My 14th book read this year was The Maze Runner. The author of this book is James Dashner, and this is a very popular series that almost everyone has read at least The Maze Runner. The Maze Runner was written in 2009, and The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and the Kill Order took until 2012. There is also supposedly a new book in the series coming in 2016, The Fever Code. This book specifically is 375 pages, and is a mystery or fantasy book. The genre is mystery because the main character, Thomas meets with a group of people in the Glade who surround the Maze, and they have to figure out the details behind the Grievers, creatures who live in the Maze, come out at night, and sting the people in the Glade who pass. It is also fantasy because the Grievers are one of the parts of the book that wouldn’t appear in real life. The reasons why I chose this book were because it is a very highly rated book, and it’s also the best book in the Maze Runner series, as well as I like the mystery aspect of the book. The author, James Dashner is 43 years old, and was born in Austell, Georgia. He graduated from college in Utah, where he earned a master’s degree in accounting. Dashner currently lives in the Rocky Mountains with his wife and 4 children. The Maze Runner reached 100 weeks standing on The New York Times Bestseller List for Children’s Series on September 21st, 2014. My thoughts on the book was I can relate to Thomas because throughout the book, he is shy for the most part, and gets bossed around or feels uncomfortable because he’s new to the Glade. Interestingly enough, he would rebel sometimes against Alby and Newt, the two leaders of the Glade when he could. Something else I can relate to is when Thomas found his future best friend, Chuck. Lastly, the Grievers were very interesting to read about with the good description of them.
In the novel, the name of the main character is Thomas. Thomas wakes up in a metal box with no memory of who he is. He only remembers his name. Doors in the Glade open, to reveal many young boys all living on a farm surrounded by very high walls. They call it the Glade. Outside the Glade, is a huge Maze with monsters, known as Grievers. Every month a new boy is sent to the Glade. Weekly supplies come up through the elevator that Thomas rides. If a Griever stings you, you will go through a process known as the Changing, which is very serious. Thomas meets the leader of the Glade, Alby, and his second in command, Newt. There is also Chuck who becomes his friend. Gally is a rival who is suspicious of Thomas. Minho is the leader of the Runners, Gladers who go out into the Maze trying to map it and find a way out. The day after Thomas arrives, a girl is sent up into the Glade, the first ever, Teresa. Teresa tells everyone that everything is about to change. Thomas feels a connection to her, as if he knows her. Thomas decides he will be a Runner as well. He has a lot to learn about the Glade and the Maze outside. Shortly after, Thomas is attacked by a boy named Ben, who has gone through the Changing. He remembers Thomas from before and knows who he really is. Alby banishes Ben for trying to kill Thomas. While exploring the Maze, Alby is stung by a Griever. Minho attempts to get him back. Thomas sees him and races into the Maze to help, breaking a rule. He finds himself trapped outside in the Maze.
The Maze is dangerous at night. That is when monsters in the Maze are active. Although Minho is most experienced, he panics when Grievers come and he runs away. Thomas refuses to leave, and saves Alby’s life and his own. They survive the night in the Maze, which no one has ever done before. Thomas is a hero in some eyes, suspect in others. Thomas is punished for breaking the rule, and gets a day in the Glade jail. Gally dislikes Thomas. He accuses Thomas of being a spy for the Creators, who imprisoned the Gladers. Minho and Gally disagree, and Gally runs away, vowing revenge. Alby recovers, and also believes he saw Thomas before. It is believed Thomas played part in the design or building of the Maze. Thomas visits Teresa, still in a coma. She begins to communicate to him telepathically. This frightens Thomas and he runs into the Maze to escape. She tells him that they were involved in making the Maze. He returns to the Maze. Thomas begins his training under Minho. He learns how the Runners map the Maze, looking for patterns as the walls move every night. They don’t find anything new. That night, Teresa tells Thomas that she triggered the end. Teresa awakens, so she and Thomas meet for the first time in the Glade. They share a history. That night, the doors to the Maze don’t close. Alby and Newt imprison Teresa. The Homestead, in the Glade, is boarded up, waiting for the Grievers to enter. Gally returns, before throwing himself onto the Grievers. He tells the Gladers hey will kill one of them each night until they all die. They discover the maps of the Maze were burned. Thankfully, the maps burned were decoys. Words in the new maps, which spell out words, which have no relation. To find his lost memories, Thomas is stung by the Grievers. Find out more by reading to the end of the book.
Lastly, I liked the way the author (Dashner) shows the evolution of Thomas throughout the story. For example, in the beginning he is shy and doesn’t know his role or anything else, but later on he wants to be a runner, becomes more popular in the Glade, and for better or worse changes the Glade. One of his biggest actions was for the worst, when he went into the Glade trying to save Alby’s life, and gets imprisoned for it. This book reminded me of the Alex Rider series, because Thomas is very similar to Alex in the way that they both don’t want the fate they think will happen, meaning Thomas didn’t want to have no knowledge in this world of the Glade, and Alex didn’t want to leave his normal life to join M16, and perform extreme missions. Also, Thomas and Alex are quiet and can’t help much at the start, but when they learn more information, they provide big roles for the Glade/ M16. I was interested in this passage, when Thomas and Teresa try to figure out what WICKED stands for.
“What do you think the word WICKED stands for, anyway?”
“Thomas felt like he’d been hit in the stomach. For some reason, hearing the word at that moment, from someone else, had knocked something loose in his mind and it clicked. He was stunned he hadn’t made the connection sonner.”
“That sign I saw out in the Maze – remember? The metal one with the words stamped on it?
“Thomas’ heart had started to race with excitement. Teresa crinkled her forehead in confusion for a second, but then a light seemed to blink behind her eyes.”
“Whoa. World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department. WICKED. WICKED is good – what I wrote on my arm. What does that even mean?” (Page 324).
I like this quoted passage because Teresa and Thomas start to realize what WICKED and the Killzone Experiment Department mean. This also made me wonder what it meant, and why Teresa had written WICKED is good on her arm. It wasn’t just a coincidence is what I thought, that Teresa and Thomas really were in the Glade with the creators, and just had their memories wiped away. Maybe the accusations of Thomas working for the Creators was true, and he had doomed the Glade and himself all along. I would give this book a 9 out of 10, because it’s a very popular book, has a great mystery theme to it, and it’s interesting to learn about the Creators and how the Glade world came about.