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The Maze Runner - James Dashner

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Author: James Dashner / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 04 August 2011 / Genre: Children's Science Fiction / Publisher: Chicken House Ltd / Title: The Maze Runner / ISBN 13: 9781908435132 / ISBN 10: 1908435132

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      07.03.2013 23:01
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      Good YA sci fi / fantasy / dystopian fiction

      The Maze Runner is the first part of a futuristic dystopian fantasy trilogy by James Dashner.

      The basic plot revolves around the main character Thomas who wakes up in a pitch dark metal box which seems to be transporting him somewhere. The problem is he has no recollection of anything prior to this point. He soon finds himself in the Glade, a walled farming community consisting of only teenage boys who all arrived in exactly the same way - each gradually over the past two years, and none of whom remember what happened either. At night, huge mechanical doors close, sealing off gaps in the walls and protecting them from the evil monsters that lay beyond the Glade in the Maze. But in the daytime the creatures retreat, the doors open, and the Maze runners have until sunset to map as much as the Maze as possible before the walls shift and change in the night. One day a girl turns up in the Glade instead of a boy, something which has never happened before and soon the doors stop closing at nigh time, putting the whole community in danger. Thomas has no choice but to risk his life and become a Maze Runner himself to help find a solution or see his new friends get killed one by one.

      The current fashion in young adult fantasy is for stories to be told in the first person by a female main character so I found it refreshing that this was not the case here. The story follows the main character Thomas in the third person narrative. I found him to be a bit dry at times but I can forgive this as it was his intended personality. The secondary characters are what really makes the story come alive and I found it really interesting to see the different roles that the various characters had within this self-governing group. I loved it how they has their own slang words which were used in speech which allowed the characters to use their own kind of swearing without actually resulting in a book full of swear words. This made the speech so much more believable than so many other young adult books which just omit this aspect completely so you are always half aware you are reading fictional speech.

      I have to admit that I avoided this book on a previous occasion as the characters are all teenagers and I was concerned it was aimed at children and would be a bit juvenile for my tastes but after having read it, I can say that this is definitely not the case at all. It is a young adult / adult book. The descriptions of fights / injuries / deaths are much more graphic than in books like The Hunger Games for example. However, I always felt that this added to the story and created atmosphere rather than being unnecessary violence. There was a lot of action and the pace was fast, with various events happening as soon as Thomas arrives in the Glade at the beginning. I felt that the book had a satisfying ending as wells as a juicy twist which sent me straight in to book 2: The Scorch Trials.

      In summary I personally enjoyed this more than the Hunger Games, so if you like young adult dystopian fantasy, this is one to add to your wish list. I bought the entire trilogy in The Works for £6.99 which is an excellent deal as the RRP for each individual book is this price so it's a bargain waiting to be snapped up. 5 dooyoo stars. Thanks for reading.


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