It’s a premise that reminded me very much of the Canadian cult movie CUBE. Both feature a group of people specially chosen for an experiment. Both feature a very dangerous maze where a wrong move can cost you your life. But where the CUBE victims were ultimately their own worst enemies, the boys of the Glade get along remarkably well. Some boys have been living in the self-contained community for over 2 years, getting by on their own hard work and supplies sent by the mysterious people who put them there. Thomas’ arrival on the scene sets off a terrifying chain of events that will either lead to escape – or the death of every last one of them.
We do a get a peek at the dystopian world behind the maze via violent memories brought back by monster attacks, and the setting of the Glade and the maze itself is lushly and painstakingly described. But it is the action that is in focus here – and boy does it deliver. I have seldom been so drawn in, possessed to keep turning the pages as fast as I could read.
While the pacing and plot are top-notch, “the emotional landscape of the characters could have been more fully developed” (to quote My Friend Amy’s review). When a couple of major characters bite the dust and your only reaction is “meh”, that is not a good sign. (And just so you know I’m not cold hearted, I cried buckets when a certain minor character died in THE HUNGER GAMES ).
Still, I am very excited to read book 2 THE SCORCH TRIALS (thanks evil cliffhanger!) due in October 2010, and I can recommend this to anyone looking for a quick yet completely absorbing read.
THE MAZE RUNNER is available now in hardcover. Find out more about it at the author’s blog or the offical book website.
My rating: 3 Zombie Chickens - Well Worth Reading (NOTE: I'd actually give this an extra half Zombie Chicken - despite it's failure to move me, it really is very good.)
See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore