Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Maze Runner

James Dashner

This action/adventure features a group of boys who find themselves stuck in a maze, where they puzzle over their surroundings (the glade) and try to escape the maze by mapping out how the walls of the maze shift each day.  Thomas is just the latest arrival of boys that must grapple with growing their own food and looking out for each other amid the sort of leadership a group of teenage boys are able to put together.  And it's a dangerous place, since when the walls close for the night, monstrous creatures with stingers and needles venture out into the maze, and if they happen to sting a glader, the boy goes through a terrifying change.  Everything shifts one day when a girl comes up through the box that Thomas and all boys before him have come up through, and the rules change.

I was initally kind of put off by the boys that populate the glade and their language with words like "shank" and "Greenie."  It felt very juvenille to me, like it belonged to a younger audience than a young adult novel, like Holes where they have characters like "Armpit."  But once the story gets going, the mystery grows ever more intriguing, even if it is frustrating how unnecessarily secretive the mysteries are teased out by the author.  And once things go to "clunk," things really get interesting.  There's that certain turning point in this book where I really began to enjoy the story and couldn't wait to see what happened, it just took awhile to get there.  I'm glad I toughed it out though, because it turned out to be a pretty intriguing world.  This will certainly appeal to fans of other fantasies like Incarceron.

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