The Maze Runner (375 pages)

By James Dashner

"If you ain't scared, you ain't human." (Pg. 2)

The Maze Runner | Official Trailer 2 [HD] | 20th Century FOX

“Just follow me and run like your life depends on it. Because it does.” (361)

Why I read The Maze Runner

I enjoy reading quite a bit but a problem I often have is that I can't really read singular books very well because of how quickly I read so finding an engaging book that comes in a series can be a challenge because I want to enjoy the story but I also want to enjoy it for as long as possible. That being said, I chose The Maze Runner for two main reasons, one being that a good friend of mine, Catriona Gomes read it and told me it was good and second, I knew it was a series so if i liked it I could continue the journey onward into new books and different views/story lines. Thankfully I ended up loving it and all of the sequels as well as the prequel

Life, Death, or Book?

When I think about it, I would love to die just as I finish a good book. That may seem odd but to me it seems a perfect way to go, with your last "job" finished and good thoughts swirling in your head as you aren't quite out of that surreal world that a good read can put you in. I would not be the least bit disappointed if the last thing I saw on this Earth was the back cover of The Maze Runner because not only is it very well written, it is a book about finding strength and clarity in the midst of confusion and despair which is something everyone should hold onto whether living or dying. I also feel that even knowing how the book ends, i would hang on a few moments after my time just to finish, such is the way that the intricate plot twists and turns not to trip you up but to ravel and entrap you in its beauty. There should be beauty in all things, especially death.

Top 3 terribly good bits

1.) The main thing that I enjoyed about reading The Maze Runner is that while authors are writing strikingly similar dystopian books such as The Hunger Games and Divergent (which while good books, are basically the same premise) James Dashner turns left and writes a dystopian novel that instead of having mass death and violence to enamor readers, a puzzle so complex that you have to read on or risk being driven mad. That urge to reach the end of the tunnel that this book was able to instill in me is one of my favorite feelings but one that only happens for truly good reads that really stand out in a crowd of similar options as The Maze Runner did.

2.) Every puzzle has a moment when pieces begin to fall into place, maybe not completing the puzzle entirely, but giving enough of a picture for you to speculate at the end result and build excitement. The execution of this key part of the story is impeccable because, for the first time I can remember, I reached the conclusion at the same time the characters did rather than before due to being an omnipresent third party, James Dashner wove a web so tight and conforming that you don't see what is going to happen until it already has. I love the way that he manages to keep such secrets and surprises not only from his character but also from the readers themselves.

3.) Much as I enjoyed the revamp of dystopia, I also enjoyed (Slightly afraid that I'm the only one who made this connection) the "throwback" to one of the original horror stories in the use of a maze in connection with the Greek myth of the Labyrinth. Every since I was a young child I have enjoyed myths and having a large element of one of my favorite Greeks myths in such a well written book was a huge bonus. Not something most people would see or think makes a book good but it makes a huge difference to me to have elements I have just begun to enjoy combined with elements that I have enjoyed my whole life, I guess you could say I like the consistency of my choice in books.

Bottom of both barrels

1.) SPOILER ALERT! If you are still reading you either already read this book, have no intention of reading it, or are in fact grading my flyer. The one main thing that I disliked in this book was the death of a particular character named Chuck, and I know that it is all necessary for the story development and I should expect it from a dark dystopian book but to me that is immaterial. Dashner played one of the cruelest tricks that an author can play, he created an innocent, loyal, lovable character who makes it through every trial and tribulation until you think...you know he will make it and then BAM he gets knifed at the very end by the last person anyone expected. I loved the book and understand hte reason behind Chuck's death but I will always harbor some dislike for the death of the least deserving and overall best character in the book.

2.) While earlier on, i talked about how much i enjoyed Dashner's spin on a dystopian novel I'm going to argue with myself a bit here. While I liked the direction he took the dystopian idea, I honestly wish he had written a different genre as he obviously is a very good writer and could easily do it but with the Hunger games/Divergent craze running rampant still I feel as if writing a dystopian story is a bit of a cop out and jumping on the bandwagon created by The Hunger games and Divergent, almost as if they could have been written merely to sell due to the success of the other dystopian books.

Connections

Around the same time I began reading the book I happened to have a very close friend of mine who was going through rough times as his parents went through a divorce. At the start I didn't see any connection between this event and the story, but by the time i reached the end I saw how even when everything is against you and you're having trouble making sense of things in the world, as long as you stand alongside true friends who care for you, then you will come out on the other side a bitt battered but alive and whole. WIth this knowledge I did my best to help ease the transition as my friends world was flipped around so he could come out on the other side of this the same person I always knew.


*Technically not a connection to me but it still weighs on my mind and it did help in my support and advise to my friend so I hope it counts

R for Recommendation

I would and do recommend this book to anyone who either listens to me or asks if I know of any good books. I don't even ask what kind of books they like because I am sure that they will love The Maze Runner or learn to love it if they give it a few chapters chance. I usually recommend it to people around my own age as it does have some concepts and events that I'm afraid would be too intense for younger people and I've found that older readers typically wont go in for "new age" books but I still advise anyone older than 12 read this book and the subsequent novels.

Explanation of what The Maze Runner says about the themes of family, community, and people

The way that this book represents how a strong sense of community and brotherhood/family is important fro survival has always been fairly apparent to me due to how I incorporated the book into my life or rather the life of my friend. The way that there are signs throughout the book and a big reveal at the end of how the world has literally fallen into chaos but there is this small group of people who are surviving is amazing. Surviving together that is, each of the members of the Glade has a specific job which they always carry out because they know that it isn't just for them but for all the other inhabitants well being. I see the book's main point being that when the world falls apart we need to look to our friends and neighbors but not only for support, but also to be supportive of them as well because if everyone supports each other then no one ends up holding any weight at all. If that isn't what community and family is all about then I guess I'll go be a hermit somewhere because I want to live in a place, no matter how messed up the surroundings are, where people are brought together for each other rather than for themselves.
The Maze Runner - 9 Things You Need to Know