“The Maze Runner”/James Dashner/374 pages/Young-Adult, Science Fiction, Post-Aposolyptic

With this review I’m afraid I must be straight. The book was disappointing, to say the least. It was poorly written, there was little to no character development, and the concept was just too difficult to grasp. When creating a completely new setting, with creatures of your own creation, there is a process you must follow. You must help your reader to understand, because even though it may make sense to you, it won’t to another.

With no memory of who he is and where he came from, Thomas wakes up welcomed to the Glade. A maze where many boys in the same situation as himself must fight not only to survive long enough to see the next day, but to find a way out. After his arrival, everything changes, and it’s not difficult for the others to blame the changes on Thomas. Can Thomas help these boys find an exit before they’re all taken out one by one, or will they take him out before he has a chance to prove himself.

Here is the quick summary for those who do not wish to be exposed to too much:

Quick Summary

LANGUAGE: constant use of James Dashner’s “created” language, and constant use of British language, but  light in everyday language

VIOLENCE: few violent scenes, and most of them with Dashner’s creatures, but it can be very dark on a psychological level; these are children after all, and they will occasionally fight each other.

QUALITY: extremely poorly written, weak characters, very unorganized

OVERALL RATING: Watch movies instead. If you’re like me you may have hope in the books and keep reading, then you will enjoy them to a certain degree, but to be honest, I wouldn’t suggest these books to anyone.

And now, for a more detailed review……

LANGUAGE: There is, to be honest, not that much common language; however, Dasher created his own “language” for these children, which comes with a collection of new cuss words. Examples being: shank, klunk, shuch-face, slinthead, etc. These words are spoken in almost every single sentence, and not always to insult others; they merely say the words to say them. There is another different aspect to the language. Many of you may not know this, but there are quit a few common British words we hear frequently that are considered to be most fowl. Words such as bloody, buggar, bollucks, etc. These words are the British equivalent to our F word, and there is just one character who uses these words, but on a frequent basis. In the end, I would say there is quite a lot of language, but it may not bother many, it didn’t bother me much at all, so in the end, the language is really not that bad.

VIOLENCE: When reading the book, it felt, quite frequently, as if Dashner wanted to create horrific violent scenes, but in the end….. he just couldn’t. The few violent scenes in the book are between the boys and the strange creatures Dashner refers to as “grievers.” Enormous slug-like creatures with all sorts of metal rods and blades sticking out of the creature, along with stingers encompassing its entire body. Disgusting really, but not disturbing, and the fighting scenes between the boys and the grieves, has very little blood at all.

I will state however that this story can be rather dark on a psychological level. These are children after all, and to sum, that is not okay. This isn’t really anything like Hunger Games, except in the sense that these are children all pushed together for a “not so good” purpose. (or is it?) But instead of them all meant to kill each other, the grievers are killing them. The children however to act rather… creepy? Nothing horrific, but I mean, they’re children, they don’t always have the best plans in mind, they easily changer their minds, and when they dislike someone, they dislike someone.

QUALITY: Well…… This is where it goes down extremely fast. The writing is extremely poor, and quite frankly, painful to read. To make it easier, I’ll be splitting into two categories, quality and characters.

THE WRITINGThere were so many errors, I don’t know where to begin. The plot lacked foundation, there were many situations with no explanation (which, when creating your own world, is extremely important), he was annoyingly repetitive (practically threw the book out the window…) and he used too many similes.  At first the similes were fun, but after a while, I’d had enough. The part that drove me the craziest, was the repetitiveness. When entering the Glade, Thomas has no memory of who he was and where he came from. However, occasionally he will have a conversation with someone or look at an object and he’ll recall a memory. No faces and sure answers, he just recalls that he remember something. To sum it up, this is what it’s like, constantly…. “I remember but I don’t remember, strange.” (this of course is not an exact quote) I mean, I understand trying to give the reader a sense of mystery, but… come on….. let’s be real.

THE CHARACTERS: This is a little difficult to explain, because it’s hard to keep my opinion out of it. There were a couple that I really like, one specifically, but you really got down to the details, the character development was awful. I will admit, I can’t explain how to properly handle character development, it’s always eluded me… But when writing characters there is an aspect that is very important: soul. This is the same for pretty much anything you do in life, but to give a good example, lets use music. When playing an instrument it is important to keep your listeners interested. How? Well, technique is important, but it is not the only thing, you must have soul. I can’t quite explain it, but I’m sure you know what I speak of. It’s the feeling you get when you listen to a song and it makes you want to cry, or laugh, or it makes you angry. This cannot be taught, and is vital to writing a book. Anyone can write a character, but not everyone can make it come to life. For Dahsner, his characters were empty, almost like puppets. It was like you could just see Dashner writing these characters down, and you don’t want to see the writer you want to see the character. You want to see them as real people, experiencing these trials for themselves. Therefore, after understanding this, it’s easy to see why his characters are not good enough. They need much more to them, and therefore, it makes it difficult to read at times.

I apologize if I spent too much time on QUALITY, but it had to many issues to just brush over, but I tried my best…

In the end, I’m afraid this is not a book I would suggest to anyone. Would I admit to reading it and semi enjoying? Yes, unfortunately I would, but I am easily pleased. I would suggest you just watch the movies, because they fill in all the blanks and explain aspects the book did not, and frankly, I really enjoyed the movies, the second one to be specific.

In the end, I’m just going to do this one book and not bother reviewing the next two. I do this because the next two only get worse, the second book is a disaster, creating more scenes where you just keep saying to yourself “What is this? What was he thinking?” and the third, I have a hard time even remembering….. Read the first book, if you so please, and decide for yourself whether you want to continue. I will read the newest books, The Kill Order and The Fever Code, and will do my reviews for those two. If you guys wish me to go back and review the next two, I will, but I would rather not.

All in all, this book… Not the best choice in the world……