The Maze Runner. Disappointing.
It looked good. It looked really good.
It wasn’t. It really wasn’t.
Meet our protagonist: Thomas.
Thomas has a nasty case of amnesia. Amnesia: defined in James Dashner’s personal dictionary as “partial or total loss of memory combined with the complete loss of personality“.
So Thomas arrives in a special section of a mysterious maze with a bunch of hormonal male teenagers like himself and completely blends in seeing as every single character is the same.
What is worse is that they all use the same repetitive, annoying, shitty slang. I get why, okay. I understand that it’s a YA book and the author wanted to have the characters swear liberally without actually putting profanity in the text. So he used a lot of “klunk” and “shuck” and it was just ridiculously irritating.
The real let down here is the suspense. Now I like a good mystery. I like seeing if I can figure things out, and I like it even more when I’m taken by surprise. But James Dashner essentially just took the piss throughout the entire book.
The reader knows nothing about Thomas.
The reader knows nothing about the other Gladers.
The reader knows nothing about the Maze, why these characters are in it, how to solve it…
The reader knows nothing about the world and what happened to it.
Then we are introduced to a female character, still quite early on in the book. She’s unconscious and she has a note saying everything will change…
The reader knows nothing about her. Why is she there? Why will everything change? Why is she unconscious? What the hell is her name…?
Before we get ANY of these answers, Dashner piles on even more shit…
…WHY ON EARTH IS THIS COMATOSE GIRL SUDDENLY TELEPATHIC?!
It’s too much, Dashner. It wouldn’t be so bad if new information was released little by little, but no. We don’t get any answers until the last few chapters. Over 300 pages of very short chapters which all end on a cliffhanger, and many many occasions where the author teases us with a character who maaaaaaaaay divulge some information but…no…no we get fuck all!!
It’s always really pathetic excuses as well:
“I know who you are but I won’t say because I don’t care any
“I think I have the answers everyone’s been waiting for…but I need more proof before I tell them. Don’t want them to laugh at me.”
There is a difference between “creating suspense” and “taking the piss”.
So what was good about the book? Well, the overall plot wasn’t bad. Trouble is, The Maze Runner is the first book in a series and with Dashner being the overly suspenseful dickhead that he is, the first book doesn’t really give any answers.
I would like to mention the Grievers, these weird mechanical creatures that live in the Maze. Dashner really did well on the descriptions of the things – I was honestly terrified of them. I mean look at these things:
I was very impressed with how Dashner described the Grievers. It’s interesting to think that an author can describe a horrific nightmare beast and make it feel as real as anything, but can’t characterise his protagonist worth a damn.
I wonder what that says about him.
I know what it says for me: I will not be continuing with the series.