Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner is the first dystopian novel in a trilogy by American writer James Dashner. I love the genre of young adult fiction and after reading this and seeing the film I can see why this novel would appeal to many teenagers and young adults alike. I allow students to read this genre of with parental permission as sometimes they do contain violence both explicit and implied.  It is racy and the characters are well-rendered meaning readers become attached to characters unlike some books in which the action completely takes over. 

The story begins with Thomas, the protagonist, awakening to find himself in a cage ascending  a shaft to a place called The Glade. He remembers nothings except his name as his memory has apparently been wiped. He finds himself in an all-boy society, each with well-defined roles and straight away feels drawn to the role of being a Maze Runner. The Glade is surrounded by an immense maze and the only way out, the boys believe, is through it. Throw in Grievers (half animal and  half machine -, menacing nightmares) which cause much more than grievous bodily harm, and there you have it, the main components of the book. Thomas often dreams of his past and feels that these dreams will eventually help him piece together the past that has been taken from him.

When Thomas arrives, he is obviously disorientated and takes time to adapt to the new imposed lifestyle. A young and very talkative Chuck  befriends him and is one of the reasons he is so driven to solve the maze problem; to get Chuck back to his parents or at least a normal lifestyle. Wicked, the apparently evil society driving this dystopian societ,y is never far away and for ever throwing deadly challenges at the boys. Big characters in the novel include fellow champions of the maze Minho and Alby, and Newt, with his leadership qualities, and Frypan an organised but slightly gruff cook. Then there is Gally, a very worthy antagonist who increasingly  throws a few spanners in the works as the plot progresses.. The language used by the Gladers may at first be disconcerting to some readers but after a few chapters will seem normal. And...then there is the sudden appearance of a girl,the enigmatic Terese...

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