When I heard about The Maze Runner being adapted for the silver screen, I wanted to read the book. I didn’t realize I’d already heard about the book from a friend who was excited to read the prequel, The Kill Order, which came out last summer. In fact, it was a good thing I didn’t realize the book was the first in a series, but I’ll get to my reasoning later.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone.
When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.
Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.
From the publisher, Delacorte Press, a division of Random House of Canada
SPOILER ALERT—Read on at your own risk
The novel begins incredibly intriguing—a mysterious maze, mysterious deliveries of children, and evil monsters that come out at night. The reader is just as clueless as the characters, which made for good suspense in the beginning. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the reveal was too drawn out and unsatisfactory. I felt my interest starting to wane as answers were withheld longer and longer.
Because The Maze Runner is the first in a series, they introduce a huge cliffhanger at the end instead of giving the reader a satisfying, stand-alone ending with minor intrigue. I think that’s what Hunger Games did so well; the book was stand-alone, but you knew that it was only the beginning in a larger conflict. Also, when a novel is written intentionally as a trilogy or series, I find that it often detracts from the storytelling at hand. By trying too hard to hook the reader into the series as a whole, the individual story falls a bit flat. In The Maze Runner, the final chapters could have been better as an epilogue, or teaser chapters for the next novel. In terms of finale, I felt let down after a satisfying level of suspense through the novel.
The relationship between Thomas and Teresa is hard to comment on. While reading, their interactions felt natural and complementary. However, I wasn’t left feeling strongly about either of the characters. I suppose the subsequent books answer the question of “Why these two kids”—besides the fact that they’re intelligent. But due to the crucial role both Tom and Teresa play in the novel, I wanted more in the way of answers.
END SPOILER ALERT
Overall, I enjoyed reading the book even with the let down I felt by the last few chapters. If I had time, I would consider reading the series: two sequels, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, and the prequel The Kill Order.
However, after seeing some still images from director Wes Ball’s adaptation of The Maze Runner, I am further intrigued by the movie. But honestly, there have been so many fantasy / post-apocalyptic YA adaptations that I am getting a bit tired of it.