Dec 05 2014
Review of an A-maze-ing Book
Slam, creak, clink, boom! Utter darkness, you stand up, blinding light, above is a group of boys who say, “Welcome to the glade greenie.” This is the situation that opens The Maze Runner, a global bestseller since October 6, 2009 when it was acquired from the Author, James Dashner by Delacourte Publishing. This dystopia novel is perfectly in line with many of its genre’s contemporaries, while examining the importance of memory on identity.
Thomas, the books protagonist awakens inside of a darkened elevator, remembering only one thing, his name. Finally, when the elevator is opened, Thomas is greeted by 50 boys, none of whom remember anything from before except for their names, and their time spent living in the Glade (Where the boys live) since they arrived. Surrounding the Glade are 200 foot tall stone walls that open to an ever-changing maze during the day and a close to protect the citizens of the Glade at night. During the day, the boys run their small society, while an elite group of “Maze Runners” explore the depths of the maze in hopes of finding a means of escape. Meanwhile the “creators” observe the boy’s every movement through small robotic lizard called beetle blades. While in the glade Thomas and his new friends try to escape the maze, and learn about who they are in the process.
Without memories, the characters are forced to figure out who they are through day to day interactions. With no identity, characters are often questioning who they are, and if they are be doing what they would have done before the memory wipe. In addition, this aspect of memory loss is intentional, how could it not be? This allows for a deeper level of understanding of the characters, because no character is static. Every character introduced is dynamic out of necessity, further making The Maze Runner a great read.
This novel takes an original approach towards the dystopian worlds. In every dystopia people have life experience and a sense of moral that define who they are and how they react to situations. Tomas starts out as a blank sheet. Every choice that he makes through the novel is because of the ideas’ that he is forged and tempered with within the maze, providing the novel with a unique sense of depth due to understanding the character so well that the justification of “why” the character is who he is obvious.
The Maze Runner is a wonderful piece of literature that Divergent and Hunger Games enthusiasts must read. James Dashner’s book has both created and defined his career. Dystopian literature can only hope is that he will continue to write literature that can remain fast-paced while providing a level of profound thinking and character relatability that make The Maze Runner, the must-read book of the decade.