Imagine waking up in a concrete lift with no other memory of your name, before suddenly being deposited into a large courtyard completely surrounded by never-ending stone walls.
This is Thomas’ story as he’s dumped in the middle of this strange place but he’s not alone. His new ‘home’ is already inhabited by a large group of teenage boys just like him, with no other memory other than their own names and their time within their mysterious surroundings, which they’ve nicknamed the Glade. These ‘Gladers’ have somehow made a life for themselves despite their circumstances and spend their days simply surviving – their food is delivered weekly by the same lift the boys arrive in - and trying to figure out the puzzle of the Maze that surrounds the Glade. The Maze is a horrifying place full of dark, ivy lined corridors and monstrous, disgusting creatures called Grievers, but it’s this little community’s mission to get out and if it means facing the deadly poison of the Grievers then so be it.
Thomas barely has time to familiarise himself with his surroundings when the next day a box arrives delivering another new arrival, but for the first time…it’s a girl. This girl, called Teresa, has one message for the confused Gladers. She will be the last person to be delivered to the Glade, ever.
Her arrival is only the beginning of a whole saga of action packed mystery, and follows Thomas and his companions as they try and battle their way out of the Maze before they go insane or worse.
So what’s my verdict?
Told from Thomas’ point of view, the book lands the reader right in the middle of the action and confusion of being a Glader trying to get out of the Maze. Though Thomas’ wiped memory can be frustrating at times, it’s refreshing to read a Dystopian novel from the point of view where we know absolutely nothing of what’s happened to the outside world. Instead of revealing the ‘in’s and out’s’ of the world they live in the book reads almost like a detective novel, with the Gladers fitting the pieces of the puzzle together as the book progresses. There’s also the element of basic human survival and psychology between the members of the community, all of whom have completely different personalities and clash on many occasions. Then, of course, there’s the addition of Teresa. Being the only girl in a novel full of testorone is a tough feat to cope with but the ambiguity around her and her role in the Maze is definitely something interesting to see play out.
Dashner’s writing style is quick and snappy. The chapters are short, with cliffhangers after each one leaving you wanting to keep turning the pages to get to the end of the book. This fits with the nature of the story, though can leave a reader needing to retrace their steps and check what just happened. That being said with Dystopian novels feeling like they’re dime-a-dozen nowadays, it’s definitely worth giving The Maze Runner a chance.
If you needed any other excuse to start this series, the film adaptation, starring Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf) and Kaya Scodelario (Skins) as Thomas and Teresa respectively, has recently finished filming, not to mention there are already awesome stills and set photos from the movie surfacing as I speak. Get in there before the hype builds!
I'm In Here: Sia; No Light, No Life: Florence + The Machine; Nowhere Left To Run: McFLY; Another Heart Calls: The All American Rejects; Careful: Paramore; Pyro: Kings Of Leon; Hysteria: Muse
This book was reviewed by regular reviewer Ria, get to know more about her here!