Currently Reading: The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Spoiler Free)

So continues my YA binge.

Unfortunately, it belongs on the YA-purge pile.

There are a few definite positives to this one that the last few YA novels I read didn’t have.
– The plot isn’t completely transparent.
– As of right now, 230 pages in, there is no awkward and/or forced romance that is so typical of the YA genre.

That… is all I can think of for the positive column.

In the negatives, we have a few as well.
– The writing is, in my opinion, just awful. Every few pages, the main character repeats something. I know how he feels… I am constantly reminded of it.
– While it is good that the plot isn’t completely transparent, it is almost heading too much in the other direction. The plot seems to lack direction.
– The characters aren’t very well-developed.
– There is a lot of fake swearing. Fake swearing irks me anyways, and Dashner is using it far too much. Words like “klunk”, “slint”, and “shank” and some derivatives of such are appearing in every bit of dialogue. I am OK with some swearing, as long as it is not just swearing for the sake of swearing. The exception to this is the rare character who is written as a swearing jerk. But they generally don’t get much air-time anyways. I digress. I have debated making an entirely new post about fake-swearing, but I think I will settle for a new paragraph instead.

(After the jump is some mildly mature language.)

As I said, fake swearing irks me. Just because the words aren’t “crap”, “shit”, “damn” etc. doesn’t mean an educated reader can’t see what the author is trying to do. And the author feels like they can use their made up words as much as they want, because they aren’t the ones that society sees as bad. An involved parent isn’t going to flip through, say, Dashner’s book and see words like “klunk” and “slint” and lose their cool. But if those were words like “shit” and “fuck” you can bet they would be demanding their child stop reading the book immediately. And there might be a strongly worded letter to the author as well.

So, as an author, you need to either commit to using the real swear words, penalties and all, or elect not to use them at all. But don’t settle for the cop-out of fake swearing.


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