Book Review: The Maze Runner
by Laurel O’Keefe
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Dylan O’Brien from MTV’s Teen Wolf, The Maze Runner, is a must read. The first book in the New York Times bestselling series is perfect for fans of mystery and adventure. For fans of the Hunger Games and Divergent, James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, is completely fitting.
The book opens with the main character, Thomas, alone in an elevator. As the elevator opens, he is welcomed to a place called “the Glade”- an open expanse surrounded by stone walls- by a group of 50 teenage boys, like him. These boys, like Thomas, have no memories, and all they seem to know about the place is that every morning the stone walls open to reveal The Maze surrounding the Glade, and every night they close shut.
For two years the other boys lived comfortably while trying to figure out how to escape, but all of that is interrupted with Thomas’s arrival, and the arrival of the first female “glader”. As “the Glade” and their surroundings begin to change, Thomas is forced to help the boys put together the puzzle of why they were sent to the Glade, why they are surrounded by the Maze and how to escape it without first being defeated by the monsters their world contains. Thomas however might be more important than he originally thought, but only if he can recover the secrets locked in his mind.
As the story unravels, James Dashner builds suspense with ease as Thomas and the reader both struggle in the quest for knowledge. An emotional journey is uncovered the reader feels the excitement, the sorrow, the despair, the rush, the need for survival- everything. As the plot thickens the reader beings to feel like they are solving a puzzle with the characters.
Dashner’s characters, despite their seemingly rough exterior, steal the reader’s hearts. Even when their actions are despicable, they are believable. The tension and frustration builds as characters express their terror, confusion and lack of control.
Dashner further captures the reader and pulls them into his alternate world by packing the story with an unbelievable amount of detail. A little goes a long way in terms of his style. And aside from the terms unique to “the Glade” that he develops, his style is mainly simple, but none the less charming.
The fast pace of the plot and baffling storyline will keep your eyes glued to the page and gripping your seat until the very end. The suspense puts readers on edge from the beginning mainly because, like Thomas, we are blindly thrown into a new situation. From the very first page the tension only tightens as suspense snowballs along with the developing plot.
The Maze Runner is sure to leave you nervously biting your nails as you turn pages, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself hanging your mouth open in disbelief at the end of each chapter. The twists and turns of this book are more intricate than The Maze itself. As the first book concludes rest assured you will find yourself trapped in a maze of your own, with all paths leading your mind to the next book in the series.
Laurel O’Keefe is a student in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition