The maze runner, by James Dashner, is yet another young adult dystopian future novel. Fortunately for us though, it was published before the Hunger Games completely blew up, meaning that the book itself is actually pretty good, rather than being an attempt to cash in on the current craze. This version of the post-apocalyptic future involves a group of teenage boys trapped in a giant stone basin, known as the “Glade,” that’s several hundred meters across. Surrounding the Glade is a giant maze which closes off its entrances and kills anyone inside at night. So at least it’s a change from the authoritarian dictatorship governments that we’ve grown so fond of…or is it?
The book starts off with Thomas, the main character, finding himself in an elevator without his memories. Seconds later, the elevator deposits him into the Glade. Over the next few days, he is integrated into the society that the boys have made and learns a few key facts: each boy entered through the elevator with none of his memories, the elevator also brings certain resources although most are collected or farmed in the Glade, and there are terrible monsters in the maze that kill anyone left outside at night. But Thomas doesn’t get to live in this new society for long before someone else appears in the elevator, this time a girl holding a note saying “she’s the last one.” Soon after, the entire Glade starts falling apart. Water stops flowing, it becomes permanently nighttime and most importantly, the doors stop closing allowing in all the horrible monsters of the maze. Now it’s up to Thomas and his new friends to figure out how to escape, or die trying.
I personally enjoyed the maze runner a lot because it’s a slightly different take on dystopian fiction. Although it’s still about teenagers or ‘young adults’ and still contains a lot of angst, at least it moves further from the “oppressive government of adults” theme until the end of the first book. But I won’t expand on that because it contains serious spoilers. The writing of the book flows fairly well, and Dashner does a pretty good job of immersing the reader in his story. Overall, I would definitely recommend the entire Maze Runner series, although I do feel like the sequels don’t do as good of a job and, like the Star Wars movies, I’m doing my best to ignore the prequel.