OK, my first review! I just couldn't wait any longer and "The Maze Runner", due out October 6th 2009 by James Dashner is one of my favorite books ever read. I have been stalling my first review as I did not know which book to post about first! Well James, you win! As a matter of fact James has 2 books published so far in another amazing series which I have read and will post reviews on shortly called "The 13th Reality". You can view info on these books and the soon to be released "Maze Runner" at his site, www.jamesdashner.com. If we are lucky, James has even promised me an interview for our site in late October, early November to promote the release. Thanks James! ok now to the book: (I'll try my BEST not to include any spoilers!)
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is blank. But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know, is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they've closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark. The Gladers were expecting Thomas's arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up- the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might find their way home.... wherever that may be. But it's looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.
And something about the girl's arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers- if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.
"Wow!"..... That word alone really does sum up my feelings on this book. I could not put the book down and spent a few nights reading until I fell asleep with the book on my lap only a few short hours before it was time to go to work. I did read an ARC, so I don't want to give anything away, especially since James has been very kind to me, and will post again when the book is released. I will say this... "Lord of the Flies" MOVE OVER! Maze will definitely take over that "required reading" status for children in middle school all the way up to the college level. This i'd be willing to guarantee.
James has created a world, either set in the future or some alternate reality (<---like that one?) in which things have apparently gone very very wrong. The problem is, the Gladers, those of them who have not gone through "the changing" have no idea what is actually wrong with that world, why they were placed in the Glade, or really anything in their past before being brought up in the lift. While Thomas is the main character, there are many other central characters who share very important roles in the book and although you don't really know much about their past life, you can figure out their personalities with Dashner's fantastic character building skills. So when Thomas arrives, he quickly decides that he needs to solve the riddle of the Maze and find a way out for himself and the other boys. What bothers him is that the others have been there for some time and still are really no closer to finding a way out than when Thomas arrives.
He soon finds out the "Grievers", or the mind boggling monster/machine enemies force the boys to be inside the Glade and out of the Maze every night like clockwork (at least for now anyway). This puts a time constraint on their studying of the maze and makes it difficult to try and find a way out. This and the fact that the maze seems to change itself quite often, making it even more difficult for one to solve a puzzle with moving parts to it.
Well, the good news is the boys have learned to live in a semi-civilized manner with no grown ups as they have created their own workforce, government, as well as even daily routines that keeps them all alive. Some feel that there is something strange about Thomas that makes him different from the moment he finds himself in the Glade. Well, they are right, different he is. Thomas will take you on an unbelievable adventure, where risks provides rewards, and the nail biting, page turning suspense of what the heck could possibly happen on the next page will keep you reading until you can not read anymore.
What I loved the most was at the end of the book, you are left really thinking about a few different things. What is so special about this set of boys?, what is in store for them next, and a real big ARE YOU KIDDING ME? when you hit the last page or so of the book. These last few pages, "the email", actually made me chuckle and wish that I could really be inside of Dashner's head wondering what in gods name is going to happen in the next book???? It was not enough that each page of the book provided for the desperate urge to do nothing other than turn to that next page as quick as you possibly can, but to end a book with the same feeling multiplied by 100 x's makes me have to give this book 5 stars. Oh come on, PLEASE JUST TELL US A TINY BIT MORE! is all I was saying to myself when I closed the cover.
Hands down, "The Maze Runner" is one of the best books I have ever read. If you have read the book, please post your thoughts here while trying not to spoil anything. If you are one of Dashner's fans, i'd love to know what you thought of his other books, as I loved them and can not wait to see if and how Tick learns to control his powers and what is in store for him and the gang next.
Thanks Shanks for reading my post and I hope to see you here more as I add more reviews of the gazillion books I have read and plan to read in the near future. As always, recommendations for great reads are always welcomed and encouraged!