Dear Readers of the Blog,
Recently, we completed The Maze Runner, a 375 page dystopian novel written by James Dashner. This novel was published in 2009, with its remade movie version released a few years later in 2014. The Maze Runner has won many awards since it was published, such as the “Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Books”, “The Charlotte Zolotow Award”, and the “ALA Best Book for Young Adults”. We decided to read this book because we were attracted to the storyline and were looking for an action-packed and adventurous book to get hooked on. All of us are looking forward to reading the novel that precedes this one, “The Scorch Trials” which elaborates on the events that occur after The Maze Runner takes place.
The novel The Maze Runner is about “WICKED”, a company that wants to save humanity from the disease that has burdened the World. They created a maze, and put a community of boys in the center for them to try and get out to uncover the cure, so they could benefit from it. Thomas, was the newcomer, and after him it was Teresa. Teresa is the only girl, and brought a message with her, “This is the last one”. The boys are beginning to panic and realize that this will change their lives dramatically. Their supplies and rules they have followed for all this time are going to change. It is not known at this time whether or not it will change for the better or for the worse which makes it even more suspenseful. This gives the boys great motivation to try to escape and try to come up with ways to escape that they never even thought of.
The Maze Runner reminded us of “The Hunger Games,” a dystopian novel written by Suzanne Collins. “The Hunger Games” and The Maze Runner share many of the same traits. In the books both wanted to achieve a main goal and many sacrifices were made in order to survive and to make it out of their situation alive. For example, Katniss and Peeta (from the Hunger Games) had to make a sacrifice when they were going to eat the poison berries. They decided that they would rather die together, then one have to die and the other live. In The Maze Runner, Thomas ran into the maze to save Alby and Minho, Alby who was stung by a Griever. He needed to make a sacrifice because he had to break the number one rule to save them, go into the maze. Another example of a similarity that the two books share is that both books have the two main characters fighting for their lives. Katniss volunteered for her sister to participate in the “Hunger Games”. She needed to use weapons to injure other children in the games, hunt and team up with Peeta. In The Maze Runner Thomas needed to fight off the Grievers and try to escape the maze, and their lives with the rest of the Gladers.
The novel The Maze Runner is filled with different themes that represent many life lessons. The most prominent one being “Unity vs. Cruelty.” Overtime, the boys at the glade develop a sense of unity and are bonded over they’re one main goal, survival. Anyone who attempts to disrupt their ability to coexist peacefully, is punished, sometimes in unnecessary ways. None of the boys sent to the Glade were stupid, lazy, or weak, and they all understand that if they didn’t have unity among each other, they wouldn’t have anything at all. Their strong-willed personalities came with price. Terrible punishments are instilled for those who don’t follow their rules, and at times, the lines are blurred between a responsible amount of punishment, and what can be perceived as pure cruelty. At one time during the novel, a boy in the Glade attacks Thomas. After this attack, he is sentenced to be banished by the keepers. Being banished in the maze means that you are forced to enter the maze when the walls are about to close, so that one of the monsters, referred to as grievers, can kill you. This is seen by Thomas as very sad and an unnecessary act of brutality towards the boy, but the keepers of the Glade that performed the banishment seemed emotionless about the situation. This shows that the boys who have been trapped in the maze for a longer period of time than Thomas have developed a sense of unity so strong, that they sometimes cross the line to keep everyone at bay.
The genre of The Maze Runner is dystopian. Dystopian literature by definition is; is a genre of fictional writing used to explore social and political structures in ‘a dark, nightmare world. This definition describes The Maze Runner perfectly. In the book, this made up world is to show the hypocrisy of our world and the lengths we go to test our theories and our disregard for the things and or people in the process. At the end of the book we learn that this whole thing (the boys trying to figure out their way through the maze) was an experiment by the organization “Wicked”. The book we thought was to show the point of view of the people that are impacted by these things. In the book this role is demonstrated by Thomas and the other boys. We also thought the fact that all the boys were only in the maze because of their intelligence was to make a point. So, the company “Wicked”(World In Catastrophe, Killzone Experiment Department) used the boys as apart of an experiment because of their intelligence (unwillingly) to try to find a cure for the disease that burdens earth, severely challenging the boys in the process and making this an unforgettable experience.
One quote that really stood out to us was when Chuck came to visit Thomas in prison. Chuck was wondering if he had a family to go home to when the escape the maze.“Thomas hated the people who’d taken this poor, innocent kid from his family. He hated them with passion he didn’t know a human could feel. He wanted them dead, tortured, even. He wanted Chuck to be happy. But happiness had been ripped from their lives. Love had been ripped from their lives” (page 194).
This passage stood out to us because it shows how Thomas feels inside and it shows his true personality. Inside he is not selfish; he is caring. He was caring about other people before himself making him considerate. Thomas wasn’t wondering where his family was (even though he had not even seen them or even remember where he came from) he was only wondering about Chuck’s and how to benefit Chuck at his time of need. Throughout the book, the author lacked the ability to show emotion through the characters, but at this part, we really began to understand Thomas and his intentions. Without this part, we wouldn’t know Thomas’s character and we would still be lost about what Thomas was like and how the Maze affected him.
Overall we decided that we would rate The Maze Runner a 8 out of 10. We didn’t give it a 10 out of 10, because we all had the same preference, that the beginning of the book was too long and more dragged out then it needed to be, also that the storyline was so far into the book meaning all of us had a struggle getting past page 100. The beginning of the book was not very suspenseful and felt like nothing was happening. We would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys “The Hunger Games” or other dystopian books. The Maze Runner is a well written book that can easily be liked by most young adults.
Olivia C, Olivia P. Emily W. Maddie D.