TMRBy James Dashner

Publisher: Chicken House
Year: 2009
Rating: 3.7/5

Official Description:
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.

 This book was very difficult for me to give a rating to. I enjoyed the book enough that I felt it deserved more than a 3 out of 5, but I didn’t really enjoy it enough to give it a 4. A 3.5 felt like not enough in between, so I settled on a 3.7. And I think that that sort of sums up my feelings about this book. Complicated. I did like The Maze Runner, and thought that the story was very, very good. But throughout a lot of the book I felt like parts were dragging, and things could have been executed better.

I’ll start of by once again saying that I enjoyed the overall plot. Basically there’s this kid called Thomas who can’t remember anything before he wakes up in a lift and finds himself in the centre of a very big maze, and he works with the rest of the kids (they’re all 16-ish, I believe) and together they try to figure out why they’re in the maze, and how to get out. Things get a lot more complicated when a girl shows up, because she’s the first girl to appear in the maze. And she falls into a coma as soon as she shows up. Some pretty intense, interesting stuff going on. Better yet, the story doesn’t seem to drag on a major scale (there were a few little instances where I felt like the plot was slowing down, but that was for a few pages at a time, tops).

There’s definitely a lot of action packed into the 371 pages, too. Every night when the doors to the maze close, Thomas learns that anyone who is still in the maze meets with an unhealthy circumstance. That circumstance being, most of the time… death. Strange cow-like creatures with metal spikes haunt the maze at night, and it’s best not to get to close to them, as being stung results in a rush to get back to the Glade (the central “safe-zone”) and take the serum which causes terrifying days of pain, but most terrifyingly of all; memories of the past. A few characters go through this “Changing” in the book, and from their experiences we have a slow build-up towards learning about the world outside the maze, and that was one of my favourite things about The Maze Runner, we know that there’s something seriously wrong with the world that has led to these kids being locked away in a terrifying and dangerous maze, and though we don’t get all of the answers, the ending of the book really does a lot to draw the reading right into the next book.

Now to a few negatives. There are only a few, so fans of the series, don’t be annoyed at me!

One of the things that really stuck out to me was the writing. I wouldn’t say that it was bad, but every so often I found myself questioning the writing style. Every so often there came points where the narrative seemed to really disconnect from the story, and instead of feeling like I was reading the story, I felt like I was looking at it from above, if that makes sense. And then towards the end of every chapter, Dashner seems to build up to climactic ending sentences, which is all well and good every so often, but I started to feel like it was happening far too often, and that it sometimes ended chapters at strange points. I honestly felt like chapters could have been merged together and everything would have flowed a lot better, instead of chopping at the ends of chapters.

And another thing which people might disagree with me on; I wasn’t a huge fan of the character development. Pretty much from the second that Thomas gets out of the lift, he seems to be focused on being the greatest, bravest, most helpful person in the Glade. I think that he, as a character, was written well. But I feel like I wasn’t really rooting for him (or many of the characters, to be honest) during the book because he stayed the same throughout the entire novel. He learned a few things, but none of them were really ground-breaking character developments.

The book ends very strong, though, and looking over the book as a whole, it’s clear that this book is an excellent first book in a series. A fantastic groundwork has been laid and I am looking forward to picking up The Scorch Trials. I’d definitely recommend this book to any YA reader who’s looking for an exciting read.

 WICKED is Good


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