Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner is the first book in an exciting and action-packed new series by author James Dashner.  I was very excited about getting this book because there was so much hype surrounding its release.  I am pleased to say that the book lived up to its hype!  The book begins with 16 year old Thomas waking up inside a lift with no memory except for his first name.  When the lift stops and the doors open Thomas finds himself among a group of teenage boys in a place they call The Glade.  The Glade is a makeshift community that is surrounded by an enormous and terrifying maze.  Thomas soon finds out that he isn't alone in his memory loss.  All of the inhabitants of The Glade entered under the same conditions.  Life in The Glade has been somewhat predictable for the group since the first boys arrived two years ago.  Every thirty days a new teenage boy would arrive in the lift. The new "greenie" would be assigned a job and everyone else would continue to do their assigned jobs maintaining The Glade.  One of these jobs was being a runner.  Runners were in charge of exploring the maze in hopes of solving it and freeing everyone.  The runners only went into the maze during the day because at night the doors to the maze closed and the dangerous and terrifying "grievers" came out.  Grievers are animal-like machines that had one purpose: kill anything in the maze!  Thomas couldn't explain the strange pull he felt to become a runner, despite the undeniable danger, nor could he ignore the feelings of familiarity he felt while in The Glade.

Just as Thomas was becoming used to his "new life" an unexpected event occurs that throws the entire Glade into chaos.  The lift alarm sounds signaling an incoming "greenie".  This wouldn't normally be an unexpected or troubling event, but Thomas had just arrived the day before and instead of the normal newcomer this one was a girl!  The girl also arrives with a message that things will change.  Thomas and the rest of the Glade must now figure out who the girl is and what her message means.  They have got to find a solution to the maze and uncover why "the creators" put them there as well because time is running out and their very lives are at stake.  The maze is the key to their freedom but no one knows how to solve it and the danger inside the maze is very real.  Thomas and the Gladers know one thing is for certain: if they are going to get out of The Glade they must do three things: REMEMBER. RUN. SURVIVE.

I can't even express how much I loved this book!  It was action-packed, fast paced and gripping.  The story line reminds me of The Hunger Games in that these young kids were placed somewhere against their will that was extremely dangerous and forced to survive while others "watched" them.  The ending was awesome too!  It answered many of the lingering questions I had while reading the book but caused many more that open the door for the next installment in the series.  I highly recommend this book to all readers of YA fiction, but this is definitely a book that will appeal to boys.  There are hints of romance but overall this is a kick-butt action packed book that will keep you up all night trying to see what happens next!!

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