The Maze Runner by James Dashner
"If you ain't scared, you ain't human."
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He's surrounded by strangers--boys whose memories are also gone.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It's the only way out--and no one's ever made it through alive.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
I've had The Maze Runner sitting on my shelf for years, but it wasn't until everyone started buzzing about the movie and I was invited to participate in a readalong* that I finally got around to picking it up. I was wary of this book because I didn't think it was "my kind of book," but I needn't have worried because I ended up really enjoying this book.
The Maze Runner is exciting and action-packed, with mystery and suspense on every page. It's fast and fun while also being disturbing and terrifying. Most importantly, it sucks you in and doesn't let go.
The Maze Runner was a bit of a slow start for me. I had a hard time getting into the story because it was super confusing. I thought the setting was strange, the language the characters used made no sense, and the main character was annoyingly clueless. However, looking back, I can appreciate this rough start. In the beginning of the book, the main character was confused and scared and uncomfortable, so it makes sense that the book was written in such a way that the readers felt the same. It makes it easy to relate to Thomas, and as he starts to understand more of the world he's thrown into, so do the readers.
Once I got over that rocky patch in the beginning, I was completely hooked by the story. Something exciting seems to happen on every page, and there's no time for the readers or the characters to relax or take a break from the action. This book is difficult to tear yourself away from because you can't help but feel desperate for answers and explanations as to what happens next. The pacing of this book is fantastic. It's fast, but not too fast that things start to get rushed or confusing.
The Maze Runner is full of mystery and suspense. Without spoiling anything, the characters spend the book trying to solve the mystery of the maze, a feat that seems impossible. While I was reading, I was unable to form theories or predictions because the mystery was too outlandish to solve. I just had to keep reading and wait for everything to come together, which was frustrating, but in a good way. The story is so complex that everything came as a surprise to both me and the characters, and there were so many crazy plot twists that made me gasp out loud as I was reading.
The best thing about this book is the setting. The world-building in The Maze Runner is some of the best world-building I've ever experienced. I don't want to talk about it too much because it's something I think you should read about for yourself, but I was incredibly impressed by the details of the Glade and the maze and everything about the world Thomas lives in. James Dashner managed to provide full and vivid descriptions of the world without having super long, boring paragraphs in which he described everything. He'd regularly drop in little details throughout the whole novel, so the reader gleaned bits and pieces of descriptions at a time until it eventually all came together in one large, clear image.
The Maze Runner has action, mystery, and suspense. It's weird and disturbing and confusing and exciting. The setting is unique and wonderfully written, and the story is fascinating and unlike anything else I've ever read. I had my doubts about The Maze Runner, but I'm happy to report that I loved it. I'm definitely looking forward to continuing on with the rest of the series.
*Thanks to Cassie at My Thoughts... Literally! for hosting!