Customer Review

86 of 102 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An author more lost than his characters? (Spoiler Alert), October 3, 2010
This review is from: The Maze Runner (Book 1) (Paperback)
After completing the Hunger Games trilogy, I was eager for another great YA dystopian read but did not find it in The Maze Runner. I was initially intrigued by the book's description. I knew there would be boys caught in a maze, with their memories wiped and little hope for escape, and I knew that the appearance of a girl on the scene would change everything. Mazes, games, riddles, and other sorts of non-traditional mysteries attract me, but Dashner's execution of his book did not.

The plot was ill-paced. At times it felt slow, because Dashner introduced the reader to the maze in the same way the main character, Thomas, was introduced to it: both the reader and Thomas learn almost everything through numerous secondary explanations by characters. In more skilled hands, this might be an effective way of immersing a reader in a fictional world. Dashner's exposition, however, felt cumbersome. As a reader, if I'm going to be told about a world rather than shown it, I'd better be told well. When I wasn't slogging through Dashner's writing, I was tumbling head-over-heels down its textual cliffs. Parts of the novel simply moved too quickly for any real character or plot development to occur. Readers are barely introduced to the main protagonist before being introduced to Teresa, the girl who supposedly changes everything. We really have very little sense for what's changing, because this inciting action comes so shortly after our encounter with Thomas.

The plot also felt as if it had been constructed with little forethought. Each step or twist in the plot seemed as if it were generated on the spot as the author wrote his way linearly through this novel. Shazam! Such and such happens out of the blue. A quick patch-up of missing explanation ensues. Shazam! The next twist happens, followed by some explanation. And so on, until one of the biggest Shazams!: The crew exits the maze and suddenly, for no apparent reason, one of their members is killed. Subtle build-up of suspense and intricately interwoven plots do not exist in this novel. It's almost entirely composed of sudden action followed by explanatory reaction.

All this might not matter so much, if I'd felt in any way connected to the characters. But I didn't. Most of the boys meshed together in my brain, particularly since so many of them end up acting "out of character" anyway. As for Teresa and Thomas, readers know little about their back-story (until the peritextual "Exclusive Wicked Correspondence" at the end), and I didn't find their characters all that complex, deep, relatable, or quirky (aside from their obvious telepathic skill). Character "complexity" in this novel was little more than character "unpredictability."

In short, I was disappointed. The reason I gave the book 2 stars instead of 1, though, is because I did at least finish it. I've no intention of reading the sequel, however.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 11, 2012 4:16:30 AM PST
CastleD says:
Shazam! That made me laugh. Cute. I agree with your review.

Posted on Mar 20, 2014 10:15:11 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 20, 2014 11:02:43 AM PDT]
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