Imagine not remembering anything about yourself or your past. All you know is you’re in a really weird situation and have to figure out what to do next. Thomas, the protagonist in the novel, The Maze Runner, unfortunately finds himself in just this situation.
As the novel opens, Thomas finds himself waking up in a place called the Glade. It’s full of teenaged kids who have to figure out how to escape from a maze situated outside the encampment. Which, of course, sounds easy enough, until you figure out that the maze is full of creatures called Grievers, which are kind of like biomechanical slugs that can climb walls, and have spikes that poison you, but with the antidote the camp is given from “the Creators”, causes you to regain your memories. The maze also shifts every day, making it just that much more difficult to figure out how to get out.
At least in the Glade, everyone is safe, and Thomas starts adapting to his new life, until a girl named Teresa shows up. Suddenly, the doors that keep them safe from the Grievers in the maze no longer close at night, meaning no one is safe from a nightly Griever attack, and the maze stops moving.
Figuring out how to get out becomes the main priority. Thomas purposely gets himself poisoned by a Griever, just to regain his memories. Using them, he remembers enough to figure out a plan to get out. Of course, it’s highly dangerous, but given the situation everyone is in, what do the Gladers have to lose?
Getting into this novel was a bit of a challenge. The kids in the camp have their own language one has to learn in order to understand what is going on with the story. Once that is figured out, however, the story really comes alive.
Another slight drawback to the story is that there are a lot of characters to keep track of in the story. Several of the characters seemed to be superfluous, and really not necessary to the story at hand. It was almost like author Dashner added them and the plot arcs that accompany them to the book just to make the story longer. Despite that, the main story itself was intense and quite enjoyable.
The best part of the story to the reviewer would be the main villains in the story, the Grievers. They were quite an original idea. The thought of a giant biomechanical slug, with spikes that can poison you, or arms that can grab you and kill you was one of those slightly disconcerting, spine tingling moments that makes one glad nothing like that actually exists in the world.
All in all though, this is a story one should read. Caution is recommended for kids who are sensitive to creepy monsters – however, that would be the only drawback the reviewer can think of to avoid it.
The Maze Runner, and its sequels, are available at the Howard County Public Library. Copies are limited, so if it is unavailable, ask at the front desk to be placed on the waiting list for it.
In addition to serving as an associate librarian with the Howard County Library, Nicole Tracy has years of experience in literary fields. She writes an exclusive weekly column for The Nashville News.