Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review: "The Maze Runner"

"The Maze Runner", by James Dashner, is one of my son's favorites and he's been telling me to read it for a year, so I pushed it up the list and read it this week. In familiar modern dystopic fashion, it's the story of a group of teenagers oppressed by evil adults and an even more evil government. In this case, they are trapped within a maze that is unsolvable and populated by horrible deadly creatures made of blubber and various weaponry. They have to figure out how to survive, how to escape, and how to solve whatever they're supposed to solve.

Dashner's writing style is simplistic (which is good, I guess, since this is a book for youth) to the point of annoying, and though the story moves rather slowly at first, as the reader approaches the climactic final scenes, it becomes much more compelling. The action scenes are well written and exciting, and most of the characters are likeable, though Chuck's storyline is painfully predictable, as well as Alby's. The main character, Thomas, is moderately likeable, if you can get past his almost violent mood swings and grating repetitive exposition.

Would I read it again? Nah. Will I read the sequel? Probably not. I just wasn't left really caring what happened next.

I'm beginning to wonder if maybe dystopian fiction just isn't my thing. I liked, but didn't love "The Hunger Games". Though I really enjoyed Dan Wells' "Partials", it wasn't my favorite of his books. In fact, it hasn't been since "The Shadow Children" series by Margaret Peterson Haddix that I really found myself enjoying a dystopian series. There's a familiar haze over all of them, the adults and rulers doing wicked things to tweens and teens theme, the post-apocalyptic feeling of an unrecognizable Earth, and the unavoidable survival challenges. As my son just said, "Does it always have to be the end of the world?"

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