Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner

Okay, I've been VERY lax in my blog posting for the past month. I've been reading, just not reviewing what I'm reading. Well, it's about time to fix that. I recently read The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure by James Dashner, and felt it fitting to review the entire 4 star trilogy in one post. I'll save his prequel The Kill Order for a later date, partly because it's a prequel to this series and partly because I haven't read it yet. Oh and SPOILER ALERT because I can't guarantee I'll be vague enough to not ruin the earlier books by discussing the later ones.

From B&N Discovers...
Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You're in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids -- the Runners -- venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines.

Thomas is the newest arrival to the Glade in this Truman-meets-Lord of the Flies tale. A motley crew of half a dozen kids is all he has to guide him in this strange world. As soon as he arrives, unusual things begin to happen, and the others grow suspicious of him. Though the Maze seems somehow familiar to Thomas, he's unable to make sense of the place, despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. What is this place, and does Thomas hold the key to finding a way out?

In The Maze Runner, Dashner has crafted a creative and engaging novel that's both mysterious and thought provoking.

My thoughts:
I should seriously have looked into this book a few years ago after I finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, because as much as I liked that series (well, the first book and a half, anyway), Dashner's trilogy far surpassed that. These three books never faltered in their fast pace and the level of involvement I felt with the characters, while Collins definitely rushed the third book in her series and its quality was severely affected. The Death Cure is probably my favorite of the trilogy, and while I have my faults with these books, I was utterly astounded at how much I enjoyed the books and most of all, the conclusion.

It's always refreshing when an author can create such realistic characters that you almost wish they truly existed. I couldn't help being completely involved in what was happening with the Gladers as they circumnavigated the Maze, then survived the Scorch and fought WICKED and all the dangers of the 'real world'. I found myself rooting for Thomas and Minho and all the others, then warring with myself as to whom Thomas should trust- Teresa and Aris, or 'Cranks' Jorge and Brenda? This was a fast paced trilogy that never stopped to give the reader any time to relax and breathe. That could be a problem, and at times I found myself wishing Dashner gave his characters a chance to gain their bearings without having more trials to go through, or people to debate whether or not to trust. They just couldn't catch a break, huh?

As much as I would have liked to see a bit more character development for the characters other than Thomas and Teresa, but of course I understand it's a bit hard to do that when the characters all lost their lives prior to entering the Glade. It was a quick read; I got through all three books in less than two weeks and would have liked to see it take just a little longer. All three of the Maze Runner books earned 4 out of 5 stars, and I definitely can't wait to get started on The Kill Order though :)

- Justin

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