I finally got around to reading The Maze Runner, the first of the trilogy by James Dashner.
It slots neatly into the trend of dystopian teen novels, and has been a huge seller, along with Divergent (excellent) and Hunger Games (if you haven’t heard of it, you’re not only living under a rock, you’re living under a really remote, subterranean one).
The book has a teenage boy as a protagonist, who at the beginning of the book wakes up with no memory of his past life, knowing only his name. He is in a place with other teens, in the middle of a giant, deadly maze.
Dashner does a great job of maintaining the suspense of the mystery, while advancing the plot. I was a little surprised at how violent the book is – this is definitely for older teens, considering how quickly the body count mounts. That same body count does a good job of illustrating what it’s like to make decisions when your decisions can get someone else hurt or killed, however, and is not purposeless.
In many ways the book reminds me of Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, which is one of my favorite sci-fi novels (see previous review). I will be reading the next two novels in the series, plus the recently released prequel, next, so I’ll let you know how they go.
I recommend this for anyone who likes the dystopian genre, although I would say that this is aimed, despite the violence, at a fourteen or fifteen year old, from the style of writing. If you have a teenager who loved Hunger Games or Divergent, or The Knife of Never Letting Go, this will probably hit the spot.