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– Book Review – The Maze Runner by James Dashner –

I bought a book, on a whim, because it was on 3 for 2 in Waterstones and I’d heard good things about the film. Being a massive geek I realised the book was probably better and I couldn’t see anything else I wanted to read. The book in question is The Maze Runner by James Dashner and like I said, I read it because I’d been told the film is good, I still haven’t seen it. Dylan O’brien is hot though.

I went into this book completely oblivious, I had literally no idea what it was about other than that there is a boy and a maze, I came out of it completely oblivious too. Still have no idea. I think that’s such a nice way to read a book sometimes, you can be completely open-minded and just go with it. Whatever happens, happens. But if my favourite character dies I will throw it at the wall and then hide it in the freezer.

Quick summery: A kid named Thomas wakes up in a box with his memory wiped and then finds himself thrown into a society of boys, living in a clearing in the middle of a giant maze. No one knows why they are there, no one has ever found a way out and they don’t seem to take well to strangers. He’s just starting to settle in when a girl turns up and shit goes down.

I know it’s not aimed at my age group, but I actually really enjoyed it. It’s well written and most of the chapters end on cliff-hangers, so it made me actually want to read the next one. I wanted to find out how these plucky young lads got out of their latest scrape. Having said that, I did find that the majority of the plot was a tad predictable, there are a few (major spoilers) points that I genuinely didn’t see coming and those are the things that make me like this book more.

I know it’s written for a younger audience than myself, I can’t expect Shakespeare quality language, but some of it was too simplistic. The evil creatures that all Gladers fear, the Grievers, didn’t worry me at all. Mostly because they are so badly described that I can’t picture them, Squishy and covered with arms doesn’t really help, I’m picturing mini Jabba the Hut’s. But of the flip side the battles and fights are described so perfectly I could have been standing there watching them. The relationship between Thomas and Theresa is underdeveloped, it almost feels like that part of the plot was added as an afterthought, like the editor looked at it and said ‘this books needs more half assed romance!’. But it’s not meant to be a romantic book, it’s meant to be a dystopic fantasy adventure where the fate of the world may *spoiler* hang in the balance. So that can be forgiven. Sort of.

I think my biggest issue, personally, with The Maze Runner is the language. Why do they need to invent words like ‘Shuck’, ‘Klunk’ and ‘Slinthead’? Yes these people have had their memories wiped, but they clearly remember how to speak, so surely they can remember actual swear words, instead of making some up? Thomas certainly can. I assume it was an attempt at greater immersion into that world, to make the reader feel as disoriented by these events as Thomas was in the beginning and at that, it works, but it also makes it quite hard to get into. I tried at least 3 times to read the first 9 or 10 chapters, purely because I couldn’t get past the made up swears. It’s clunky. Unless the reason was to lower the target audience by not using the word ‘shit’, which is understandable but if that was your intention, why make them swear at each other at all?

I did like the description of ‘klunk’ though: ‘Poo makes a klunk sound when it falls in our pee pots.’ – hehe

Mostly I recommend this book because it raised more questions than it answered, which basically demanded that I read the next one in the series just to find out what the hell happened in the book I’ve just finished. I love it when the reader is denied answers because the protagonist hasn’t been given any yet, it creates a deeper connection with their world and their issues. It’s bloody infuriating.

This book has more twists than… a really twisty thing and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. It may seem hard to believe but remember, WICKED is good…

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