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Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You're in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids -- the Runners -- venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines.
Thomas is the newest arrival to the Glade in this Truman-meets-Lord of the Flies tale. A motley crew of half a dozen kids is all he has to guide him in this strange world. As soon as he arrives, unusual things begin to happen, and the others grow suspicious of him. Though the Maze seems somehow familiar to Thomas, he's unable to make sense of the place, despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. What is this place, and does Thomas hold the key to finding a way out?
In The Maze Runner, Dashner has crafted a creative and engaging novel that's both mysterious and thought provoking.
I just finished this book. Like two seconds ago. So these are my raw thoughts about the story:
It's epic and tragic and masterfully crafted. I couldn't help thinking while I read that this is what life is like. You're born into a world you know nothing about with no memory of what may have been before, and thrown into the challenges right in front of you with nothing but your own talents and the people around you to help or hinder you. That's what Thomas experiences when he wakes up in the Box, the lift that takes him to the Glade. He doesn't know where he came from or exactly what he's meant to do. He just knows it's important and that he needs to do it.
I'm reminded of the way Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card made me feel. There's this sort of triumph in the occasional successes of the Gladers, but there's also this feeling of darkness and the constant nagging feeling that these are children and they shouldn't be dealing with this. Like I recommend Ender's Game to anyone who asks, I'm gonna recommend The Maze Runner just as wholeheartedly. It's uncomfortable but insightful in so many ways. And compelling as all get-out!
James Dashner is a genius storyteller. Every revelation feels weighty and important, and there's never an unwanted lull in the action. Just like Thomas, you get a moment to catch your breath, and then all hell breaks loose. Oh, and you are not gonna want to miss the Epilogue. They should rename it the epic-logue just for this book.
I realize I'm late to the party, and all y'all probably already know this... but if you haven't picked up The Maze Runner, you're missing something.
I'm off to check out The Scorch Trials, and giggle at all of you who have been waiting forever for Book 3, The Death Cure, because I'm not gonna have to wait nearly as long. Buwahahaha! Admittedly, that was substantially more obnoxious than a giggle. I apologize.
Have you read James Dashner's work? How did it make you feel?