Saturday, 21 January 2017

THE MAZE RUNNER (The Maze Runner #1) - by James Dashner

The Maze Runner - James Dashner
Year Published: 2014 - by Chicken House.
Genres: Dystopia / young adult / science fiction
Pages: 371.
Source: Library.

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. Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade. 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. Everything is going to change. Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying. Remember. Survive. Run.


I watched snippets of The Maze Runner film about two years ago and didn't really like what I saw. Then I watched The Scorch Trials and loved that. Since then, I've wanted to read the books and see how they compare.
So I finally got round to picking up the first book. And I was so disappointed. 


The idea is brilliant. So, so much potential, and I really liked how Dashner executed it. But having said that, I didn't think the writing was great. The pacing was sloppy - I especially thought Teresa's arrival was too close to the start to leave a big enough impact on me; it didn't make the impression it should have made because I was still getting into the world and the story.
The writing was also amateurish and unoriginal. 
On a positive note, however, it was wonderfully dark, gritty, and held together by a strong concept. 

The characters were the real let-down for me. They all sounded the same. But I have to say this: since I watched the movie first, it was very hard for me to separate Dashner's writing with the visuals I'd seen in the film. I think because I watched the movie first, the characters seemed more rounded to me than they would have seemed if I was just reading without any preconceived images of them in my head. That said, I tried hard to judge Dashner's writing based solely on his writing; which was difficult. But when I did manage to try ignore the film's perception of the characters, I can say that they were still very badly developed, flat, and static. The dialogue and actions did nothing to separate them from each other, and I found it very hard to like anyone. I thought Thomas and Chuck's friendship was way too forced, and *takes deep breath* that brings me to Thomas...

Thomas was a huge, huge, HUGE pain. He was annoying, flat, and just plain stupid. Then, as the story progressed, he became the hero: the one everyone's dying to save, the one everyone's believing can do no wrong, the one everyone worships. I had no patience for that.  And I really don't get why his surviving the maze that night was the first time anyone's done it. That was silly and unrealistic and a weak plot toy.
He became too "goody goody", and he stupidly kept things to himself that would have saved everyone a lot of time if he'd just told them outright (like Teresa talking to him in his head - he was afraid the others wouldn't believe him if he told them, so he kept it to himself. That's a pathetic excuse for wasting the story's time).

Thomas also made a really cruel, stupid comment towards the end of the book:

"The scream ran on, shattering the air, overpowering the other sounds of war, until it faded in death. Thomas felt his heart tremble, hoped it wasn't someone he knew."
~ pg 336. 

Excuse me, dude?! How disgusting can you be to think that thought as someone dies a slow and painful death?!   
But then, on page 345, there's a contradiction to the previous statement as another character dies: 

"It {the death} still hurt, even though he hadn't known them very well." 



The Maze Runner was carried by a strong idea and, for the most part, excitement. But the characters were flat, boring, annoying, and it was impossible for me to sympathise with them. In addition, the writing wasn't great.  





36 comments:

  1. I actually haven't read the book, I LOVED the movie though. Sadly, I find dystopian books a little hard to read since some of them are heavily based on political aspect (I mean the books I have read so far) and I can't read abuse (I am still little scarred from Flawed). Anyways, I might give this a try when I am ready. (I have no idea why I just rambled on....sorry)

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    1. Glad you loved the movie :) I need to give it a proper go and watch from start to finish.

      Wow that's such a good point. I'm the same, but you put your finger on it; I'm not political at all, so often political stuff confuses me, whereas it makes sense to other people.

      I am DYING to read Flawed! But yeah, abuse is hectic to read about.
      Thanks for rambling on! <3 Have a lovely weekend :)

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    2. I did, I loved it so much and thank you! :) You should you won't regret it!

      Hahah..I am not political at all, whenever somebody says something about it it goes over my head! So I know what you mean!!! :D

      Yes it is, and Flawed is well...really hard for someone like me to read!
      Thank you, I hope you had a good weekend too!

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    3. Yay that's great! Ok I'll give it a go (sometime...lol).

      Yeah totally!! *high five*

      Shame, sorry :( <3

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  2. I tried reading The Maze Runner and didn't get halfway as I really disliked the MC and the fact that nobody would answer the simplest question. It drove me nuts! I sort of want to try again but not and I also want to see the film but I'm not sure I'll get on well with either!

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    1. YES YES YES!! So true!
      Yeah I definitely wouldn't recommend the book, but I enjoyed watching The Scorch Trails :)

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  3. I've seen the movies so I've been curious about the books too. I keep going back and forth on if I want to read these or not. I may try em at some point. I am always curious to see the differences between book and movie! Sorry to hear thomas didn't work for you, I think I would envision Thomas and the other characters from the show too if I read it...

    Love that cover bTW!

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    1. Yeah that was one of the reasons why I picked the book up! You just have to compare them, and if you've read one, it's my unspoken rule that you should at least try the other. Lol, just what I do ;)
      Yeah that was hard to break away from :(

      It is cool!

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  4. Oh no! I'm sad you didn't like the book. I read this series in 2012 and I absolutely loved it. Although I'm not sure that if I read it right now I'd love it as much as I did back then. I totally agree with you about Thomas, I enjoyed his character at first but after a while he just became really annoying to me. Hopefully the next book you read is better :)
    Aneta @ Angelic Book Reviews 

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    1. Ah sorry!! I'm glad you loved it, though!
      Yeah, he was just so infuriating and stupid :(
      Thanks! Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

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  5. Aww I'm sad you didn't like it! I've read both The maze Runner and the Scorch Trials and loved them!! I didn't like the second movie though :P I actually liked Theresa more than Thomas in book 1 :) Great review Amy!

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    1. Thanks Uma, I was so disappointed too :( Glad you loved them, though!! But I'm sorry about you not liking TST; I enjoyed that one :)
      Yeah I did too. But I guess, for me, that's not saying much, lol ;)
      Thanks Uma!

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  6. I find it REALLY hard to like a book if I've seen the movie first. I read these books first (a couple times) and I loved them. The movies were good, but in a different way than the books.

    Sorry you didn't like this one. The other books in the series are different. You might like them better.

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    1. It is hard. But I'm so happy you loved them! Yeah, I do think they were quite different, from what I've seen.

      Thanks :) Hopefully!

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  7. I agree with Aneta that I loved the whole trilogy when I read them several years ago, but I don't know if that would still hold today. Overall, I LOVE the concept for this series and really enjoyed it. I do agree that the writing was not my favorite - I'm a fan of beautiful language and memorable quotes :) I too liked The Scorch Trials movie better than the Maze Runner, but I saw them after finishing the whole series, so it didn't mess up my reading experience. So sad you didn't enjoy, but the great thing about reading is that there's always another book for you to go love!

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    1. Yeah opinions do change, such as with me and Twilight, for example; I loved that when I first read it, but if I re-read it now I think my opinion would change ;)
      Yes me too! That's a huge selling point when it comes to a book :)
      Ah that's a good way to do it; I really should've read the books first, lol. Glad you liked TST, too!
      Very true! Thanks for the comment, Caitlin :)

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  8. Awwww, I'm sorry you were disappointed! I remember reading this book years ago, as a young teen. I liked it, but I remember not feeling the "wow" factor (keep in mind, this was years ago, before it got popular and the movie deal was set and whatnot). I never finished the series. I'm not sure I will, honestly. I think Dashner has a great series here though. If you read the rest of the series, I hope you like the books. Great review, Amy!

    Have a lovely weekend. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. Thanks Alyssa :) Oh I see, yeah that's understandable. I definitely will read the rest of the series, too; not sure when, but it's my unspoken rule that if I start a series I have to finish it!
      Thanks so much!

      Thanks, you too :)

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  9. i LOVED LOVED LOVED The Scorch Trials Movie!!!! The first movie was meh and i keep telling myself i need to read the books but i've seen so many negative things i don't think i will :/ i'll stick with the movies lol :P Awesome review!
    Kariny @ kariny's boox frenzy

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    1. YAY YAY YAY ME TOOOOO! It was so awesome, wasn't it?!
      Yeah, I definitely wouldn't recommend this book :(
      Thanks Kariny! Have a lovely rest of the weekend!

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  10. I agree with everything you wrote! I read the entire trilogy and it was rather mediocre, though I thought the premise was very interesting!

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    1. Yay thank you! Ah sorry to hear that :( I'm probably gonna continue the series, maybe, I'm not sure....
      It definitely is!
      Thanks for stopping by, Olivia :)

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  11. You've perfectly summed up my thoughts and feelings on this book! I mean, when I first read it I loved it but I was a woefully uncritical reader at the time and like 14 to boot so I cut myself some slack. ;) But now I totally agree, Thomas was a jerk and the whole idea of the maze was really poorly executed. To be honest, I think the series only gets worse with time so bear that in mind!

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    1. Oh wow yay!
      Lol, yeah I was like that too with so many books before I started reviewing "properly".
      Yes, Thomas definitely was!
      Oh no, I was planning to continue with it! It's a shame to hear that :( But it's kinda my unspoken rule that if I start a series, I have to finish it, so yeah.
      Thanks for stopping by, have a lovely week ahead!

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  12. Great review! I agree with so much of it that I'm wondering whether you actually took the thoughts from my own head, haha. I was only about 13 when I first read this and my best friend loved it so I remember thinking I, obviously, had to love it to. But, I hated it. Given my best friend had a huge crush on Dylan O'Brien at the time so that could be a contributing factor to her love for the whole series. It just fell completely flat for me and I was bored and it got worse and worse as I pushed myself to finish the series.

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    1. Thank you! Haha guilty ;) Lol.
      Oh shame, yeah I know the feeling. It's hard when your friend really wants you to like something and you have to, like, cower and say you didn't. It's so awkward and I always feel so bad when it happens:(
      Ah that's a good point! Lol, I fall into that trap many times, too ;) Haha.
      Shame I'm sorry to hear that :(

      Have a lovely week, Brooklyn!

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  13. Yes! So many echoes of my own sentiments here. I wanted to really love this one and yet..... It just disappointed me on so many levels. I haven't watched the movies and they are still intriguing me so I think I need to give them a try. I am wondering how it will all translate to be honest.

    I remember wanting to pick up the Scorch Trials after I finished the first book, but I was really so disappointed that I haven't done it yet and I'm not pushing it anywhere on my TBR because really- there are so many amazing books I have at the moment that I want to get through. Hopefully I'll get a chance to carry on with this one day and hopefully it will be better than the first book. :)

    Great review Amy!

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    1. Yay great! (Or not so great, depending on how you look at it...)
      Shame I'm sorry, Di :( Yeah I need to watch the first movie again and see how it compares.

      Yeah that's true! Why push better books out of the way so you can finish a series you hated the first book of?!
      I hope you enjoy the second book more than the first, when you read it; I plan to start the second book soon :)

      Thanks!

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    2. If you're starting the second one soon then I'm definitely going to wait for your review and then I'll just see from there!!! ;)

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  14. I didn't really like this book either. I ended up finishing the whole series, but mostly out of a feeling of obligation hahaha. This is one of the rare cases where the movie is actually better than the book, though, because the movie was pretty good!

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    1. Sorry to hear that :( Haha yeah I feel the same! Though I don't know when I'll actually get round to it.....
      Yeah it was!
      Thanks for stopping by, Bryce :) Have a lovely week!

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  15. I actually never read The Maze Runner series but my husband did. He enjoyed the first two books well enough but disliked the third. We went and saw the first movie together and I was able to enjoy it for what it was - and didn't have to sit there and make comparisons to the book. Reading your review makes me glad I never picked up the book, Amy! Because Book Thomas sounds pretty insufferable!

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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    1. Glad your husband liked the first two books :) And yes, I guess the first movie was okay for what it was.
      Hahaha yeah, Thomas was definitely insufferable!! You haven't lost out at all by not reading the books!
      Thanks for stopping by, Tanya :) Have a lovely rest of the week!

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  16. Okay, so it has been quite a few years since I've read these books. And by quite a few, I mean a lot. I do remember liking them, but that's about it xD I really need to reread them soon and actually write reviews this time round (it was before my blogging days, so it must have been more than four years now. I was young D:) I am sorry that this one had a lot of characters you didn't feel for or didn't like. Characters are make or break for me, so I feel :(

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    1. Haha yeah I get you. I still feel like I need to either review or re-vamp reviews I did before blogging days.
      Yeah it was a downer :( And that's so true.
      Thanks for stopping by, Olivia-Savannah!

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