Book Review - Maze Runner by James Dashner

11 Sep 2014


“Just follow me and run like your life depends on it. Because it does.” 

**Review written POST-watching the movie**

So, the good and bad news:

Bad: The movie significantly deviated from the book. A lot of key events were different, the chronology of events changed & almost everything was just a big WTF IS GOING ON ANYMORE.

Good: The deviation wasn't entirely a bad thing because it actually addressed a lot of problems I had with the book. Should you read the book before watching the movie? My answer would be NO.

Put it this way: The only similarity between the book and the movie is the beginning and the ending. Everything else in between was a major clusterfuck.

So on to my book review now...

 A FAIR WARNING: Jasmine takes her YA dystopian reads very seriously (easily her top fav YA genre) which means you might be seeing a superbly bitchy picky side of Jasmine in this review.


The Maze Runner abruptly starts with Thomas being thrusted, via The Box (aka the lift), into a strange new world inhabited by other teenage boys like him. He remembers nothing of his life before this or how he even got there. It gets worse when all the other boys are uncooperative and refuses to reveal much about their current home, which we then learnt is called The Glade.

And surrounding the Glade, is The Maze which technically is made up of really tall stone walls and contains vicious creatures called The Grievers. A stung by one of these would cause someone to go through The Changing and can be cured through The Grief Serum.

Only a group of boys called The Runners are the ones who are allowed to enter the maze and everyday they've been trying to find a way out but failed miserably. Until Thomas came along.

Have I lost you with all the terminologies? Trust me, that's just the tip of the iceberg.


The misses:


THEY WERE EVERYWHERE. I could write a long list of them but I'd spare you all (or we can discuss it thru PM for anyone who has already read it).

2. Almost zero character development.
Everyone felt so one-dimensional and the author's writing focused more on telling me what to feel for these people than actually let me feel it. The WORST part for me is when Thomas went thru The Changing & all we got at the end of the chapter was and I quote, "Everything else turned into pain". WTF WAS THAT. I EXPECTED GLIMPSES OR STH DAMNIT. And then later he just conveniently knows everything about the maze (damn plotholes!!).

And also it didn't evoke any emotions in me when some characters died. WHYYY?! I should have felt something more! 

3. Bad pacing.
The first 30% felt like a torture to read, it was very unnecessarily draggy. Felt that the author spent too much time on details that barely adds value to the story (in terms of plot & world-building). Also, an overload of terminologies that aren't crucial to the story. Also, the withholding of information was dragged out TOO LONG. It can only be so long before either 1) people give up on this read 2) it gets all anti-climatic.


4. Teresa, the one and only Girl in the Glade.
Her character was superbly one-dimensional and I felt that she simply existed because the story needed a girl. She could've been a guy & it wouldn't make a difference. And also the telepathic thing with her and Thomas?! How?! What's that for?! Very unnecessary and damn plothole alert again!

5. What's-that-slang?
I didn't really hate the weird slang used in this book, but it came to a point that they were used in so many diff contexts that they confused me. At one point I got confused between 'shank' and 'shuck'. Also I still can't figure out what 'shuck' actually means (I think it's like a combination of 'suck' and 'shit'? Pls refer eg below) or how they derive 'greenie'. Huh.

“You are the shuckiest shuck faced shuck in the world!”

The wins:

1. The overall premise.
Sounded very promising and it definitely keeps you guessing. I had a few theories about the maze and although I was only half-correct, I'm really keen to see where this is all heading.

2. The secondary characters.
Really enjoyed reading the presence of Chuck, Newt, Alby, Minho; in fact I think I enjoyed them more than Thomas himself. The movie did their characters justice ;)


3. Had some good twists I didn't anticipate.
I like it when I'm wrong ;) And I think the epilogue was well-played, definitely wants me to keep going on with this series.

4. A very refreshing read for me.
It was finally nice to read one where the lead is a boy, instead of the usual heroine in today's YA dystopian reads.


Overall verdict:
It had a really good premise but a lot of things were executed poorly. The author succeeded in delivering a well plot-driven story that keeps the readers intrigued but failed to produce characters that could appeal, or at least connect to the readers.

Contrary to what the book promotes saying "A Must for Fans of The Hunger Games", this actually felt more like the TV series "Lost" and NOTHING like THG.

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