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Nessa's Thoughts

Just a British girl who reads a bit too much.

Currently reading

The Dead Zone
Stephen King
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Jean-Dominique Bauby
Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady
Samuel Richardson, Angus Ross
Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
Piper Kerman
The Cuckoo's Calling
Robert Galbraith
The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Series) - James Dashner Hello, dear readers of mine. Today I'm going to talk about a book I didn't really like: The Maze Runner by James Dashner.It sounded so good from the blurb as well. Well, once you peel your eyes away from the obligatory 'If you loved The Hunger Games you'll love this!' sticker that publishers and booksellers seem to love slapping all over the covers of YA novels with a vaguely dystopian setting, that is.The premise is that a young boy named Thomas finds himself deposited into a giant maze. It isn't just any old maze, though. There's a 'safe zone' in the centre, and he's not alone, finding himself in the company of several other boys who've been put into this little rat-run. They've cleverly organised themselves into a microcosm of a normal society, but every day, these four walls pull away from them, and into a different pattern. To investigate this phenomenon, and maybe find a way of getting out, the boys nominate the fastest runners to draw maps and analyse the patterns day by day. The only catch? They have to make it back to the central safe zone by evening. If they lose their way at any time, they're trapped in a labyrinth with their very own proverbial minotaurs: giant mechanical slugs known as Grievers.'Oh come on,' you say. 'Theseus had a violent half-man half-bull to contend with. What harm could a giant mechanical slug do to strapping young lads trapped in a maze?'My answer? A heck of a lot. The Grievers may not seem like much of a threat, but they move almost unbelievably fast, can manoeuvre through the trickier corners of the maze, and even climb up walls. They also seem to be nocturnal, so ending up outside of the safe zone after dark equals a guaranteed death.Yet oddly enough, Thomas feels in his heart that he is destined to be a Runner. And the next mystery comes in the form of a girl. Yup, a girl's been deposited into this arena for the first time in ever, and... she basically does nothing for most of the book. She lays in the hospital bed whilst Thomas occasionally remembers something important to the plot, risks his life, or tries to convince the other boys that this memory he conveniently just remembered is vital to helping them escape....Yeah, that's the main problem with this book. Thomas is supposed to be special, but he's just so boring, he's almost jumping up and down to clamour for the reader's attention. I much preferred the other male characters, Minho, Alby, Chuck, etcetera.Oh well. Almost all YA characters have a main character who appears to be unassuming but ends up being special, right? So, okay, Thomas wants to be a Runner. To accomplish this, he runs into the maze before the four walls around the Glade shut for the night, and ends up successfully rescuing one of his comrades. He also discovers that the Grievers actually inject poison into their victims which causes them to go into an extremely painful coma while they get a load of their memories back. So everyone adulates Thomas, then Teresa wakes up and says something, then falls back into a stupor again. Then Thomas comes up with another hare-brained idea (getting forcibly injected with the Grievers' serum), and then everyone doubts him, then Teresa says something cryptic again, then Thomas works out the final plan...The ending kind of saves this book, but while I'm interested in checking out the sequels, I really don't want to be as bored as I was reading this book. The story is boring and dully-written, I couldn't sympathise with the main character, and the narrative trundles along with all these awfully-convenient twists and turns. Admittedly it is cool that the boys make their own society, are forced to grow up really fast, and Dashner occasionally captures the right sense of peril whenever the boys are faced with Grievers. It's a shame this pulse-pounding writing style just wasn't used to full effect with the rest of the book. 2.5/5.(This review is also available on my blog: http://book-wyrm.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/the-maze-runner-by-james-dashner.html)