish that Dashner would have spread it around a bit. I think my favourite character was Minho and it would have been interesting to know what he was going through since he had been at the camp since the beginning and had been a maze runner for a very long time. I feel like he was a character I could have gotten behind had I had the chance to get to know him better.

Didn't like that Dashner tried to introduce new slang or words to mean common things. The boys seem to have knowledge of the English language but for some reason he decided to try to name something different or just used words to avoid swears, for example "shuck-face" or "klunk". Hate to let Dashner know but YA use swear words, and they all know what you are trying to say even though those words are not written there. All these changes really just made the dialogue sound off in my head as I was trying to read it.

I think the best part of this book was Dashner's world building. He does a fantastic job of describing the maze and the world that the boys live in. You can say that Dashner has an imagination for this aspect of the book and he does it really well. However, this description process does not actually extend to the characters or the actions that they take, these aspects were very one dimensional.

This is not the best YA novel that I have read. I think that there are some better ones out there. I found this book predictable  and I figured out what they needed to do next to solve the maze it seemed like chapters before the protagonists did (though I will say that I did enjoy the ending and cliff hanger of the book). This book is probably better suited for the YA that it was written for as i think adults would find it lack luster compared to other YA novels that they have read.

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