Title: The Maze Runner Trilogy (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure)
Author: James Dashner
Publication Date: October 6th 2009 by Random House (The Maze Runner)
Reminds me of: The Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I’m give a 3 in 1 book review a go. So bear with me here!
In honour of read an eBook day, I downloaded The Maze Runner onto my Kindle. Over a week I ended up finishing the trilogy because I was absolutely hooked. I was so excited about my hour long train ride to work or uni because I’d get the chance to keep reading! If you’ve been contemplating picking up the books before you see the movie read on!
The Maze Runner was brilliant. I said above it reminded me of the Goosebumps series and for a good reason! If you’re familiar with them you’ll remember the cliff-hanger each one ended on. You had to keep reading. The suspense was killing you. It’s exactly the same here and in The Scorch Trials.
As time progresses we are introduced to an abundance of new characters. I found this confusing at times. Frequently I had to skip back a chapter to try and remember who someone was. It didn’t appear as well thought out as The Maze Runner but it was still addictive.
Finally, The Death Cure. Dashner lost me here less than halfway through. It just seemed as if they were running around in circles like headless chooks with no purpose or aim. There wasn’t a clear quest the group had to complete like the previous novels. By the end of it I felt exhausted rather than empathetic.
Dashner isn’t as eloquent as other authors. This is one of the main criticisms that keeps popping up. He’s simplistic, blunt and straight to the point. The thing is it’s a first person narrative. Put yourself in Thomas’ shoes and see how flowery your metaphors can get. I think the way Dashner tells the story is brilliant. He’s put though and consistency into his tone, especially for a main character so obviously suffering from post traumatic stress. And Thomas is sixteen so come on! How do you expect him to speak? A huge chunk of his dialogue is made up slang and you want him to compare the rays of sunshine to his glimmering dreams of hope…
What did really agitate me severely by the final novel was Thomas’ uncanny ability to sense a good or bad turn of events. He could sense something was the wrong choice, or he felt someone was up to no good. Show don’t tell. That’s the first rule of writing. Yes Thomas may be shaken up, but that should make his assumption abilities falter. It just seemed lazy. There could have been active and subtle ways Dashner could show this to his readers without Thomas developing an unmentioned sixth sense. That’s my main criticism.
Connecting with Characters…
The first book is where we really connect with our characters, find their flaws and quirks and begin to adore them. I found Minho utterly hilarious, Theresa was intriguing and I just wanted to hug Chuck. From the second book onwards the books become so plot driven that I lost all empathy for any of the characters. Although Ben was a minor character his death stuck to me most. I felt anxious and guilty as the doors slammed shut on him, almost begging the characters to reconsider and question their ethics if they could watch someone die like that. Unfortunately for me that was a first and a last. I just didn’t get that sort of raw emotion from any other death. That character (eh-hem, you know who) that died at the end was a barely heart breaking. It was all just too fast and Thomas didn’t really have enough of a chance to reflect on that. Perhaps death was just too common an occurrence for Thomas and numbed his ability to feel anything else evocative?
The Love Interest(s)…
Was this a love triangle? I really don’t know. Please enlighten me if you honed in on the romance element. I had my money on him ending up with Theresa at the end of the first novel, but then Brenda comes along in The Scorch Trials. She’s got the hots for Thomas big time. It’s cute how he doesn’t realise it at first, but then you begin to question if there’s something wrong with him if he’s not picking up on it yet. I get that it’s an action novel, but you can’t throw a little love in there like that and not have your main character even acknowledge it! Both relationships are, however, stagnant and uninteresting.
I still had so many questions by the time I turned the last page but I was so done with it. To me the answers behind all the suspense and mystery seemed kind of lazy and unreal. It is fiction but, and that’s the beauty of it. You can be as ridiculous as you like as an author, but it’s your world and they’re your characters. I think part of the hype with this book goes with the suspense factor. You don’t want to put it down because it is so plot driven and you NEED to know what happens next. If you thrive off action and anything fast paced I definitely recommend the trilogy to you.
The Maze Runner
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Scorch Trials
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Death Cure
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆