08 setembro 2011

Review: The Maze Runner (James Dashner)

Publisher: Chicken House (2010)
Format:  Paperback | 371 pages
Genre(s): Science-Fiction, Young Adult
Description (Goodreads): "When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrols its corridors, to find out."
WARNING: Contains some SPOILERS!
This book is another one that many bloggers like and highly recommend. Also, the cover says anyone who liked "The Hunger Games" would like "The Maze Runner"... and while I didn't exactly love Suzanne Collins' books, I think they were somewhat original and interesting so I decided to finally read this book.

Fortunately, "The Maze Runner" did not disappoint... much. It has an Hunger Games 'feel' to it - the futuristic society, the kids trapped in a deadly game, the resourceful main character -, but it's better in my opinion... the world building is sharper and even with the slow start you actually get answers. Not all of them, but some. Just enough to make you want to read the next book.

Thomas wakes up without his memories, in a strange place where a bunch of boys live. He quickly learns that it is an enclosed space, a maze. And that his job (and everyone's job) is to find a way out. Thomas doesn't have much time to get used to life in the Glade; he is immediately put to work in the strange community. However he dreams of being a Runner, to run across the maze day after day trying to find a way out.

Why is his desire to be a Runner so strong? And what is the maze all about?

This book starts slow, as I've previously mentioned, but after a few rather bewildering and abrupt chapters, the pace picks up and you just can't stop reading. The author cleverly keeps the action going with attacks from the "Grievers", dissent amongst the inhabitants of the Glade and the enigma of the maze. Throughout the book Thomas and his new companions figure out clues that will eventually lead to an explanation about why they are trapped in a giant maze like lab experiments.
If you can get past the first few boring chapters it will be quite difficult to put this book down!

The plot is rather intriguing even if it is very much like the Hunger Games. The main difference resides in the main character, Thomas who relies more on his brain than in his physical prowess (unlike Katniss). I thought Thomas was way too instrumental in figuring out the maze (which made all the other guys look pretty stupid, since they had been there for a a while and didn't find anything relevant), but other than that I liked the story and can't wait to read the other two books.

The characters definitely need more development as most of them are indistinguishable from one another. Thomas was a likable character (a bit too perfect for my taste, though) and Teresa was... not important at all.

There were a few things that bothered me like the fact that the whole world seemed to be in bad shape but somehow someone invested time and money on the maze. But oh well... what are a few, minor inconsistencies?

Overall, "The Maze Runner" was a good read within the genre. It had action and mystery in the right doses and a great pace. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

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