Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Maze Runner by James Dashner: Review

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Chicken House
Buy this book: Amazon / Book Depository

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
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



Warning: This is more rant than review. I couldn't help myself. If you like the book then it's probably best to just click off this review right now. It's not going to be pretty. 

My feelings in one gif:

I first wrote my straight after finishing the book, which was a mistake. It was 100% more rant than review, which is never a good thing. So I have tried to tone it down a little. But, if you follow the blog at all, you'll know that I don't really hold back when I review books. If I love it then I am going to full on gush, if I hate it then I am going to full on rant.


I have some important questions to ask. 1.What the actual f**k did I just read? 2. How in the world does this have an average rating of 4.02 on Goodreads? I'm sorry to everyone that loved the book, but I honestly don't understand all the love and praise that this book gets. If I was only allowed to pick one word to describe this book then I would pick terrible. Everything about it seemed terrible to me, from the plot to the characters, from the pacing to the general writing. The part that depresses me the most is the fact that this could have been an amazing book if someone else had written it. 

What I would have been like if I was Thomas.
I didn't hate the book in the beginning, I was actually quite enjoying it. The mystery element to it keeps you reading and wanting to know what will happen next. Thomas arrives in the Glade with absolutely no memories of who he is and where he come from, the only thing he knows is his name. He's not alone though, he's met by a group of teenage boys who all arrived in the Glade the same way. Some have been there for two years and they have yet to figure out a way to get out of the Maze that surrounds the Glade. Thomas learns about Grievers, which I can't even begin to describe because I still don't understand what they are supposed to look like, who are apparently scary and a risk to everyone. I was kept reading by the fact I wanted answers, I wanted to find out why Thomas and the other boys were in the Maze. I needed to know how they got out and I needed to know why they were there in the first place.

My first issue with the book, and an issue I know a lot of other people had, was the awful slang that the boys use. It's never really explained why they come up with the slang? That is a question I would like answered. Who thought klunk was a good word to use instead of s**t? Who thought that shuck would be an insulting word to call someone? Those people are stupid, the words are irritating and they were ruining my reading experience. These are teenage boys, not five year olds. Just say s**t! Every time I saw the word klunk, I just had to see it as s**t in my head, otherwise it would actually have caused me to DNF. Stupid shucks!

The next issue I had was that the mystery element to the book starts to wear very thin. Mainly because no one will tell Thomas anything. That is frustrating for Thomas of course, but it's absolutely infuriating to have to read. There's no reason for them not to just tell Thomas everything when he arrives, instead it's drip fed to him over the course of the whole book. Key things are told to him slowly as a way to move the plot along. But it all feels really pointless, why couldn't they just tell him everything when he arrived. Instead they keep telling him to shut up and stop asking questions.

The maze itself has so little mystery to it and isn't very scary, I didn't understand why the kids made such a big deal out of it. The Grievers rarely come out during the day and the doors to the maze close at night so they can't get them. The maze itself contains nothing but walls, some of which move at night and then the Grievers. That's it. Nothing else. How dull! The trailer for the film made it all seem so much scarier than that, so I was pretty disappointed. The Grievers were the worst monster baddies I have come across as well, they're not scary. Was anyone scared of them? I kept trying to picture them in my head but it just resulted in me laughing. I even had to look at fan art to try and get some idea and it was just how I had imagined it in my head. That just got me laughing harder.

Characters are really important to me, if I don't feel anything for the characters then it makes it hard for me to enjoy the book. The Maze Runner was a book where the action seemed to take number one spot and everything else didn't matter. There wasn't much character growth to Thomas and the other characters just felt one dimensional. There were a lot of characters that I wanted to know more about or see more of, but it never really happened. Thomas himself was a disappointment because we're mostly told how he feels and never really shown it. I really hate stories that are all tell and no show.

The book was going really well until Thomas had to spend a night in the maze. That's when it all began to fall apart. A girl enters the maze and that throws in an element that I wasn't expecting and just left me quite confused. Then as the book goes on we see more and more plot holes arise and that always bugs me. The most glaringly obvious being the fact that we are shown at one point that the Grievers can climb. But they never climb over the maze walls at night, which they could easily do, and then kill anyone. See what I mean, those guys just aren't scar and don't seem like a real threat to the people of the Glade.

When the reason for the maze is finally revealed.
I continued to the end of the book because I needed answers. I had to know why they were in the maze and what the point of it was. Well I made it to the end, I got my answers and they didn't make any sense. Honestly, I still don't understand the point of it all. I'm going to have to go into some spoilers here so if you want to read just highlight it. I'm supposed to believe they put the best and the brightest in the maze and yet it took them two years and one guy showing up for them to actually get out the maze. Clearly they're not that bright. And how does the maze prepare them to come out and do anything about the flare. Are you serious?!? They have been doing nothing for two years other than running around a maze and calling each other shuck-faces. I also need to comment on the fact that Teresa was the most boring character. She just shows up and can conveniently has a telepathic link to Thomas, thus allowing her to reveal certain things about the maze to him. 


2/5 Butterflies

I was going to give this a 3/5, but the more I thought about the book the more angry I got. I felt cheated by the time I reached the end of the book. I'd read the whole thing so that I could finally get some answers and then the answers I got were just dumb. I got 0 character development and  didn't really come to care about any of them. I didn't even blink when characters started dying. This book isn't ridiculously awful, I'd probably recommend it to younger kids. But if you're a lot older and have read any decent dystopians then I honestly wouldn't be recommending it. There are much better stories out there with a lot more to offer. Even the cliffhanger style ending wasn't enough to make me at all interested in reading the rest of the series.

I spoke to my sister about the book. I bought her the trilogy last Christmas and she read it. She said she quite liked the first book, though she did admit the writing wasn't too great. She told me that the second one was hard to get through and she had to DNF the final book because she just couldn't finish. This makes me feel better about continuing, especially since she said the plot holes just get bigger and the answers you get aren't satisfying. 



28 comments:

  1. I find your review really interesting as someone who hasn't read the book but has seen the movie (which had elements I liked and elements I disliked). I appreciate that you brought up the issue of the "slang" that substitutes for profanity, because I was SO confused when I was watching the movie...I kept thinking I had just heard them mispronounce something. Personally I liked Thomas in the movie, but I agree with your frustration of the fact that it took him showing up in the maze after 2+ years for anyone to do anything about getting out...and these kids are supposed to be future warriors/saviors....I thought the movie was decent as a dystopian, but I just didn't feel enough of a pull to pursue reading the novels (though I'll probably see the next movie). I think you're right about the age demographic it would be better suited to- I think I would've been more impressed by it when I was a younger teen and hadn't read so many other dystopians.

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    1. I'm kind of disappointed that they kept the slang in for the movie. It is going to really bug me when I am watching it.

      I am hoping I like movie Thomas way more than book Thomas. He isn't a bad character, it's just that I didn't feel like he had much of a personality in this.

      I think I will see the movies but I am not going to be continuing the book series.

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  2. Okay you just proved to me that it isn't just me, phew! I am so relieved to see this review because I just couldn't get into this! I have tried twice now and I still can't but all those fabulous reviews had me thinking that something was wrong with me! I am so glad that it isn't just me and that maybe this book isn't super wonderful after all.

    I know that sounded harsh but I hate it when books have great reviews and then I try them and just can't like it let alone love it.

    I do want to see the move though because I love Dylan. :P

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    1. YAY!!! Oh thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I was so scared for this review to go live because I felt like I was going to get a lot of hate. I feel like everybody loves this series except for me, so it's nice to know it's not just me.

      I want to see the movie as well. Mainly because my sister said she enjoyed it more and that they got rid of the stupid telepathic element! Haha.

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  3. I know! This is such a hyped up book for no good reason. I actually kept going and read the whole trilogy, hoping I was wrong about the first book and that it got better. Spoiler alert: it doesn't. What your sister said about there being more plot holes and more unanswered questions is absolutely right. Heck, the end of the series is one great "wth". I wish I hadn't spent time reading these books, but alas, I did.

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    1. I am just going to cheat and look up the entire plots for the next two books so I can see what they come up with. I am so happy to find so many others who felt the same way, it's nice to not be the only person who didn't enjoy it. You're making me feel a lot better about the decision to not continue the series.

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  4. I had a similar reaction after reading it two years ago. It felt like the book consisted only of descriptions + fighting scenes + Thomas being confused. What a disappointment.

    To be honest, I only read it a year or so ago because I've heard Dylan O'Brian (my husbando :P) was casted as the main character, so I was curious.
    At least I watched the movie; it was solid enough and the acting and special effects were great.

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    1. That's good to hear, because I am planning to still see the movie! It's nice to know I am not the only one who doesn't like the book though.

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  5. Wow, I see your point on rant, but yes, I can totally understand you're disliking of this novel. While we don't *always* agree on books, I will take your word for this because I'm not brave enough to try it. The whole thing seems, well, crazy and not in a good way for sure.. Great review though, nail on head, good on you!

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    1. I know, and I even went over it again and tried to make it less ranty. But I failed, clearly. It really upset me that I didn't love this because I bought the whole box set. I felt sure it was going to be amazing and then it just wasn't! SUCKS!

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  6. I did like this book to be fair but with a lot of your points I do see where you are coming from. Especially the part about the slang and it taking so long for them to solve. But each to their own, I know this book is really hit and miss with people :)

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    1. I know, I'd seen nothing but glowing reviews so it was pretty scary to post my review. The slang was something that really got to me the whole time I was reading it.

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  7. I didn't like this book either!!! I decided to read it when it got closer to the movie released because I like reading the books first. It took me almost 2 weeks to get through. TWO WEEKS. It was so boring and I found that I didn't care. Don't even get me started on the ending. I still don't even understand how they got out. The exit made no sense and was incredibly hard to visualize. I don't get what the whole point of the maze was either. How will this prepare them for the real world? Ugh. I kind of want to read the next book just to see if it's any better but I have little to no hope that it will be. I went and saw the movie and loved it! It was infinitely better than the book. If you haven't seen it, you should. Every plot hole the book had the movie producers fixed. There were actually thrilling moments in the movie and the ending was completely different, thank the lord. I did a book vs movie review if you want to see why the movie was better! http://thebookishdaydreamer.com/book-movie-review-the-maze-runner/

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    1. Haha, I am loving just how many people didn't like this book. It's really nice to know that I wasn't alone. I just had so many issues with it and it was hard to see past them. I might just look up what happens in the next two books, my sister said they get worse as they go on, haha.

      I am happy that you enjoyed the movie, that gives me hope!!! I really hope I like the movie myself.

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  8. Fantastic review and can I say that personally I love your rant-filled reviews as they are just sooooooo entertaining. I have the set of these to read but I have no intention of doing so any time soon as the slang thing sounds like it would annoy me just as much as it did you.

    I'm been having a seriously naff week this week, full of doom and gloom but reading this made me giggle for the first time in a week and I heartily thank you for it!

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    1. Haha, thank you! I'm glad people enjoy them then, because I actually really enjoy writing them. It almost makes up for the hours I wasted on this book.

      I am glad I could make you giggle, especially since you have had a bad week. I hope next week is a lot better for you! :)

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  9. You nailed it! I read this a few years ago and the mystery element is what kept me going, but I got to the ending and was so totally angry that I refused to pick up any of the other books.

    Emily @ Follow the Yellow Book Road

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    1. At least I'm not the only one. I just felt completely let down by the reveal at the end, mostly because it didn't make any sense. I won't be continuing either, especially since the plot holes just get bigger apparently.

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  10. This is one of those times when I wish blogger would let you insert GIFs into comments (*coughs*) because I so badly want to include a GIF of people giving you a standing ovation. ;) I feel like I'm the only one who didn't like this, so I am SO glad to find your review! <3 I completely agree with everything you've said here. I felt Thomas was more of a convince in that he happened to remember things all the time, and the "suspense" was just annoying rather than being... suspenseful.

    Are you going to watch the movie? Thanks for sharing and, as always, FABULOUS review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. Haha! I know, Blogger needs to hurry up and fix that ;) Gifs in comments would make my day! I am so happy I decided not to hold back on my review, part of me was scared. I felt like I was the only one who didn't enjoy it. It's so nice to find so many others who didn't.

      I am thinking of seeing the movie because other people who hated the book ended up loving the film. So I think it's worth giving it a try.

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  11. Aww it's a shame you didn't like this! I read the books like, two years ago so I can't remember a lot of things but I remember liking some characters - I think Newt and Minho, and liking the story enough to continue with the series. In the end I remember this book as being the worst of the trio, and the prequel as being the best. I know there isn't much character development, but I think it's because the plot gets main part in this story. And if you didn't get the creepiness of the Grievers than I completely understand why you hate it. Aww well. If you do choose to see the movie, I hope you enjoy that at least!

    http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/10/sedich-review-giveaway.html

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    1. I liked them as well, but never felt like I really got to know them in book one. That's why I wish there had been time for more character development and time to actually come to know the characters. It all felt rushed and yet nothing really happened for so long. Yeah, the Grievers did not scare me at all. They sounded like giant slugs with metal contraptions coming out of them, haha.

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  12. "Who thought klunk was a good word to use instead of s**t? Who thought that shuck would be an insulting word to call someone? Those people are stupid, the words are irritating and they were ruining my reading experience. These are teenage boys, not five year olds. Just say s**t!"
    .....to be 100% honest....
    My brother is secondary school and some of the silliness that comes out of his mouth is exactly like that. Like 'spud', which is what you say when you knock fists with someone, or 'par' like when somebody's been dissed, ignored or humiliated, or 'moist' when you feel embarrassed. So I'd say in that regard, this book is a realistic representation of real life XD

    "The most glaringly obvious being the fact that we are shown at one point that the Grievers can climb. But they never climb over the maze walls at night, which they could easily do, and then kill anyone."

    OOHHHH YES! I FORGOT TO TALK ABOUT THAT IN MY REVIEW! Ooooohhhhhh that pissed me off. I meant to talk about that. And the very end - the reason for it all, it was so very weak. Urgh. Anyway. I liked reading your review! Even if it only confirmed my fears. =P

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    1. Haha! I know but some of these kids are in their older teenage years. I have met a lot of teenagers that age, and I was that age once, and I would definitely have just said shit. They have no adult supervision and no one to tell them off for swearing. I just think it's more realistic that they would happily swear than say klunk.

      I do agree though, the stuff that comes out of my cousins mouth just makes me want to weep for humanity!

      SO WEAK! And it made 0 sense. And it annoyed me. And URGH! Ranting was needed, haha.

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  13. I definitely thought this was the best book of the three and I only gave it three stars. It was alright, but the rest of the series is even worse. I still don't know what really happened in the last book. :/

    I think one of my biggest problems was the Grievers because in my head they looked like a combination between a cow and a slug with sharp things sticking out of them - I don't think that was right!

    Anyway, yeah, I completely agree with your on review. It definitely doesn't deserve its four stars on GoodReads. Great review though. :)

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    1. I am going to just look up the plot for the next two books to see how bad they are. I am happy I decided not to continue then. I can't imagine having to read a worse book than this one, haha.

      I know, in my head they just looked like really unscary slugs with metal contraptions sticking out of them. They didn't seem intelligent or smart or like they could do any damage.

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  14. I remember reading this book a few years ago and just thinking it was ok. It was just so action packed and lacked character development that I never felt any connection to the characters and a lot of the time I didn't even know what was going on. Definitely made a better movie. ~Pam

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    1. Exactly, that's how I felt. The book is much more about the action than it is the characters. That works for some people but I need to be invested in the characters to be invested in the story. I really enjoyed the movie again, I'll be watching that again for sure.

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