The Maze Runner by James Dashner - review
First The Hunger Games, then Divergent and now The Maze Runner, a dystopian novel, is being adapted as a film and will be released
in cinemas later this year.
The Maze Runner is the first book in a trilogy written by the American author James Dashner. The book was first published in 2009. The similarities between The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner are striking. Firstly, the setting is a post-apocalyptic world with an authoritarian regime, secondly a young teenage hero or heroine decides to fight against the rulers, and finally the heroes are being tested in a trial and have to fight for life or death.
In The Hunger Games the hero, Katniss Everdeen, and the world the story plays in, Panem, are introduced at the beginning and only later in the book the actual trials start. Quite in contrast, The Maze Runner kicks off directly in the middle of the trial and as the title says, a seemingly unsolvable maze must be solved.
Thomas, the sixteen years old hero, remembers nothing about himself except his name. His memory has been wiped, as have all the memories of the Gladers, the teenagers who inhabit the maze. The only thing Thomas can recall is that he must solve the Maze to save himself and the other Gladers. The maze is gigantic and the fifty boys who are caught in it live on a farm in the middle of the maze, an area called the Glade. Every day a small number of the boys, the Runners, leave the Glade and head out into the unknown to find
a way out and Thomas wants to become one of them.
As if solving a gigantic maze wouldn't be challenging enough, the walls of the maze move every night to create new dead ends and new paths. And each night the walls directly surrounding the Glade, the place where the boys live, close and shield the Gladers against the dreadful monsters that inhabit the maze. It has been two years since the first boys have found themselves in the maze with wiped-out memories and now Thomas has joined them. He soon notices that he knows more about the maze and the reason why they have all been placed in it. With his help the Gladers are closer to solving the maze than ever before.
The story is very action-packed and reading the book feels very much like watching a movie. In contrast to The Hunger Games, where twenty-four boys and girls must kill each other, The Maze Runner seems more like a mystery book. In my opinion, The Maze Runner is more suitable for younger readers. Reading The Maze Runner really feels more like watching a movie. The book is also written in the the third person, whereas The Hunger Games is written in the first person, which allows reals insight into Katniss's thoughts and puts you in the middle of the action.
I think The Maze Runner definitely is a good book and I am looking forward to the movie, which will be action-packed and thrilling, just like the book. However, in comparison to The Hunger Games The Maze Runner doesn't feel as realistic and serious, thus isn't as engaging and shocking.
•Buy this book at the Guardian Bookshop
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