The Maze Runner Trilogy

The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner.

When I began the initial instalment of The Maze Runner I didn’t know what to expect, unlike most people I had watched the movie first and was keen to find out what happened next. But as we all know the films often miss out the fluff of the story so I treated the film as an adaptation and began the novel with an open mind. The first thing that struck me was the sheer amount of questions that sprung up. As a reader you are immediately immersed in Dashner’s protagonist’s head, Thomas. As his memory has been wiped both reader and character are in the dark and thus begin the journey of exploration together. I won’t give away any spoilers or offer a synopsis other than this; Thomas awakens to find himself in the middle of a giant maze with a group of other boys known as the ‘Gladers’. Taken there by a mysterious box in the ground, with no memory and what seems to be no means of escape he begins the search for the answers to the dark secrets that lurk in the shadows of the maze.

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Dashner’s world boasts an impressive array of ethnic characters, breaking the stereotype of white orientated teen fiction, sadly though most of these characters are left underdeveloped and only serve as literary devices to move the story along. All three novels are written solely from Thomas’s point of view, which gives the story a very linear effect. It also means the reader can only rely on Thomas’ point of view for answers. The dialogue is dynamic and witty but a little heavy on the exposition. Problem scenarios spring up and are solved even when failure would realistically be the only outcome. The pattern usually follows, plan, problem, failure, unlikely success. What starts as a unique and ambiguous world that readers can really get their teeth into fades in a rush of action and sporadic events that don’t add up. Dashner is eager to tell but not show, leaving little delivery in a lot of places so don’t expect a pizza. The ending is also something to be discussed but I will leave that up to everyone’s own critical eye.

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Overall Dashner weaves a compelling story packed with action and twists, that despite all the things listed above kept me rapidly turning the pages to find out what happens next. Dashner also works the five senses wonderfully and gives real scope to Thomas’s character while dialect and accent are seamlessly worked into the novel. With a whole new lexis to get to grips with and colourful characters like Newt to decipher, dialogue doesn’t get boring. The action packed trilogy is fast paced and nail bitingly good and Dashner isn’t afraid to throw a death curve ball either, so keep your wits about you!

Next Review: Jeff Vandermeer; Wonderbook.

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