Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner

This was a great little Young Adult book which I know has been made into a great film although I haven't seen it yet.  I read this in a day, in between housework and marking, and it was brilliant for escaping.

There seems to be a trend for dystopian novels for YA at the moment and when you look at the news it's hardly surprising that teenagers are enjoying novels where they are to be the saviours of a messed up world. This is a cross between all of them: Hunger Games, Divergent, Millenium 14.  It is written in the first person by a boy named Thomas who is possibly about 15, although he doesn't know as his memory has been wiped.  He has been 'dumped' into a world of only teenage boys (imagine the smell!) who have sorted themselves into factions or guilds.  None of them have any memory of where they came from or how they got there.

Outside their camp is the maze which is patrolled by strange half biological half mechanical creatures.  A group of boys called runners go out everyday in an attempt to find a way through the maze and hopefully find the exit. If any of them get 'stung' by the creatures, they must receive a serum which prevents them from dying.  The serum itself though, has the side-effect of restoring some memories - however if they try to tell anyone else these memories they end up trying to strangle themselves.  A few boys who have experienced this 'changing' recognise Thomas and appear to have a deep loathing for him.

A week after Thomas arrives a girl is sent.  She is the only girl that has ever appeared in the camp and she is in a coma. Thomas feels he knows this girl, although he doesn't know how and it soon becomes apparent that they have a telepathic connection.

The book was pacey and exciting with sufficient mystery and tension to be a page-turner. It didn't engage me as much as Divergent, possibly because it was so boy-centric.  My only grumble with it, and this is a feature of pretty much all these types of books at the moment, is that it doesn't really finish.  The resolution is incomplete and so you are forced to read the second book (and presumably the third) to find out what is going on - good marketing strategy of course.  I have a feeling that there will be more girls in subsequent books, hopefully not just there to be rescued!

I'm looking forward to seeing the film now, and I'll hold off with the rest of the trilogy until after I've seen the film.

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