Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runne

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Read: April 23 – April 28, 2012
Other Information: Library book, hardcover, 374 pages, personal read

Book Blurb: A boom exploded through the air, making Thomas jump. It was followed by a horrible crunching, grinding sound. He stumbled backward, fell to the ground. He wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it for himself. The enormous stone wall to the right of them seemed to defy every known law of physics as it slid along the ground, throwing sparks and dust as it moved, rock against rock. The crunching sound rattled his bones. He looked around at the other openings. On all four sides of the Glade, the right walls were moving toward the left, closing the gap of the Doors.

Then one final boom rumbled across the Glade as all four doors sealed shut for the night.

My Opinion: I need to preface my opinion with two things. One, the book blurb is from the back of the book versus the inside of the jacket. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share some of Dashner’s quality writing. Two, this will be a bad review. However, I will never tell you (my readers) how to feel about a certain book. I will simply share my own opinion of it. I will never tell you NOT to read a book, because I hate when people do that to me. Read the book, form your own opinions. If you love a book that I hate, I don’t care. If you hate a book I love, then we are no longer friends.

I’m joking!


OK, on to the review!

I opened the front cover of this book with high hopes. The story had caught my eye, the book itself had been compared to The Hunger Games (which I enjoyed) and the text size wasn’t large enough to kill my brain cells.

The fact that it took me five days to read a 374 page novel speaks volumes to how dull I found it. And not just dull, the writing was, to me, just awful. Dashner suffers from severe repeat-shit-itis. He told me every few pages about what Thomas (the main character) was feeling. He was frustrated, he was confused. I get it. But perhaps worse than the fact that Dashner kept telling me about these things was the fact that he was telling me instead of showing me. Yep, Dashner is horrible for the tell-don’t-show pitfall that afflicts some authors.

The story moved at a very slow pace. The result was that when we finally did find out some of the important information, it read a lot like an infodump. Except at that point I was so disengaged from the novel and wishing for it to be over that I didn’t care about the information being given. Another story related issue was that the plot moved so slowly, it seemed to lack direction a lot of the time. While I couldn’t see right to the end of the novel and every little thing that would happen in between (something I appreciate) I also couldn’t even make an educated guess, which indicated a lack of direction. And when the story did finally pick up, it was so convoluted that I really just wanted to claw my eyes out. The last two pages showed promise, though.

The characters had potential, but were stunted by the horrible writing. I saw glimmers of something interesting in Newt and Minho, but they were overshadowed by Thomas’ constant whining about how confused and frustrated he was.

There are things in the maze called Grievers. All the kids in the book seem to be scared stiff of them, but I wasn’t. Dashner did a horrible job of writing them as something to be afraid of. Protip: just because your characters are afraid of something doesn’t mean your reader will be as well. You need to give the reader a reason to be afraid of something.

I have ranted enough about fake swearing, but I will mention it again. Fake swearing is a cop-out. Making up words can really hurt your worldbuilding and narrow your target audience. Especially words like “klunk” and “shank” (yes I know they are legit words, but they were made up in the context of the novel).

In the end, I might pick up book 2 if I was screamingly desperate for something to read. I get somewhat obsessed about finishing series once I start them. But I am most definitely in no rush to read anything else by Mr. Dashner.

My Rating: 0.5 stars (Not the worst thing I have read… but close)


2 thoughts on “Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

  1. Ugh. I’m happy you used the blub you did – “showcasing” the author’s writing style is just the icing on the cake to your review. The whole idea of describing everything in minute detail, but doing to very haltingly and in bits and pieces would turn me off even if there weren’t other flaws in the book. Thanks for the review! I have enough other stuff that I want to read that I can take this off my list and not feel that I’m missing anything.

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