The Maze Runner by James Dashner is already a popular novel and film, so after watching it and falling completely in love I decided it was time to read it too. I was excited to get into this book, hoping that, as a dystopian fiction, it would be somewhat similar to The Hunger Games. From the start of the novel it is clear that this small civilisation of boys is not what it seems. The structure and order Newt and Alby bring to their lives is clearly clouded by a sinister air that clings between the lines on the page, making you want to read on.
The concept as a whole is a new take on dystopia – a breath of fresh air from the typical tyranny of a government. To see science-fiction taken to heights that may suggest natural disaster on an unprecedented scale was original and exciting. Adding to this was the constant reminder of survival of the fittest that ruled the boys’ lives. Although you weren’t immediately sure what they were trying to endure, as the Grievers remained only the surface of the problem, the hints at the Creators made the story ever more exciting. What I found most captivating about the novel was the clear picture of life in the Glade. I always enjoy a story that explains how life runs and lets you relate to the similarities. The Maze Runner combines this with major events that break up the mundane, having your fear for the life of the characters you have grown to love.
Thomas, the protagonist, was immediately a likeable character and throughout the novel I was willing him to survive, along with his new friend Chuck. I was also drawn to the hard yet empathetic Newt (but maybe that was because he was played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster!). A mixture between likeable and loath-able characters tugged at your heart strings and layered the sense of danger alongside the outside threat.
Unfortunately for me, having watched the film first, I got a little bit lost in the middle. Whilst I enjoyed reading and found it no effort at all I couldn’t help but think back to the screen adaptation, which I had enjoyed so much to begin with. This, however, is no indication of how good the book is. Instead, I wish the film could’ve stuck to the book narrative, which turned out to be more exciting than I was expecting. The end of the novel redeemed it for me. The sense of community and sacrifice grew as the Gladers attempted to solve the puzzle they needed to win, which peaked my interest and unfolded with innovative and captivating methods. The ending, which I will keep a secret for anyone who has not read or watched, made me want to continue straight onto the next book, which I will certainly be picking up in the future.
Overall, I really enjoyed the novel. Whilst it was not my favourite dystopian fiction, it was an original blend of dystopian sci-fi with a never seen before concept. The combination of a clear world that differed from our own, an impending sense of doom amongst the hope, and the lovable characters that created a community I almost wished I could be a part of, would certainly make me recommend this to anyone who wanted an easy and fun read.