Book 8-9-10- The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner

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This is another book trilogy which is targeted at teenagers and young adults, for the most part – I definitively don’t fall into that category but for some reason I love this stuff. And like most other popular book trilogies, this too has been turned into a couple of movies – two so far have been in the theaters the long wait is for the last part in the trilogy (or maybe the last book will be turned into two movies which will be shown in theaters a year apart, since that is what they have been doing these last couple of years with all of the stories which consist of multiple parts).

First things first, what I really wanted to mention is the fact that the main character is a boy, sixteen year old Thomas or at least that might be his age he’s not sure since he doesn’t have his memories after all. Lately most popular books were written from a girls perspective, one of my favorites being of course the very flawed Katniss Everdeen and there was Triss in Divergent. And who can forget Bella from Twilight? Reading a story from a boy’s perspective was different. Of course we had Harry Potter but that was quite a few years ago, and since then a lot of books had strong female characters. In this book it takes a loooonnggg time before the first female character actually enters the story – literally a long time.

Take note, I’m reviewing three books so naturally there will be spoilers how else am I supposed to review three books in a row?

The Maze Runner

Thomas wakes up, in an unfamiliar place – a sort of box which brings him to the surface – the Glade. A walled in environment in the center of a maze, where a group of boys live and survival is what they do each and every day. Thomas has no idea who he is or how he got here, he’s lost his memories as have all the other boys. Some of them have been at the Glade for as long as two years. But all he can do is adjust to life in the Glade and find his place in the group of boys. However Thomas doesn’t stay the new kid for very long, soon after he arrives the box comes up again but instead of a boy there is a girl inside. The first girl, Teresa. And she claims she knows Thomas, she has a message which doesn’t make much sense ‘Wicked is good’.

Thomas is intrigued with the maze but the only way to enter it is if he becomes a runner. With the help of Minho Thomas becomes one of the maze runners and together they go out each day to explore and hopefully eventually find the exit of the maze. Afterall finding the exit of the maze would mean the end of their life in the Glade and freedom.

The Scorch Trails

Eventually they escape the Glade and the maze, but this is only just the start and they have no idea what’s ahead of them but it certainly isn’t freedom. Wicked – the organisation which put them in the Glade – won’t let them go, escaping the maze is merely the end of phase one and phase two is about to start. They are told that they have two weeks to make it across the Scorch, a vast and dead landscape but they are not alone. When they wake up in the dormitory where they ended up after their escape they find that Teresa has disappeared and instead there is a boy named Aris. He tells them a similar story of how he ended up in a group of girls and they too escaped their maze. A man who works for Wicked tells them that the earth has been ravaged by solar flares and that people have caught a very contagious disease which turns them into zombi-like creatures called cranks. And that they might have the disease as well but if they make it across the Scorch in two weeks time the cure awaits for them at the safe haven. With no other choice Thomas, Aris and the surviving Gladers leave the dormitory and try to find their way across the Scorch to find the safe haven.

The Death Cure

Okay, for those who are wondering how the hell I suddenly managed to read a book in two days. I didn’t. It’s the truth I didn’t read it myself. I actually listened to the audiobook. I was painting the walls and ceiling of my bathroom and I decided that it would be a good time to listen to an audiobook and it worked out quite well. I finished almost half of the book by the time I was finished with the painting. And I listened to part of it while I was driving home to my parents and that is how you work through a story in a matter of hours instead of in my case months of weeks. So let’s get on with the review.

Once again making it across the Scorch and even more important surviving wasn’t the end of their troubles. The groups are ‘saved’ by Wicked and brought to Wicked HQ. Once there Thomas is kept in a room for almost four weeks before he’s allowed to return to his friends. He’s told that he’s immune to the Flare (as the disease is called) but that some of his friends are not. In order for Wicked to show the teenagers that they really are who they say they are they want to give them their memories back. However Thomas and some of the others refuse to get them back because they don’t trust Wicked. Thomas and a small group of his friends escape and flee to Denver, one of the few remaining cities in search for answers which eventually bring them back to Wicked and a frantic race against the clock.

In conclusion

What did I think of this story, these books?

Honestly, I certainly enjoyed myself while reading the story of Thomas and his friends trying to get away from Wicked. But to me Thomas wasn’t as interesting a character as Katniss is, which in turn means that I was less invested in the story. I can’t really explain it but when I was reading The Hunger Games the story pulled me in so many different directions emotionally speaking that it changed the whole experience and with Thomas that simply wasn’t the case.

Even while there is a lot of comparison between the two stories. In both stories kids are being used / abused by the government / a company in one case for pure entertainment and punishment and in the other case to find a cure for a disease that was man-made. So in that regard there is a lot these series have in common. But there is little character development in this story which means that you don’t care so much for the characters. Another similarity between The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games is the friendship between Thomas and Chuck and Katniss and Rue. And while both end tragically I literally cried when Rue was killed but with Chuck all I could think was okay that happened and I continued reading the next chapter.

It simply didn’t have the same effect because I didn’t feel for these characters what I should have felt for them at that point in the story.

So are the books entertaining – yes. Does the story have promise – certainly. Would you recommend them? That depends, if the other person has read The Hunger Games I wouldn’t recommend this story. If they never read The Hunger Games I would tell them to read this first followed by The Hunger Games. That might work, but only if I know for certain that the other person loves reading. If I’m not sure however The Hunger Games will always be my first choice.

These three books conclude my year of reading. And as you might have gathered I certainly didn’t reach my goal for this years reading challenge. Better next year, I guess. Hope to see you then.

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