Maybe I’m A-Mazed by James Dashner’s The Maze Runner

April 29, 2013 Coming of Age, Dystopian, Frightening, Mystery, Psychological, Young Adult Fiction 27

Happy Monday, Bookworms!

How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was busy and I got to spend it in Chicago with an array of my FAVORITE PEOPLE EVER! So. I am exhausted, but so happy. However. You are not here to listen me brag about a fun weekend with people I love. No, no. I shall simply keep the epic-ness of it all to myself for the time being. You are here for the books, and a book you shall have!

I recently finished The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I had several of you awesome readers recommend it to me, so I decided to listen to the voice of the people. The Maze Runner is a young adult dystopian novel, a genre with which I have a love-hate relationship. So. Love? Or Hate?

200px-The_Maze_Runner_coverWell, this novel begins with our protagonist Thomas waking up in a dark box. As he comes to, he’s surrounded by a bunch of boys heckling him. Thomas is a new arrival to a bizarre community of adolescent boys. The boys have created a little agrarian society in the middle of an enormous maze. (Imagine, if you will, a corn maze on steroids where the corn is replaced with enormous super tall ivy covered walls.) Thomas has no recollection of who he is or how he came to be in this place, but all new arrivals go through that. NONE of the boys are entirely sure how they ended up in the Glade or what the freaking deal is with the maze. All they know is that the maze is extremely dangerous (thanks to cyborg-slug-stabby monsters known as Grievers.) The boys aren’t too keen on being marooned there. The guys in the Glade treat information on a strictly “need to know” basis, which annoys the crap out of poor confused Thomas (and, frankly, the reader as well.) While its annoying, all the scintillating little details and the secrecy kept me reading… And annoying a co-worker who’d already read this with questions immediately followed by “No, don’t tell me!!!” (Sorry June, but you brought this on yourself!)

The maze itself smacks of government conspiracy, and the fact that the Glade has an impressive graveyard full of maze casualties reminded me a bit of The Hunger Games, what with the murdered children and all. Fortunately, I shan’t be shouting, “Simpsons did it!” at this novel (unlike, say, Ally Condie’s Matched series.) This book also called to mind Lord of the Flies, but it was amazing how the boys were able to keep order, unlike the English schoolboys of Golding’s imagination. The Glade boys were smart enough to understand that if they didn’t maintain structure, their already confused lives would descend into complete chaos and none of them would survive. If they held it together, they at least had HOPE of solving the maze and getting back to their lives… Not that any of them remember their lives, really, but they figure it’s got to be better than being murdered by a weird cyborg slug monster (can’t argue with that logic.) Basically? I’m hooked on the maze and you bet your shank-klunk-shuck-bloody-weird-Glade slang I’ll be continuing this series.

So, Bookworms. The Grievers in this book are really the stuff that kids’ nightmares are made of. What did your childhood monsters resemble? Cyborg slugs? Big blue monsters with a heart of gold? Villains from Super Mario Brothers come to life? Inquiring minds want to know. (Mostly I want to know that I’m not the only one who was afraid of those ball and chain things with teeth from Mario 3…)

27 Responses to “Maybe I’m A-Mazed by James Dashner’s The Maze Runner”

  1. Megan M.

    I took my daughter to see Brave when she had just turned five. I don’t know if you remember, but the initial trailers for it didn’t exactly reveal that a huge part of the plot involved… bears. Some of those bear scenes were a little intense, and it gave her nightmares for a while. Oops. Loved the movie, though!

    • Megan M.

      MY childhood nightmares all involved murderous dolls. Those Chucky movies came out at just the right time to scare me for life.

  2. Liesel Hill

    Great review! Haven’t read this one, but it’s on my TBR list. I’ve met Dashner a few times. He often comes to the League of Utah Writer’s conference here in the fall. Glad you liked the book! 😀

    • Words for Worms

      You’ve met Dashner? How cool! I’ve yet to meet an author face to face, although I tend to squeal whenever I make online contact with an author I’ve read. Terribly exciting!

  3. Michelle Proulx

    I was always terrified of the octopus-like monster under the stairs that reached out between the slats and grabbed your ankles. As for Maze Runner … fantastic book! I made the mistake of reading it on vacation, though, meaning I didn’t have access to the sequel … and that book features a whopper of a cliffhanger, so I was quite displeased. Speaking of which, I should really track down the sequel so I can figure out what the heck happens to the characters …

    • Words for Worms

      I was not pleased with the cliffhanger, so you’ll be unsurprised to hear that I’m already chewing through book 2. Octopus stair monster is very scary. I’m glad my imagination wasn’t that good!

  4. ashley

    Yay! So glad you reviewed this! I can’t wait to read what you think of the rest of the series! (The Glade slang doesn’t stop even when they are out) As for childhood monsters, I was always scared of gnomes.Those faces! Those pointed hats! These cheesy grins! Not a monster you say? Well in Ashleyd world they are and they still terrify me!

  5. Amanda

    I’ve heard lots of good things about this book, so I might give it a try. I don’t know why I’m so hesitant to pick it up, I love dystopian! Anyway, great review 🙂

  6. June

    I didn’t mind having you ask me a million questions – I was just glad you liked the book as much as me! Strangely, I can’t think of any monsters that I was afraid of as a child. I know they existed, I just don’t remember what they were. My brother was afraid of Fidget the bat, who was a peg-legged bat in Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective. I give him a lot of crap about that now lol

    • Words for Worms

      Hahahhahahaha!!!!!!!!!! OMG your brother. That is hilarious. I love it so much. Now that I’m reading book 2 and you’re done with it, the questions will continue.

  7. acps927

    I found The Maze Runner series overall unsatisfying, but I didn’t love it from the start, so maybe you’ll enjoy them more. I know there are other people who liked it, I guess it wasn’t really my thing. And those cyborg slugs were definitely scary!

  8. Jennine G.

    I was afraid of anything even remotely monster related! My dolls coming to life chief among them.

    My students love Maze Runner. I received it from another teacher and a student raved so much I went and bought the other two books. I would like to know what you think of book 3…like most trilogies, it’s not quite like the first two.

    • Words for Worms

      Trilogies can be a mixed bag. For me in the Matched series, book three kept me from rioting, but I didn’t love The Mockingjay as much as the first two Hunger Games books, so it should be interesting to see where Maze Runner falls! Dolls coming to life is freaky, unless it’s Toy Story, because that is just DARN adorable.

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