“The Maze Runner” by James Dashner : Review


The Maze Runner
by James Dashner

My rating: 2 of 5 starsSomething bugged me about this book from the get-go but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I’d read the first few chapters – the writing is a let-down. Instead of being transported into another world and completely feeling like I understand the character’s experience and emotions, I felt as though I was reading a book about things that were happening to someone that I didn’t feel a connection with. There was minimal character development and only basic descriptions of the events happening around the characters – “Thomas did this.” “Then this happened.” “Thomas felt this.”

I understand that some writing styles leave the characters largely like a blank canvas and it’s up to the reader to fill them in but I felt like if that was what Dashner was aiming for, it didn’t translate well. In addition, the similar-but-not-exactly-the-same swear words used amongst the boys was irritating. I found it to be distracting and wished Dashner had just bit the bullet and used the actual word, especially when the fake words imitate the real ones so closely (e.g “shuck”).

Nevertheless, the plot was great – mysterious and intriguing enough to keep me reading. The basic writing meant I raced through it quite quickly (an upside of the style, perhaps?).

Overall, I give kudos to Dashner for the idea behind the plot but the book felt like it was written as a movie script. I might see the movie but I doubt I’ll follow up the rest of the series. A little disappointing but I would still recommend it if you’re after a relatively strong plot that grabs your curiosity – just don’t expect to be pulled in by the writing.

Has anyone seen the movie and want to share their thoughts? Given I felt it read like a script, maybe it translates better on the screen?

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Jacquie is a 20-something maker and writer from Melbourne. She enjoys eating virtually anything that is labelled salted caramel and, contrary to popular belief, has forgotten how to ride a bike. She feels ambivalent about writing in the third person but thought it might be fun. It was.

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