Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Read by: Mark Deakins
Publication Date: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press; audio by Listening Library
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Find It: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, Book Depository
Rating: 3 stars – stick to your bedtime
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 enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I am always a little wary going into a popular series that people love. I think the expectation is just sometimes too high and I end up disappointed. It may have helped that I saw the movie first and liked it. The film also gave me a good primer on the world here and it was easy to jump in. There were definitely changes from book to film but the overall spirit and plot of the book remains intact and I didn’t find any huge differences.
The difficulty with writing a character who doesn’t remember who he is, is that sometimes they can be very bland and lack personality. This didn’t happen here though and I found that I was able to get a good sense of Thomas’s personality even without knowing about his life before The Glade. The secondary characters had a lot of life and personality as well, making for a well rounded cast. My favorite was Chuck though, as I tend to have a soft spot for the kids who don’t fit in. And did anyone else keep picturing Chunk from The Goonies as Chuck? Maybe it was just me….
Of course, there were not a lot of female characters but that is part of the set up so I’ll let it slide for now. There is one female character, Teresa. She is an important character in the story but she fell kind of flat for me. I may like her more as the series goes on and more of her personality starts to come out but she wasn’t my favorite in this book. One element of the book that they left out of the film was how Thomas and Teresa could speak to each other telepathically. I think might have been cheesy on film but it didn’t bother me in the book.
I really enjoyed the world building. The setting is unique and there was not a lot of info dumping. Dashner lets us learn about The Glade with Thomas as he learns to navigate it.
The narrator for the audiobook is Mark Deakins and he does a good job of putting you in Thomas’s shoes. The characters were easily distinguishable from each other but it does’t get too cartoon-y with a lot of different “voices,” which is my personal pet peeve in audiobooks. He is believable as the headstrong Thomas and easily captured my attention with his dynamic narration.
Overall I liked this book and am glad that I listened to the audiobook. While I normally recommend reading a book before seeing the movie, in my case, I think that seeing the movie first was a good primer that allowed me to jump into the world with a little bit of background. Though there are differences, the key points are the same and I think fans of the series will enjoy the movie and vice versa. Of course, this being a series, there are a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book and I will be reading on to see what The Maze has in store for these characters.