The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Narrator: Mark Deakins
Published by Delacorte Press on October 6th 2009
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade - a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they've closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up - the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.
Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.
The premise of this book is quite intriguing. A boy wakes up, no memories of who is, where he came from much less where he is now. Perplexed by the nature of memory loss that allows him to remember mundane details, but not important things, he has to just go on, and figure out a way to live in the bizarre world he has found himself a part of. Sounds cool. Then you learn a bit about the world he lives in, and it sounds promising. But then you read, and nothing just ever seems quite as exciting as you think it should.
So what is this world like that he wakes up in? It seems to consist of pretty much just teenage boys. They have broken themselves into group to perform all the tasks that need to be done to keep their society running. Oh, and everyone here suffers from the same type of memory loss he has. They wake up one day in what they call The Glades, and its like their life starts fresh from that moment.
I also expected to be more taken by The Maze or the monsters (Grievers) that roam it, but honestly, I just wasn’t. Once again, the concepts are great, but somehow the maze never seemed as ominous or mysterious as I expected. I anticipated high suspense when grievers showed up, but I think I was detached enough from the story, that I just never really cared.
Also, the characters in this book are all supposed to be quite intelligent. I have a hard time with books where characters are supposed to be intelligent, but just come across as clueless lemmings that go with the norm. Whatever. This review is so hard to write because I cared so little about the characters, and eventually the story, that I just want to be done and quit thinking about it. The book is not horrible, but I did feel like my time could have been much better spent reading or listening to something different.
And finally, this is one book where I suspect I will enjoy the movie more, because surely they will give a little more personality to these characters than I got during my read. I don’t feel this competes with Hunger Games, which it’s often compared to. If you want another dystopian read, I say go try Red Rising by Pierce Brown instead.
Side note: This is the second “memory loss” book I have read in the past couple of months, and given my rating of the first was about the same, it may be a while before I give that particular plot line a chance again.