Maze Runner – Young Adult

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Audio version)
A co-worker of my husband’s recommended this book to me after learning that I enjoyed “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. He also happens to be friends with the author. Although this book hasn’t made my “books I must own” list yet, (as the Hunger Games books have) it was an intriguing read.
“The Maze Runner” is like “The Hunger Games” meets “Lord of the Flies” with a little bit of “Lost” mixed in. It’s about a group of boys who, one by one, get dropped into the middle of a maze without any memory of who they are, where they come from or what happened to get them here. They just remember a name. The main character, who remembers the name Thomas, shows up one day in “the box” with no memory, surrounded by a group of teenage boys. These boys have created a society in which they survive together by each doing their part. Some boys are cooks, some are farmers, some slaughter the animals, and all of these groups have new terms the boys made up to describe their job occupation like Sloppers. But one elite group of boys are called “Runners”. These “Runners” enter the maze daily making it back to their homestead, called “The Glade”, before nightfall when the “Doors” close. The “Doors” are huge walls that move into place closing off the maze for the night where disturbing mechanical creatures called “Grievers” roam. The point of the “Runners” is to solve the maze. Each day they go out in hopes to discover the answer, and each day they return to the Glade to map out their findings. As the walls in the maze move every night, they attempt to find patterns to help them solve how to get out of the maze. If they are caught outside the “Doors” at night, they are stuck with the “Grievers” and are considered dead. Coming in contact with the “Grievers” either means death or being “stung”. If you’re “stung” you go through a painful process called “The Changing” where you regain some of your memories before they fade and you experience some insanity. Of course, no one has ever survived a night outside in the maze and no one has been willing to talk about what they remember after going through the “Changing”. No one, until Thomas. He’s different somehow and after surviving a night in the maze in hopes of saving one of the other boys who got stuck out there he eventually rises quickly through the ranks to make it as a Runner. One day after Thomas arrives ,a girl arrives in the “box” with a message that everything is about to change. Somehow she triggers “The Ending”, and when the sun goes out and the “Doors” stop closing, the “Grievers” begin to pick everyone off one by one. After 2 years of searching the maze before Thomas even arrived, they have to solve the maze now or face the grievers but those who have gone through the “Changing” seem to believe that the real world is much worse than the maze they live in.
I listened to the audio version of this book. The speaker was extraordinary with his ability to give each boy, aka “Glader”, a voice of his own. The author provided a very descriptive story with a lot of mystery and questions unanswered which works just fine considering “The Maze Runner” is the first of three books to come out. The end of the book leaves you wanting to know more about “what happened to the world Thomas and the other boys came from?” and of course “who built the maze and why?” I’ll be looking forward to reading the future books.

-Erica S

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ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

I guarantee that 95% of you will hate this book, and at least 70% of you will hate it enough to not finish it, but I loved it. Guess I was just in the mood for it. Here’s how it breaks down:

AMAZING THINGS:


I can literally feel new wrinkles spreading across the surface of my brain when I read this guy. He’s so wicked smart that there’s no chance he’s completely sane. His adjectives and descriptions are 100% PERFECT, and yet entirely nonsensical. After reading three chapters, it starts making sense… and that’s when you realize you’re probably crazy, too. And you are. We all are.

The magical realism style of the book is DELICIOUS. Sure, it’s an epic tragedy following a long line of familial insanity, but that doesn’t stop the people from eating dirt, coming back from the dead, spreading a plague of contagious insomnia, or enjoying a nice thunderstorm of yellow flowers. It’s all presented in such a natural light that you think, “Of course. Of course he grows aquatic plants in his false teeth. Now why wouldn’t he?”

This guy is the epitome of unique. Give me a single sentence, ANY SENTENCE the man has ever written, and I will recognize it. Nobody writes like him. (Also, his sentences average about 1,438 words each, so pretty much it’s either him or Faulkner)

REASONS WHY MOST OF YOU WILL HATE THIS BOOK:


I have to engage every ounce of my mental ability just to understand what the *&#@ is going on! Most people who read for relaxation and entertainment will want to send Marquez hate mail.

Also, there are approximately 20 main characters and about 4 names that they all share. I realize that’s probably realistic in Latino cultures of the era, but SERIOUSLY, by the time you get to the sixth character named Aureliano, you’ll have to draw yourself a diagram. Not even the classic Russians suffer from as much name-confusion as this guy.

On an uber-disturbing note, Marquez has once again (as he did in Love in the Time of Cholera) written a grown man having sex with a young girl–this time at the ripe old age of 9… which is pretty much #1 on my list of “Things That Make You Go EWW!!!” He Pretty much makes Lolita look like Polyanna on the virtue chart! (Note to authors: You give ONE of your characters a unique, but disgusting characteristic and it’s good writing. Give it to more than one, and we start thinking we’re reading your psychological profile, ya creep!)

Bottom line – if you feel like pushing your brain to its max, read it. The man did when the Nobel after all, it’s amazing. But get ready to work harder to understand something than you ever have before in your life. And may God be with you.

FAVORITE QUOTES: (coincidentally also the shortest ones in the book)

She had the rare virtue of never existing completely except at the opportune moment.

He soon acquired the forlorn look that one sees in vegetarians.

Children inherit their parents’ madness.

He really had been through death, but he had returned because he could not bear the solitude.

The air was so damp that fish could have come in through the doors and swum out the windows.

He was unable to bear in his soul the crushing weight of so much past.

A person doesn’t die when he should but when he can.

-Meg G.

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The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Audio version)

A co-worker of my husband’s recommended this book to me after learning that I enjoyed “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. He also happens to be friends with the author. Although this book hasn’t made my “books I must own” list yet, (as the Hunger Games books have) it was an intriguing read. “The Maze Runner” is like “The Hunger Games” meets “Lord of the Flies” with a little bit of “Lost” mixed in. It’s about a group of boys who, one by one, get dropped into the middle of a maze without any memory of who they are, where they come from or what happened to get them here. They just remember a name. The main character, who remembers the name Thomas, shows up one day in “the box” with no memory, surrounded by a group of teenage boys. These boys have created a society in which they survive together by each doing their part. Some boys are cooks, some are farmers, some slaughter the animals, and all of these groups have new terms the boys made up to describe their job occupation like Sloppers. But one elite group of boys are called “Runners”. These “Runners” enter the maze daily making it back to their homestead, called “The Glade”, before nightfall when the “Doors” close. The “Doors” are huge walls that move into place closing off the maze for the night where disturbing mechanical creatures called “Grievers” roam. The point of the “Runners” is to solve the maze. Each day they go out in hopes to discover the answer, and each day they return to the Glade to map out their findings. As the walls in the maze move every night, they attempt to find patterns to help them solve how to get out of the maze. If they are caught outside the “Doors” at night, they are stuck with the “Grievers” and are considered dead. Coming in contact with the “Grievers” either means death or being “stung”. If you’re “stung” you go through a painful process called “The Changing” where you regain some of your memories before they fade and you experience some insanity. Of course, no one has ever survived a night outside in the maze and no one has been willing to talk about what they remember after going through the “Changing”. No one, until Thomas. He’s different somehow and after surviving a night in the maze in hopes of saving one of the other boys who got stuck out there he eventually rises quickly through the ranks to make it as a Runner. One day after Thomas arrives ,a girl arrives in the “box” with a message that everything is about to change. Somehow she triggers “The Ending”, and when the sun goes out and the “Doors” stop closing, the “Grievers” begin to pick everyone off one by one. After 2 years of searching the maze before Thomas even arrived, they have to solve the maze now or face the grievers but those who have gone through the “Changing” seem to believe that the real world is much worse than the maze they live in. I listened to the audio version of this book. The speaker was extraordinary with his ability to give each boy, aka “Glader”, a voice of his own. The author provided a very descriptive story with a lot of mystery and questions unanswered which works just fine considering “The Maze Runner” is the first of three books to come out. The end of the book leaves you wanting to know more about “what happened to the world Thomas and the other boys came from?” and of course “who built the maze and why?” I’ll be looking forward to reading the future books.
-Erica S.

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