Title: The Mazerunner
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Sci-fi/Young Adult
“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.”
Oh dear. I know this series has a huge fanbase who may get rather upset by my rating but this book was really not for me. Pitched as being for Hunger Games fans, I came to The Mazerunner (albeit a bit late in the day – the movie was already out) hoping for an action-packed, dystopian adventure. Which I suppose technically it is, it’s just there was so little about it that I found engaging.
The only thing that kept me reading, and I mean the only thing, was wanting to find out why the characters (I use the term loosely) were trapped in the Glade. However I remained entirely emotionless throughout and was not engaged with the characters on any level. I did not care about a single one of them. I know books like this one are largely plot-driven so a certain lack of character development can be forgiven but these characters were all so completely one dimensional, particularly Teresa; the only female character and an underused and flimsy one at that. The plot itself seemed like an exercise in unnecessary withholding. I kept waiting and waiting for my patience to pay off but answers never came or were distinctly disappointing or inexplicable when they did. The plot is largely advanced by the convenience of characters remembering things at the right time and the suspension of belief on the readers part that any of the characters behaviour makes any sense.
The style of writing was pretty non-descript and, to be honest, quite dull. I found more often than Dashner told me how the characters felt as opposed to taking me on that emotional journey with them. The addition of silly made up slang and monsters which I couldn’t picture well enough to find scary made the whole thing seem childish. Much like The Hunger Games, there was plenty of scope to explore the societal dynamics formed by these abandoned boys and consider the ethics of their predicament. Unlike the The Hunger Games, The Mazerunner completely fails to deliver anything beyond its mediocre veneer.
The Mazerunner is a weak sci-fi version of Lord of the Flies without any of the allegorical depth and I’m afraid I’ve come to expect far more complexity and sophistication from YA fiction.