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.