I’d stumbled across James Dashner’s The Maze Runner a few times while browsing the Young Adult and Bestselling shelves, but never seemed to be pulled to it enough to read it. I did find the synopsis of a young man waking up in the middle of a maze without any memories intriguing, but there always seemed to be something else catching my eye. When 20th Century Fox deemed the movie adaptation a worthwhile investment, I decided it would be a good choice for my next Audible pick of the month.
Here is the official synopsis from Amazon.com:
If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.
The narration for the audiobook was performed by Mark Deakins, who has done many. He did very well changing between the different accents of the boys. There were only a few times where I wondered if he forgot for a moment who he was speaking as due to a waver in his voice. I may have been spoiled by the BBC Radio performances, because I would have preferred to have a multi-voice cast for this book, especially when the girl begins to speak. I don’t think he quite captured her personality. He made her seem really flat…or maybe that was Dashner’s writing?
As I mentioned before, the whole concept of a giant maze and the main character waking up without his memories was intriguing. Along the way, Dashner threw in interesting details about the creatures that lived in the maze and the daily routines of the boys that lived at the center of the maze, and I felt the need to read on just so I could put all the pieces together and find the origin of this strange puzzle.
In between, however, I found myself getting frustrated. There was question after question, after question and it felt like every question was answered with a question. It seemed like the depth of the characters was sacrificed just so Dashner could move the story forward. It got to the point where I could really care less about Thomas or the girl as people.
Also, the slang the boys used felt very juvenile, too juvenile for Young Adult. Every time I heard “klunk”, I imagined the character as a 10 year-old boy trying to act tough on the playground. It just didn’t work for me.
At times, I wanted to skip ahead, because the answer to Thomas’s current problems are so obvious that it isn’t worth the extra chapter or two for the characters to figure it out themselves. Still, I listened all the way to the end in hopes of a big reveal that would answer everything. I should have known I would be disappointed. I won’t ruin the ending, but I will say that I expected a more significant resolution for the book.
The Maze Runner has 4.5 stars on Amazon and over 4,000 reviews, so there are readers who love it and you may too. I still haven’t decided if the story so far is enough for me to move on to the next book in the series. I guess it will depend on my mood and my pocketbook.