Sorry this review is so late, Sparklers. I thought I'd have plenty of time to read over break, but that was before I found out that my mom had promoted me to the position of "Christmas Shopping Partner." Being inside a Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve is a fate I would wish only on Delores Umbridge. Long story short, I didn't finish Maze Runner (got through all but the last few chapters) because it became overdue and I already had fees to pay off. I've read it before though, and it's not like the writing style, characters, and ending have changed since last time. Still, you may want to take this review with a few grains of salt (as you should all reviews, because they're just someone's opinion).
Synopsis: Thomas doesn’t remember his life before the Box, and he doesn’t remember friends or family or school; all that remains of his past life is his first name, and all that remains of his future is the Glade. The Glade is a vast area populated solely by teenage boys; every week the Box brings the gladers supplies, every month a new boy comes to the Glade, and every night the huge doors leading to the Maze close, protecting the gladers from the monsters that live within it. Thomas doesn’t know why any of them were brought to the Glade, but he knows, somehow, that he’s meant to be a Runner, one of the boys who explore the Maze in the hope of finding a way out. And he might just be the Runner who finally succeeds.
Is this a “must-read”?: I’m going with yes.
Why?: The plot is good, the writing more than good, and character development is actually a thing that happens, so Dashner has those things working in his favor. The situation is more than a little fantastical and very, very unlikely, but who knows what could happen in the future? We get the vague idea that the world has gone to pot, but it doesn’t get anywhere near explaining why teenage boys have been locked in a maze to fight off monsters and solve an unsolvable puzzle if they want to survive. Dashner also clearly knows how teenagers think and the invented Glader slang is a joy to read and learn (not to mention being very plausible; what generation doesn’t have its own slang?).
What’s more, The Maze Runner is the rare intro book with its own full plot beyond introducing the sequel. There’s a full story arc as well as full character arcs for everyone important, the situation is explained as far as the characters themselves understand it, and the sequel is more than just the book’s natural falling action. Honestly, my biggest problem is with the protag, Thomas.
Sure he’s brave, smart, and a natural leader. But he has mood swings that make a PMS’ing 13-year-old look like Eloise at Christmastime. He can go from Jem Carstairs to Prince Zuko with little provocation, and it gets distracting. You could easily argue that this is just Tommy’s way of dealing with his terrible situation, but a big part of me wanted to toss him a bag of fun-sized Snickers and tell him to snap out of it already. The other characters, particularly his friends Minho, Newt, and Chuck, more than make up for him though, and I’ve read the rest of the series so I know that Minho and Newt only get better. Overall, not a terrible book, and the first time I read it I was convinced it was the best thing to happen to the YA world since Harry Potter, but upon a second reading I find myself going “meh” more than “OMG.” So read it if you want a novel with an interesting post-apocalyptic sci-fi premise and good execution but don’t mind an annoying protag. Otherwise, check out Ender’s Game if you want a post-apocalyptic sci-fi world that puts kids in horrible situations.
I loved the Maze Runner—I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who wants an interesting read! Do you think you guys will check it out?