Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Maze Runner

This three a.m. post brought to you by my guilt for not updating more often. And so, let us discuss... The Maze Runner. By James Dashner (which is a really cool name), this YA novel takes place in a frickin' creepy place called the Glade. The Glade is surrounded by a maze, and aside from the several dozen teenage boys who inhabit the Glade, there's no one. One day a fellow name Thomas arrives in the Glade. Like all of the other boys, he can't remember anything but his name. Freaked out by this, Thomas is determined to find an answer to the mysteries of the Glade and the maze that surrounds it. As he becomes accepted by the other Gladers, Thomas begins to put together the pieces of the puzzle. Things only get more complicated when a lone girl arrives at the Glade, and Thomas is sure that he's seen her before. Now, with his new friends and allies, he must solve the maze - if that's even possible.

Okay, now that you've got an idea as to what this story's about, may I just say that where this book scores its biggest hit is in the creepy ambiance that you always feel when you're reading it. The Glade's not natural, the maze is more horrifying the less you know of it and the secrets behind it, and even the end of the book, with its sucker punch lead-in to the next book, just amps up the quiet horror of everything. As for characters, while I can't say that The Maze Runner has the most brilliant characterization or fascinating characters that I've ever seen, the cast of this book is definitely above average. Thomas is a bit... not bland, just... he definitely feels like he's supposed to be the hero, that is, you can tell the author constructed him to fit that role as you read. Not a bad character by any shot, though. Chuck was another character who was obviously supposed to fill a role as a sort of morality pet (or a similar trope; it's late, and I dare not make a full-fledged foray into TV Tropes to get exactly the right trope) or whatever to remind Thomas of what he's fighting for. Alby, Newt, Minho, and Teresa were all quite satisfactory to my mind. Teresa didn't fall into the trap of being all Girl Power and acting stupid and coy just because she's the token girl or whatever. Basically I just thought she was a pretty convincing female character. The Keepers of the Glade were all interesting to read about, and even though they didn't all get equal screen time, you still got the feeling that there were characters outside of the main characters who mattered in this little society.

Overall, The Maze Runner is a gripping read. Mystery with a bit of a horror feel and the promise of more to come in the sequel. If you're looking for a satisfying YA novel, check this out.

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