Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Maze Runner (Series) by James Dashner

Series: The Maze Runner
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House)
Age Group:  Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 1390 pages
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon
Add to: GoodreadsBooklikes

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.

Honestly, had I read The Maze Runner series before I had watched the first two movies, I never would have finished. For all the praise and good reviews this series has received, in my opinion, frankly, it sucked. Really, this is new for me. I pretty much always love the book better than the movie, but in this case, I am so glad that they changed so much for the screenplay. I really hate to write a bad review, I’m sure Mr. Dashner put a lot of effort into this series, but unfortunately, for me, it just didn’t work.

Thomas is a horrible protagonist, I had a hard time rooting for him. I really couldn’t have cared less whether he survived or not. By all accounts, he is by far the least interesting and least memorable main character that I’ve come across in a very long time. Truthfully, there was only one character that I liked even a little bit, Newt. He was pretty well written and would have made for a much stronger protagonist than Thomas.

There is such a lack of character development, that as Dashner kills off “main” characters, I felt nothing– I just turned the page and kept reading. When an author chooses to kill off numerous main characters, readers had better feel something. Such as with George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Sure, readers know that Martin is likely to kill off everyone (there’s enough memes on Pinterest to prove it), but those characters are so well developed from the first time you read their name that by the time he kills them off, you’re in tears. Dashner’s characters don’t do that, they’re just… disposable.

Plot development was shallow at best. It’s as if the entire series revolves around the idea of throwing the world’s last hope of survival into one bad situation after another followed by lots of bad decisions by the characters– to the point that the series is predictable and uninteresting. I truly wish that there had been more development in the story and the characters as the concept for this series was excellent; unfortunately for me the follow-through fell short.

**This review was originally posted on my old (now defunct) blog the Fae Review on December 15, 2015.**

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