The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Published by Delacorte Press
Shelved as DNF, unfortunately.
For Fans of: idk… Dystopia? Annoying MCs? It’s difficult to recommend a book you didn’t enjoy/didn’t finish.
My rating: I don’t like rating books I didn’t finish, but if I HAD to, I’d give it 2 stars out of 5.
“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.
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.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying
Warning: This review contains a couple of spoilers. If you’ve read the book or really really want to know what’s up, just highlight the random blank bits to read.
So, I went into this with high expectations. I mean, come on, it’s gotten a ton of great reviews, been nominated for a load of awards, it’s being adapted into a movie with Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario and Will Poulter starring (OMG LUFF THEM)… How could I NOT go into this with high expectations? How?
Turned out that that was a mistake on my part, because boy, did I dislike this book. Don’t get me wrong, I think the concept is cool – these boys being chucked into a maze as part of a science experiment or something (at least, that’s what I think it was. I got through half the entire book and received absolutely no information whatsoever about what kind of situation these people were dealing with. But I’m pretty certain I’m right here.) I would have definitely liked to see where the story was going, but alas, there was only so much I could take.
The story is told from Thomas’s POV and starts when Thomas is sent up into this new world (it’s called the Glade, iirc) in this contraption that the locals, the Gladers, call The Box. Basically Thomas has been stripped of his memories and, while he can remember his name, he remembers nothing else about his life before waking up in The Box. He doesn’t even know how old he is, or what he even looks like. Spoiler: Chuck later tells him that he’s ugly, but you know, he’s being played Dylan O’Brien, I wouldn’t put too much stock into what Chuck says.
I had problems with Thomas. From the get-go, all this kid does is complain and mope and act like he’s better than everyone else. He was very wishy-washy, too, one minute saying he’s glad to have a friend like Chuck, and the next calling him annoying and difficult to talk to. He was always either too forward and demanding, or not forward and demanding enough. He asked questions, was frustrated when he didn’t get answers (more on that in a bit) and then didn’t pay enough attention when he was being given information about the Glade and the Maze. Spoiler: He spent more time concentrating on how unfair things were, the comatose girl and his “urge to become a runner” instead of learning to co-exist with the other boys. And, I guess on some level I could understand his frustration with Newt and Alby and even Chuck, because literally no one was giving him any answers. But his self-absorbed nature and his disinterest in meeting these other guys halfway really made it difficult for me to like Thomas on any level. He never asked the right questions, got mad when he was told to be patient, ignored the information he was given, sat around and moped in the cemetery. GOD. He was beyond frustrating.
Another thing that really bugged me was the dialogue. The boys constantly used terms like “klunk” – which was just another word for shit/crap, just in case you were wondering – and shuck (That even rhymes with what’s it’s supposed to mean) and, I don’t know, it all felt really forced to me. There were also golden nuggets of dialogue like this:
“You are the shuckiest shuck faced shuck in the world!”
WHO THE SHUCK EVEN TALKS LIKE THAT? (See what I did there?)
I gave up on the book about halfway through, about a 170 pages in, give or take a couple and genuinely have zero answers to all 262737930 of my questions. Intentional withholding of information between characters as a plot device bugs me sometimes. In the case of the Maze Runner, it bugged me A LOT. Because it’s not only frustrating for the main character(s), but it’s also frustrating for the readers, but we can deal if we’re given some answers and information as the story progresses. But when you’re on the 170th page of a 370-something paged book and have no information whatsoever, there’s a problem. Curiosity is great fuel, but when you’ve got a narrator who annoys the life out of you with his whining and his boring narrative voice, side characters that you don’t really give a frick frack about, and no expectations for the future of the story line, curiosity can only carry you for so long.
I was fully prepared to read this book until the very end, until I got to the scene where (spoiler:) Thomas got locked out in the maze with Minho and Alby. See, when the protagonist has landed himself in his first life-or-death situation, you expect to feel something. Worry, concern, fear for his life… something. The only thing I felt while reading that scene was profoundly bored. I actually skimmed through a lot of that. And that’s when I realized I wouldn’t be able to continue for much longer.
Gave up a few pages or so after that. I don’t even remember for sure.
I might give this book another go sometime in the future, when I’m feeling a little more tolerant, but for now I need to put it away and cry for the ten days I wasted trying to push through this instead of reading all those ARCs I have waiting for me. I was so upset that in a fit of frustration, I made my, albeit shorter, review on Goodreads a tad mean.
If you read/have read this book and want to share your thoughts on it, please, leave me a comment. I’d love to know what you guys thought. Just please don’t throw things at me for disliking this. I tried, I really did.