Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner (English edition)

The Maze Runner The Maze Runner by James Dashner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

My thoughts before I bought the book:
It was a book I should have read long ago.

But I couldn't decide "Should I, Should I?" I was afraid that it would have too many weak points or even worse, it could disturb my image of Roman / Greek mythology (because of the maze).
Of course the first three words which I remembered when I looked at this genius cover packed with the feeling of action and thrill and the title "The Maze Runner" were : Minotaur, labyrinth and Greek.

And then: Runner? Why runner? Does someone has to flee? And why? Is it a kind of dystopian novel and why? What happened? WHY, WHY, WHY?
These and more were my questions plus: "Who could be the one who has to run and from whom or what kind of monster? Because that this would be a book with a monster or two, was very very clear when I saw the dark green cover and right and left from it kind of dark, threatening and heavy concrete walls...I thought: UGH! I hope this is a good novel or I won't read it, I shiver already!

It was so clear for me in the beginning that something must be lurking for the main character or characters (?). At this moment, I only saw the cover and I already had these thoughts...Kind of scary.

BUT, BUT!! I have to intervene here, so you know that the book was a perfect little, wonderful novel with much tension, fun and insane, exciting passages which lead me to reading the next 3 books!!!

I'll tell you of course:

The plot: It is about a 16 year old teenager, a boy to be precisely, who wakes up in an underground elevator without any memories, except of his name Thomas and other random things which are everyday life facts. But not any other personal memories like: "Who is his family?", "Did he have a girlfriend before he came to this place in a box?" or "Why am I in a box and what happened?".
The last one is the great mystery all boys crave because he is not alone when the box is opened.

At first it feels like ages when the box is open and he is frightened and torn about inside who these stranger could be and where he disembarked after all. At first he thinks it is a prison, however he finds out fast enough.

But the boys, who are in different age groups, only reveil their secrets one by one and it will feel like a lifetime it took to know and understand his new reality.

The boys all name themselves "Gladers" and are a group led by two boys: Alby and Newt. They have no outside contact beside the appearing boxes with new boys each month and boxes with provisions and medical care.

Here is a list of the facilities and the tasks of the Gladers for whom the story is too confusing without this information. I must say it was really a bit difficult to understand it all in the beginning though it is well-written:

The facilities of the Glade (the place they live now):

The Cliff: the sacrificial altar you could name it because all who harmed the rules are led there to die.
Wooden building/ Homestead (Northwest corner): It is a building in which they can sleep and have one bathroom for all. It is also used for cooking the provisions they have. But most don't use it because of what happens there.
Grove of trees/ Deadheads (in the Southwest corner): the place where they bury the dead.
Farm area/ Gardens (northeast quarter): Here Gladers work in the fields.
The animals place/ Blood house (southeast corner): is where all the animals are treated and afterwards slaughtered.
Box: is in the middle of the courtyard and opens only when new provisions or a boy is delivered, but nobody can open it from outside. You can't use it for escaping the Glade.
The Maze: is near the Box, maybe twenty feet to the south. It is a building made of concrete blocks and an iron door without windows. It opens up every day and closes when the night is arriving. The Maze changes every night its form in the inner structures.

Each Glader has a task to fulfill daily which suits him and what he can do best so they all can keep alive. All get keepers first who help them to get aquainted with their job tasks.

There are several jobs which I'll list now:

Runners: are the ones who have to go into the Maze and find a way outside. They draw maps every night to remember how the Maze looked like.
Slopper: are the boys who have to do all the jobs, nobody wants to do: cleaning the bathroom, taking the rubbish outside etc.
Bricknick (Builder): They build and upgrade the Glade
Slicer: people who like to slaughter the animals so the meat can be cooked afterwards
Bagger: they bury the dead
Med-Jack: are kind of like doctors who care for the wounded and ill
Track-hoe: are the Gardeners who do the heavy things in the fields
Keeper: the Keepers are important for training the newbies in their new special tasks above
Cook: there is only one cook and his name is Frypan

Some words to remember:The story uses some wonderful new words, a kind of slang the boys use to each other. Here are some of them:

Klunk: It means Poo which falls in the toilet and makes a sound, simply: "Klunk".

Griever: The kind of monster who haunts the maze. You could also think of it as a minotaur though it looks more like a slimy slug with hair and razor-sharp knives and all kind of mechanical things to torture you. If you get "only stung" by it, you feel the most horrible pain. It is called "The Changing" when this happens.
Gatherings: a meeting of the Keepers who decide about the most important occurences in the Glade.

Now again to the story:
They hear a terrible shriek which spooks Thomas a lot out of the wooden building.
And other things happens  which make the Gladers not entirely sure if...

... Thomas is a friend or fiend.

What happens after Day one?
Why is Gally so against Thomas?
Why are they in the Maze?
And what has Thomas to do with it all?

To learn more, please read the book ;)

Kind regards,
yours truly

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