Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner


Last fall I had the exhilaration of discovering the Hunger Games series.  As I awaited Book 3 of that trilogy, I was pleased to stumble upon The Maze Runner by James Dashner.  Hailed as another exciting, Hunger Games-like dystopian novel, Dashner's work seemed like it would be the perfect intermission entertainment for me.  I was thrilled when I won a copy from Alessandra at Out of the Blue Book Reviews.  Thanks, Alessandra!

Not only did The Maze Runner prove to be an worthy diversion from Suzanne Collins' series, it now holds it's own independent position in my mind.  If I never read Collins again, I'm still on board with Dashner's trilogy. His creation is much like the title-- constantly running, and in a maze-like plot.

It came as no surprise to me when James confirmed my suspicions that he's a fan of the television show Lost. This program is known for it's enigmatic characters and multi-layered plot, much like Dashner's work here.  As The Maze Runner begins, everything is a mystery and confusion abounds.  In fact, I had to power through a number of pages, trying to get past my disorientation and lack of comprehension. I was in the same position as the main character Thomas, clueless and wanting to learn about the world I was inhabiting.

Before long answers began to come forth and I was committed to the story.  However, much like Lost, even as answers were given, more perplexing mysteries emerged.  This made the story quite compelling and yet frustrating at the same time. That being said, it was exhilarating to feel that frustration at the end of many of the Cliff-hanging chapters.  Many times I found myself exclaiming in consternation,"I thought I was going to bed!  Now I've got to read another chapter!  Gaaaah!!"

I offer few plot details in this review.  I specifically avoided spoiler information as I pursued my copy of the book, and I'm glad I went into the first reading with little knowledge of the story.  If you're able to do this as well, I'd recommend it.  I'm going to try to do the same for Books 2 & 3.  As I understand it, Book 2 is going to be titled The Scorch Trials and will be released on October 6, 2010.  Book 3 is currently being written.

Beware:  The Maze Runner is an incredibly fun read, but like the season finales of Lost, it concludes with a huge Cliffhanger, leaving many mysterious issues unresolved.  If you can stand the pain of that possibility, I'd encourage you to read the book anytime.  Otherwise, you may want to wait for Scorch Trials before starting Maze Runner.  Of course, I'd be willing to bet that Trials will have it's own tantalizing ending as well, so I'll be in for another test in patient expectation after Book 2 myself.

Bottom line:  A great read.  Have patience with the questions. Be ready for the unexpected.  But don't miss The Maze Runner!


Parental Note:
As this book is technically in the YA category, I keep my boys in mind as I read.  My eldest is only 9 at this time, but he's inches away from reading YA.  Would this be the kind of thing I'd let him read in a few years?  Overall, the content is YA-appropriate..  There's really no sexual content, and while the characters use colorful language, the curse words are ones that Dashner has fabricated. This technique was also used in Battlestar Galactica with the use of the word "frak", only in this world it's "shuck" and other similar terms.  There's also a decent amount of battling going on between various characters, sometimes culminating in much bloodletting. So with these thoughts in mind, I'd recommend this series for teens and above, giving it a soft PG-13 rating.

Again, overall this was a fabulous story.  The climactic ending of The Maze Runner still hangs in my mind, and I'm eager to find out where Dashner is going to take us next.  I'm not sure what to believe, who may be the force for good (W.I.C.K.E.D.??) and what direction this plot is going.  I loved getting lost in the Maze and look forward to another installment this fall.  Thanks James, for bringing us into this labyrinthian world!


For more information on James Dashner, visit his highly entertaining blog: http://jamesdashner.blogspot.com/

In this short two minute video, James discusses The Maze Runner:




Here's the URL for the Maze Runner:  http://www.randomhouse.com/teens/mazerunner/ 

54 comments:

  1. I started this book but didn't have enough time to finish before it was due back at the library. & now I'm on a long waiting list. It'd be nice to win! [:
    shanisejones@rocketmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Shanise:

    I know what you mean! That happens to me all the time with library books. Why won't they just let me keep them until I'm ready to give them back?!

    Good luck with the contest-- thanks for entering!

    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd love to win this book! I'm a blog follower.

    stephaniet117@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yep, this is in my TBR pile.

    Laura@LauraManivong.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'll enter! :) Good review btw. It actually seems more interesting than Lost.

    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

    I follow both the blog and the tweets
    Twittered: http://twitter.com/BooksThings/statuses/7528584930

    ReplyDelete
  6. i followed, I tweeted, I commented :) sjohannes@bilaninc.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just for the record, so I can give Shelli credit, here's the tweet that she re-tweeted:

    http://twitter.com/lhartness/status/7524595464

    ReplyDelete
  8. Veni, vidi, vici!
    or following, commenting, re-tweeted. ;)
    http://twitter.com/lulilut
    d.septer@insightbb.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love Hunger Games so there is a huge chance that I am going to like this book.

    Confession, I haven't seen any Lost episodes but I do know the premise.

    Please enter me
    Pat

    (I tweeted it too)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tweet: http://twitter.com/kittydanza/status/7545111535
    Twitter: @kittydanza
    Follower: kittydanza

    katlynpicard(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  11. This sounds like a wonderful read! I want to have a chance to read this one!

    journey through books @ gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sheila: I'm shocked you haven't read this one! I mean, if you'd told me you had an original, pre-ARC manuscript of this thing, I would have believed you! Well, good luck-- it's a fun book!

    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  13. This sounds like a great read...thanks for the giveaway!

    I am a follower of your blog.

    I follow you on Twitter: @truebookaddict

    I tweeted: https://twitter.com/truebookaddict/status/7550864198

    miller4plusmore(at)bellsouth(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  14. My fingers are crossed!

    I follow this blog and on Twitter @5peasinapod

    ReplyDelete
  15. opps! I don't think I included my email:

    5peasinapod (at) sbcglobal.net

    Happy Reading!
    Heather
    http://www.2manygoodbooks.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've been planning to read this book.

    As I find reviews that I want to go back to in my internet wanderings, I’m adding them to my list at Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. If you’re not familiar with it, check it out—especially if you need titles to add to your reading list. And feel free to add links each Saturday to your book reviews for the week.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sherry:

    Thanks for the tip! I'm going to go check that out!

    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've been thinking about reading this--I keep hearing it's really good.

    I follow your blog

    I follow you on twitter (@afewmorepages)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Katy:

    Yes, it's very good. A little frustrating at the beginning because both you and the MC are totally clueless about the Maze. But forge past it-- it's worth it!

    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  20. This sounds like a great read - complicated but enthralling. I love these kinds of books. This is the first time I've heard about it or the series.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

    ReplyDelete
  21. Helen:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Regardless of whether you win my contest, I hope you get to read The Maze Runner. It's very interesting and yes, enthralling!

    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  22. Please enter me:) This looks like s good read. Thanks so much!!

    esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am also a blog follower as Charity:)

    ReplyDelete
  24. This books sounds right up my alley. I have it on my list to get. I'm sorry I am late to getting here, as I wanted to get here on Friday night - got caught up with stuff around home and the family. But I am here now. I have been waiting for this contest. lol. Thanks for the chance to win this!

    The review is great! Really leaves a suspence to want to read it sooner.

    I am following with google follow
    I am following you on twitter as well.

    Thanks again!

    hayden392@comcast.net

    ReplyDelete
  25. Melissa:

    Yea! I'm so glad you're here-- if you hadn't come in a few days I would have bugged you anyway. I know you were looking forward to this. Hope you win! Tweet lots!

    Have a great weekend, and I hope you have a smooth day with family. I know what that desire is like.

    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  26. No need to enter me into the contest!

    Just wanted to say I loved your review and I cannot wait to read this! Definitely looking forward to getting lost in The Maze Runner series. :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Please enter me. I've been wanting to get my hands on this book!

    +1 following blog
    +1 following you on twitter (@thebookvixen)
    +1 tweeted

    thebookvixen at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  28. Book Vixen:

    Yay! I'm so psyched to have you as a follower! Honored!

    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  29. I just finished Maze Runner this morning and really liked it--although the suspense until October will be difficult. I'd love to have my own copy (to reread before Scorch Trials!).

    I'm a new follower.

    tiasbook AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Leave A Comment Below; This Counts As Your Entry.

    This Review Makes The Maze Runner Sound Like A Must Read Book. I Have A Love/Hate Relationship With Cliffhangers. I Love Them Because It Leaves You With An Oh My Goodness Feeling But I Hate Them When It Comes To Multiple Books ONLY Because Most Times You Have To Wait For The Next Book And Waiting Can Be A Killer....LOL. But They Always Make The Best Books So I Love To Read Them.

    skyla11377(At)AOL(Dot)Com

    * Follow The Blog By Clicking On The Google "Follow" Button On My Sidebar(Old Or New Followers Both Get The Bonus Entry, Just Let Me Know You're Following).

    I Am A New Follower To Your Blog.
    http://skyla11377.blogspot.com/

    * Follow Me (@LHartness) On Twitter (Please Tell Me Your @UserName).

    I Follow You On Twitter (@skyla11377).
    http://twitter.com/skyla11377


    * Tweet About This Giveaway On Twitter; Be Sure To Use @LHartness And An URL To This Contest In Your Tweet. You May Do This As Much As Every 8 Hours A Day Between Now And January 30th. For Each Tweet, Please Come Back And Post The URL Link To That Specific Tweet, Not Just Your @Username.

    I Tweeted About This Giveaway.
    http://twitter.com/skyla11377/status/7609048373
    http://twitter.com/skyla11377/status/7609813946

    skyla11377(At)AOL(Dot)Com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Tia:

    I know what you mean-- waiting for Books 2 and 3 is going to be hard. I'm going to have to re-read the last couple of chapters before I dive into Book 2 this fall as well.

    Skyla:

    Thanks for entering and following, etc.!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'd love to enter this contest! I've heard great things about this book. Thanks for hosting the contest!

    +1 follower
    inthehammockblog (at) gmail (dot) com

    Thanks so much for following my blog!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I Tweeted Again.
    http://twitter.com/skyla11377/status/7636179545

    ReplyDelete
  34. thanks for the opportunity to read this book :)

    karenk
    kmkuka(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  35. I follow your blog, I follow you on twitter @fireIcePhotos and I tweeted it

    ReplyDelete
  36. I would absolutely love to be entered! I have been simply dying to get my hands on this one!

    I'm a follower both on your blog and on twitter @thebookcellarx

    :) Erica
    thebookcellar(at)wi.rr.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. This looks very interesting. Please enter me.
    ludeluh(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  38. I am a new follower.
    ludeluh(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  39. I have a wonderful almost 13 year old boy who would love this.
    wmmahaney(at)att(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  40. I cant believe I dont have this book LOL! Great review!

    I follow your blog and I follow you on twitter (bookjourney)

    AND I am about to go tweet this contest!

    journe through books @ gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thanks for the giveaway.

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  42. justpeachy36@yahoo.com

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    I a follower.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I would love to be entered! fireandice.heather@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  44. I'd love to enter! Thanks!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  45. I'm a follower.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  46. Follow on Twitter @aikchien

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  47. Please enter me. vvperesk@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  48. I follow. vvperesk@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  49. Please enter me--I'm a bookworm. Thanks!
    Marci
    june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  50. Please enter me. Thank you.


    mystica123athotmaildotcom

    ReplyDelete
  51. Please enter me! I'd love to win. Thanks.
    newt at imsa dot edu . I also now follow you on Google.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I've heard of this book before, but I just now put myself on the hold list at the library. Thanks for not spilling all the plot details...I find that in books like this, the less you know beforehand, the better!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Ronnica:

    I agree-- I deliberately avoided as much spoiler material as I could before reading it. I must say, I was disoriented for a little while at first, but it's really worth a read. Can't wait for the sequel coming out this fall!

    ReplyDelete

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