This is my second (or maybe even third) read of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner. I discovered the novel after watching the movie starring Dylan O’Brien and Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and immediately fell in love with the whole concept of the maze; the mystery of working out where they are, what’s happening to them and how to escape their confinement. This is a story I often find myself revisiting on a regular basis, and it has become one of my favourite dystopian films, as well as a favourite novel. Also it doesn’t hurt that Dylan O’Brien is easy on the eyes.
…Warning: this review contain spoilers, proceed with caution…
For those not already aware, The Maze Runner is told in first-person narrative from the perspective of Thomas – played by Dylan O’Brien in the film. Suffering from severe amnesia, his only memory his name, Thomas finds himself the new kid on the block, inside a large glade surrounded by high stone walls. Disorientated, confused and curious, he soon learns that he’s trapped inside a giant maze and vows to help his fellow Gladers find a way out of their predicament.
When I first read The Maze Runner I felt as frustrated as Thomas was, at the lack of answers to his persistent questions. However, the slow reveals of each story element helped maintain the tension and mystery of the maze’s secrets, keeping the reader interested and voraciously turning the books’ pages. The book has a good pace, with enough forward motion that you never get bored waiting for the next reveal.
Being terrified of spiders, the Grievers creeped me out like crazy. These robotic spider-like creatures that attack the Gladers in the maze are terrifying, and I regularly hoped that one would kill-off that really arrogant and irritating character, Gally. I kept reading with fingers crossed for this.
Of course, as always, there are a few differences between the book and the film, which become more and more apparent as the novel reaches its conclusion. However, while there’s slight differences in the minute details, the main plot and focal characters remain the same.
However, there is one scene at the end of the book that I don’t quite understand; how did Gally escape the maze before the others, and why was he being controlled? What was the point in the knife throw that killed Chuck? This isn’t clear, or explained and doesn’t make much sense to me. In the film this scene makes more sense and follows clear logic, but in the book it just seems really out of place and confusing. As a result I’m not able to give The Maze Runner the full 5 stars despite loving the rest of the book. 4.5 stars is the best rating I can give as this one scene spoils the story for me, along with the made-up swear words to tone down the bad language for younger readers, which was a bit annoying.