Joe's Reviews > The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
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's review
Mar 13, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: borrowed-library, dystopia, young-adult

You know how sometimes you're running really fast from a horrible creature and, in a moment of panic, you turn around to see how close it is only to run straight into a brick wall?


I don't know what that's like either.

But that inattention to detail would probably totally screw you over because a.) now you're knocked unconscious and b.) the creature is going to devour you. Good job.

I guess this is kind of like Lot's wife looking back on Sodom only to be turned into a pillar of salt.

And it is also kind of like reading The Maze Runner.

Stick with me.

The first half of James Dashner's The Maze Runner maintains a superbly frantic pace. Thomas, our empty-shell-of-a-protagonist is thrust, via the Box, into a curious and unfriendly world populated by dozens of teenage boys. He remembers nothing, and the boys are uncooperative, refusing to reveal any details regarding their home, the Glade. The Glade is surrounded by stupendously tall walls, outside of which lays the Maze. During the day, the Maze is (kinda sorta) safe. But at night, the Grievers emerge. These are half slug/half woodshop tools that enjoy slicing and dicing apart anyone unfortunate to encounter them. They can also sting you, which causes much mayhem and requires the administering of Grief Serum, which triggers the Changing.

What Is It With Authors Of Dystopian Novels Capitalizing Really Important Words? It's Annoying. Find A New Stylistic Approach That I Can Later Become Exasperated With.

Anyway, Thomas' situation is bleak, made bleaker when a number of unfortunate coincidences causes him to bear witness to some truly awful acts of violence. Let's just say one untrustworthy soul is unwittingly tossed into the Maze at night and then a girl (not a boy!!!!!!!!) suspiciously arrives the day after Thomas.

All of this, despite the Unnecessary Capitalization and the boys using completely pointless terminology like klunk and shuckface, is totally kitty fantastico. The constant psychological mystery keeps nagging doubts at bay and the variety of personalities that populate the Glade is totally believable. They talk like teenagers, they (generally) act like teenagers, and they form cliques and factions the way teenagers would.

(From here on I'm covering up "spoilers", even though I think they're total nonsense and hilariously awful. And because I advise you not to read this book, you should click them. Just keeping the haters at bay.)

Then Thomas (view spoiler) the Maze.

And the book falls apart.

For those of you paying attention, here's where the running into a brick wall metaphor arrives full gale.

Dashner, whose prose has heretofore been mediocre but serviceable, completely fails his audience. He writes himself into a corner. He knows it, we know it. Thomas, who has always been slightly unlikeable and jerky becomes even more unlikeable and jerky, and the plot holes start opening up like the really bad similes peppered throughout the narrative. How does Dashner patch them up? (view spoiler) Seriously. (view spoiler)

Yup. The girl who mysteriously appeared (view spoiler) and tells him (view spoiler). It doesn't. It just creates a frustrating deus ex machina that could have been avoided, but isn't.

As Thomas's character stumbles upon more and more unbelievable clues, like (view spoiler) the book loses its momentum significantly.

In fact, despite tearing through the first half of the book, I had to put it down. Afterwards, every time I looked at that stupid green cover, I found myself filled with dread - knowing full well that what remained would irritate me.

And it did.

Sometimes when the first book of a trilogy ends on a cliffhanger, I feel compelled to continue. I don't care what happens to Thomas and the rest of the characters. Maybe they'll smoke lots of pot, form a commune, and grow daisies. Maybe they'll turn into Grievers. Maybe they'll run into Katniss and Peeta and become BFFs.

But I will let you, gentle reader, find that out for yourself.
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Reading Progress

March 13, 2012 – Started Reading
March 13, 2012 – Shelved
March 20, 2012 – Shelved as: young-adult
March 20, 2012 – Shelved as: dystopia
March 20, 2012 – Shelved as: borrowed-library
March 20, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-50 of 62) (62 new)

Ally I'm all over your GR profile today. I just read about this book so let me know your thoughts!

message 2: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura I tried reading this and was never hooked, so back to the library it went. I tried to convince myself that I was just biased against the author, who I heard speak at a conference, and his bluster and arrogant persona rubbed me the wrong way. I don't think I'm going to give it another try, this sounds like it would annoy me on many levels.

Ali Love the review! I think this book is good for mildly intelligent 10 year old boys who don't care about common sense or character development.

message 4: by Katy (new)

Katy *snicker snicker* That sounds revoltingly awful, and teenagers bothered me when I are one, so I think I'll be skipping this ... :-)

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

wow. nice review. but is it really that bad?

message 6: by Sarah (new)

Sarah You are so right about random capitalization in YA books!

message 7: by Chickens (new)

Chickens McShiterson I'm not so sure I want to read this anymore...

message 8: by Josie (new)

Josie THANK YOU! I couldn't continue this book. Had me bored to tears.

Deanna Agreed. I don't care what happens to the glanders next...

Karen This review hits the mark, and was much more entertaining than the book itself. Just wanted to add to your Capitalization comment, and note the extensive overuse in YA books of italics. And no, I didn't like Thomas from the beginning, and don't HALF care what happens to him either.

message 11: by Tim (new)

Tim Martin Wow great review, your use of "that sucked because SPOILER" sort of writing, extremely witty and well done.

I never really noticed the Capitalization thing that much in end of the world fiction but now that you think about it, I can think of a few examples (the Governor for instace, or maybe Walkers). You can just about the capitalization in The Village, and of course, the name, The Village capital V.

I can see you hate deus ex machina as much as me too. Great review!

Shannon great review. i couldn't agree more!!

Catherine Harsh. But I agree.

Rachel I read the brick wall metaphor and started laughing so hard I couldn't read the rest of the review for a minute. Then I clicked on all the spoilers to find out what the metaphor was for, because I stopped reading at chapter 16 and had no idea what happened after that.

Princess De Leon I'm not finished with reading this book but I agree with you for the most part so far. There's probably better dystopian books out there.

Emily Fear Joe, just passing along major compliments via Kristen Batao. She and at least a portion of the Pittsburgh-based Forever Young Adult Book Club (myself included) are among the Maze-haters.

Kaylee Lesmeister ... I liked it :( I agree it has it's flaws but I thought it was a pretty good book :)

Danielle Aguirre You summed up my thoughts pretty well. Although I'm still compelled to read the next book... Damn my curiosity.

message 19: by Kerry (new) - rated it 1 star

Kerry Gibbons This review sums up my feelings of the second half of this book fairly well, though fails to mention the stupidity of creating extra mystery where it's unnecessary in the first half of the book. The first half, I thought, moved fairly slowly, but maybe the reason I enjoyed it more than the second half was because there was still the possibility for it to improve. It didn't.

You know what I LOVED? That WICKED was always spelled WICKED, even when they didn't know what it meant... So CLEARLY it must be an acronym... Oh wait look I'm going to spell out for you here right here right there right here what that stands for... It's seriously the ONLY THING THAT'S WRITTEN DOWN INSIDE THE MAZE. So... We can assume it's important. But let's ignore it.

It's that sort of attention to detail that made me want to throw up on this book. But I read it on my phone and my phone didn't do anything wrong.

Rebekah Gyger The telepathy killed it for me. It made no sense.

Joann H (Sshh!!! I'm reading) i totally understand how u feel. I wanted to like this book but it just seemed like everything took too long and it became nonsensical and I didn't even care when characters died. I am curious of what happens in the second book. But this is one cat curiosity will not get the better of.

message 22: by Pat (new)

Pat C. Joe - that is the most fabulous, groovy, cool, awesome and wicked use of spoilers I have EVER and I mean NEVER, seen in my life. Serially, that was a fun review.

Conner This is an excellent review. We had very similar feelings about this book.

message 24: by Kat (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kat this review, with its [spoilers removed], is a perfect fit to the book - hard to make sense of and annoyingly frustrating. brilliant!

message 25: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Nate Haha, this review made me laugh. Will avoid.

message 26: by Sam (new) - added it

Sam Haha, noted. Will avoid.

message 27: by Grace (new)

Grace I loved the book and I loved newt, Minho and gally and the other characters were alright but then... Telepathy. Have to admit, telepathy kinda ruins it. And the thing is, JD didn't even explain the telepathy properly. I mean, I could understand telepathy in the gone series or whatever but it was like twilight... We all know vampires don't sparkle and read minds it's just stupid. Nevertheless I liked the book although I didn't particularly like Teresa

message 28: by Amy (new)

Amy I enjoyed your snarky comments

Bryanna Parent The book is completely bizarre! I mean they're are this secrets you don't learn about in till around the blast few chapters! No thanks not my kind of book. Some books have that Clifford hanger affect but this one just doesn't have it so I as a reader am not compelled to finish the trilogy! Thank you for thinking of my opinion.

Abbie G. I can't NOT finish a boom once I start it. I can't. After starting this though, I desperately wish I could. I'm literally speed reading through this boom just to be done with it. There are so many flaws. I can't even get into it because there is soooo much missing. Less than 100 pages left. I can't wait to be done. Fantastic review. Hit the nail right on the head.

Abbie G. *Book! Ugh. Auto correct.

Sammye The book is really good!!

message 33: by Aj (new) - rated it 3 stars

Aj Neltner This is the best review I think I have ever read. Spot on good chap.

Sammye Still really good I'm on pg.220

message 35: by Gage (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gage Parker While I agree the plot in this book has holes in it, its still a good book in my opinion. By the way the telepathy issue is resolved in the second book and third book.Let's just say the telepathy isn't what you think it is.

Kevin Morris That is the longest review ever and all for what to say u hate it?

Danielle Reitan I really enjoyed this book. Sure the telepathy was very confusing, but im sure its explained later. overall i did see some holes in the plot, but was a great book, i read it in less than a day and was excited to see that there was a squeal.

Audrey02 I love this review!

Laura Half slug half woodshop tool? Hilarious review! Thanks for sharing! I've just laboured through this piece of klunk book for the past week and a bit and needed a good laugh.

Janco Great review! Although I think you gave it double the amount of hearts it deserves

message 41: by Ally (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ally Stupid green cover I love you.

message 42: by Alexei (new)

Alexei Boridin Although this book was in fact very well written in the first half, once Thomas goes all Rambo and jumps into the maze at night, the story kind of just fell down a few tiers. Unlike Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, Dashner does not have a precedented way of getting himself out of the corner, such as Tolkien using the Eagles in LotR. This way, Dashner had to completely change his plot line to accommodate this issue, and it simply shattered the story.

message 43: by Rivka (new) - rated it 1 star

Rivka The capitalization is not random. Words are capitalized when their meaning in this context is different from its normal meaning.

message 44: by Nur (new) - rated it 1 star

Nur Abidin I fucking hate this book.... The style of writing and the characters... AND RIDICULOUS twists... Or wana be twists... I wish I read your review earlier.

message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

I've just watched the film, never read the book, and came here to try to understand the story behind it. It looked like the film, though interesting, had so many plot holes that made it impossible to truly enjoy it, since there were so many questions left unanswered and confusive explanations thourought. Now I start to realize that the problem might be in the book, but I still had to read to be fair. Anyway, that was a quite amusing review! :)

Chris Lulz. Yep, that's pretty much it - a promising read that explodes to sludge pieces at the last minute.

Courtnay Cheung I'm reading this now, I'm on chapter 6 and I can't seem to be able to picture and imagine what's being described to me. It's not hooking me in like The Hunger Games or Divergent trilogy did. (it's actually making me question whether I am still able to read, in the sense of entertainment) I can't seem to lock on with it so far. I'm gonna power through though. See if I get anywhere, but so far, it's getting on my nerves.

whichwaydidshego? I haven't read this, but your review is hilarious! Thanks for the laugh!

message 49: by Miranda Lenihan (new)

Miranda Lenihan I get why it happens, the person(s) get so caught up in the thing they are running from they turn around.

message 50: by Miranda Lenihan (new)

Miranda Lenihan I like the Katniss and Peeta thing. Lol. I'm a total hunger games freak. XD

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