Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 13973
A Literary Labyrinth
(Updated: April 01, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Maze Runner has an intriguing premise. Readers start out with a blank slate—or nearly—in the teenage character of Thomas. Thomas awakens in an elevator-like box, unable to remember anything personal about himself aside from his name. He is then thrust into a contained farm-like environment with somewhere around sixty other boys who've all been inflicted with the same amnesic condition by forces the boys refer to as the “Creators.”

The Creators are, presumably, those responsible for the bizarre social experiment going on, and the deadly maze-like conditions found outside of the “Glade” where the boys have established their own quasi-civilization. Thomas promptly proves to be an unwitting herald for “the end” of life as they boys have come to know it.

And that's about as far as I can go without dropping spoilers left and right due to the “whodunnit?”/“whytheydunnit?” plot setup. This reader actually wasn't sure what sub-genre this book was (dystopian or sci-fi?) up until the very end. (And that can't really be revealed without ruling out several possible theories readers will most likely come up with in an increasingly desperate attempt to explain the setting and circumstances.)

The story started out at a very readable, rapid clip, with well executed action scenes that carried things steadily forward. Thomas is a bit bland, but not unlikeable...and you tend to give him a break over the whole mind-wipe thing. (Maybe it did a number on his personality as well—who knows?) Not until the middle did things begin to sag. Up until then, it was relatively easy to ignore things like the pointless secrecy (Wait...why can't anybody just give a quick summary and debrief the new guy so he doesn't screw everything up out of ignorance?), or the total lack of backstory on the main and side characters.

A lone female character is introduced, which did shake up the social landscape a bit—but not as much as I would have expected. She seems important—and when you finally figure out why—it only generates more questions as to the point of...well...everything.

Also...token girl is kept unconscious and out of the action for the majority of the book.

The plot picks back up again as it races toward a finish that...well...still doesn't make a lot of sense to this reader. Now I'll admit, I picked this up with eyes wide open. I knew the story had to stretch out across at least four existing books—so that meant a likely cliffhanger. I can live with that. What makes me hesitate to pick up the next in the series is the looming impression that most of my world-building questions will either go unanswered, or be chalked up to crazy people doing crazy things.
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