Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book Review: The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner

Three Books - 1 Review

You wouldn't just read the first one anyways. . . 

Perhaps I did go into this thinking I could read the first one and be done. My thirteen year old was excited about the moving coming out and wanted me to go with him. That involved reading the book as I always try to get the read on before the view. I had about a week and a half to get through it but I was done way before that and then immediately went on to Book 2. Why? Because Book 1 really left me hanging. There was really no resolution (not enough to leave it neat and tidy) so I really felt obligated to continue. In writing this, I have finished all three books in the original series but still have the prequel to read. From what I understand (as my son has read all of them) the prequel will give me some background history and the main characters in the Maze Runner will make a brief appearance but I don't have to necessarily read it right away.

Of course, there's no denying that this is a series designed for young adults (aka preteens and teenagers). That being said, I have found several books targeted for that age group wonderful reads. Top on that list is Harry Potter, of course, but I also enjoyed the Hunger Games series and The Fault in our Stars. What is a little peculiar to me is that recently the books that the kids are reading and are popular are in the dystopia genre. The world is always a horrible place and I find it depressing, even if the kids in the books (our protagonists) do end up triumphing and creating a brave new world. I am not so old that I don't remember books from my time at the same age and the world wasn't completely screwed up in terms of environment. Books like The Outsiders examined society and classes but the kids could still breathe the air without dying or worry that the government was going to kill them.

The story starts with The Maze Runner, Book #1. Thomas wakes up in a metal box that propels him into the Glade, a world filled with other teenage boys who have created order and built a society. Every 30 days the box comes up with supplies and a new boy to join the group. Thomas can't recall where he came from or anything beyond his name (typical of all of the boys) but quickly becomes part of this new world. The boys live in the Glade, surrounded by a maze and are determined to find their way out and escape and have struggled with figuring out the code for over two years. While the Glade is relatively safe, the world outside in the maze is not. There are many jobs within their society but Thomas wants to be a runner (one of the boys who maps the maze in an attempt to find a way out) although he can't figure out exactly why it's so important to him. Soon the relatively ideal world of the Glade is disrupted, almost immediately after Thomas' arrival, by a series of events that make the need to find a way to escape all the more urgent.

Escape from the Maze won't necessarily mean the end as there are many motives in play here. What if the world isn't what they think it is? Why were they sent to the Maze in the first place?

I don't want to give anything away but the book continues with two more books filled with challenges as the group discovers what is outside the protected environment of the Glade and beyond the Maze. The world may not be how they recall it and there may have been reasons that they have gone through what they have. 

This series was interesting and if you have a child between the ages of 12 and 16 this may be a good book to read so you can interact with them. I would recommend this one. It kept my attention.

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