Review – The Maze Runner

I read glowing reviews about the Maze Runner, by James Dashner, so when I picked it up and began reading, I was surprised and disappointed by the quality of writing I found therein.

Though the plot was quick paced and well-planned; it keeps the reader turning the page. The writing is confusing. Filled with clichés, lousy scene description, simplistic language that strives to be sophisticated and the frustrating lack of an ending only served to frustrate this reader.

The story is told from the point of view of Thomas, a sixteen year old who is brought into the ‘Glade’. A large outdoor structure, surrounded by an endless maze. Along with several other children from twelve to seventeen, they struggle to find out why they are there and to survive attacks by ‘grievers’.

The language is simplistic, as if the young adult audience could not read beyond the sixth grade level.

Tears filled his eyes, but he refused to let them come.

Few sentences within the book are more complicated than that.

And then there are spots in which the author seems confused. As if he’s unsure about scene elements.

He stood up and walked past Chuck toward the old building; shack was a better word for the place. It looked three or four stories high…

Either the narrator doesn’t know how to count or the supposed genius child, Thomas doesn’t. Either way, it’s obvious someone forgot their math on this particular day and it doesn’t bode well for a protagonist or his friends if he cannot count past three.

We find out later, the character is supposed to be super intelligent, but by his behaviors, it’s not quite believable. Even in a world of suspended disbelief, you cannot make an idiot child look super intelligent–unless of course, you write it that way.

And more confusing:

He was consumed with curiosity but still felt too ill to look closely at his surroundings. His new companions said nothing as he swiveled his head around, trying to take it all in.

Conflicting ideas here. In the first sentence of this paragraph, he’s too ill to look at surroundings, but in the next he’s attempting to take it all in. I think perhaps within this short space of type the author forgot what was supposed to happen.

Worse, to find a resolution to the questions the story poses you have to read through the whole trilogy. In the end, the books feel more like a marketing ploy than good story-telling.

 

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