The Maze Runner
When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade – a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they came to be there – or what’s happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything – even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrol its corridors, to try and find out.
Ok, so I know what you’re thinking – not another teenage dystopian novel! Well, yes it is, but do you know what? you really should give it a chance because if you are a fan of The Hunger Games or the Divergent trilogy then this book is definitely for you. Different enough to keep your interest, but still sticking to the tried and tested and seemingly ever popular model of the dystopian novel, the first book in the Maze Runner series will have you gripped from the very first page.
Thomas arrives in the Glade in a metal box, unsure of how or why he is there. The last of the boys to be planted in the Glade he must help the others try to crack the Maze and think of a way to get past the deadly Grievers. He knows he is special, but with no memory, only minor, confusing flashbacks, he is unable to work out his part in this strange world.
Suspicions start to arise in the other Gladers, when the metal box delivers their first girl, Teresa, who although unconscious, holds a note informing them ‘she’s the last one’ and shouts out Thomas’s name before passing out again. Reminiscent of William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies, the boys start to let their paranoias take over, resulting in arguments and power shifts as they struggle to understand their position and purpose within the group. The charcaters of Alby; the natural leader of the group and, as it later emerges, the very first boy to be brought into the Glade, along with Newt; second in command, Minho; the Keeper of the Runners, Chuck; Thomas’s faithful 12 year old companion, Thomas and Teresa have all been written with such strong, believable characteristics that it is easy to visualize them and to feel such strong emotions towards them. I found myself literally gripped with every page turn, desperate to read more and find out if there was a way out of the maze.
James Dashner has written this book, primarily for the teenage market, but more and more of this so called teenage fiction genre is crossing over into the adult readership and is becoming increasingly popular. Perhaps, it’s because of it’s easy to read structure or maybe because it offers such a visual perspective, which is proving easily transferable to film. Like November’s book, The Fault in our Stars, The Maze Runner has also been made into a film. Having enjoyed reading the book so much I was desperate to see the film as I could see how well it should translate onto the big screen. How wrong could I have been, I was sorely disappointed. Although, the producers managed to chose their actors wisely they cut out huge sections of the book and altered what I considered to be key factors and important pieces of information that I struggle to see how they are going to justify if they are make the sequels into film versions as well. I will leave it up to you to decide. I would be very interested to hear what you have to say both about the book and about whether you think the film has done the book any justice, so please do leave me a comment.
All I do ask is that you please, please read the book before you see the film, as it truly deserves it’s chance to shine in it’s original and intended form.
I’ve decided to have a bit of a change for next month so watch this space for more info! All that remains to be said is Happy Christmas!