#CBR6 Review #76: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

So. I’ve heard all kinds of things about The Maze Runner, but until I realized there was a movie coming out, I didn’t feel an urge to read it necessarily. And then I saw the trailer, which left me a bit intrigued. And then I read the book very quickly.

I have no idea how or where to start, because I have a lot of complex feelings about the book. I guess a synopsis should come first, eh? Thomas wakes up in an elevator-like lift to be in the center of a maze, surrounded by boys, many of whom have been there for a few years. He has no idea how he got there, or why he is there, but something about the world seems vaguely familiar. He tries to navigate the world where terrifying Grievers roam the corridors of the Maze, and he tries to understand how to solve the puzzle, but in a short time a girl–the only girl–arrives with a cryptic message: she is the last one. The end is near.

As a story, I actually really enjoyed The Maze Runner. It’s an intriguing mystery–albeit unevenly paced and sometimes a bit maddening in exposition. I really wanted to know what happened and I was invested enough in the world to suspend my disbelief.

From a teacher’s perspective, though, I’m not sure how to go about recommending it. It’s actually quite violent for a young adult novel–especially in the way adolescent deaths and human experimentation are treated. It’s not a dishonest view of the needlessness of war, but there were some deaths that quite shocked me, especially when you think of them not as soldier deaths but those of teen boys. I think that’s what bothered me most. These are kids, after all. So I think there was an element of Lord of the Flies that kind of got under my skin.

I’m definitely interested enough to borrow the second novel from the library. We’ll see how I feel after round two.


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