Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

After the brilliance that was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (the sequel to which, Catching Fire, should be up here sooner rather than later, and the conclusion to the trilogy hits stands in August), I wanted to find another book in that same vein: the science fiction/action-adventure YA novel. And to that end I found The Maze Runner, the first in a series of five books by James Dashner.

Thomas wakes up in an elevator, and remembers almost nothing. However, after a group of boys pull him out, he discovers that he is in the Glade, a square of land in the middle of a complex maze where a group of boys, one new one each month, try to survive and escape. Yet, before Thomas can get used to his new situation, a wrench is thrown in the works by the arrival of the first girl to the Glade and the triggering of an ending sequence. Thomas knows that he knows more about what is going on, and how to save them, if he can only reach the memories in time.

The Maze Runner starts off very slowly. To the point that I was wondering if this was what I wanted to read. But once it gets past that initial hurdle, it draws you into a story that is involved and entertaining. The characters are developed nicely, and the environment is well constructed. As the book progresses, the better it gets, leaving you with an ending that will definitely have this reviewer searching for the sequel.

This book is worth giving it a chance. It succeeds admirably, if not nearly as powerfully as The Hunger Games. Get through the bumpy start, and you will find a book well worth reading, one that flies by.


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