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The Maze Runner: 07/09/10

cover art

Back in March of this year Megan at Posey Sessions asked me to read The Maze Runner and write a guest post for her blog on some aspect of the novel. For the guest post, I focused on the maze.

Many of the reviews I've read compare The Maze Runner to Lord of the Flies by William Golding but I disagree. Yes, both are about boys forced to live together in a remote location under extraordinary circumstances. But that's where the similarities end.

In Lord of the Flies, the students crash land on an island when their plane crashes. The teens in The Maze Runner are selected one by one and appear on a certain schedule. As they are specially selected and arrive with the memories wiped clean, they don't have the same pre existing history as Golding's schoolboys do.

Frankly, the teens in Dashner's world are more civilized. The main theme of the book isn't the degradation of friendships and social norms when people are removed from society. The Maze Runner is the opposite; it's the building of society from unlikely choices (rowdy teenage boys).

What gets in the way of the discussion of building society is the very thing that's there to make the story interesting – the maze. To present his unusual and artificial  world to us, Dashner starts the story with a newly arrived boy, Thomas, who then has to learn everything and as he learns, we learn. Sorry, but this technique of story telling gets old really fast and it's by far the weakest part of The Maze Runner. I would have much preferred to have had the story told from one of the other boys who had a longer history of living in the maze.

That being said, the second thirds of the book are much better as Thomas comes into his own as a character. After the info dumping on the world stops, Thomas and the others get to work on understanding the maze and mapping it. This part is fascinating and it's shoved in after all that unnecessary explanation.

Comments (8)

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Comment #1: Saturday, July, 10, 2010 at 13:02:45


This is one I have had on my wish list for some time. I think I would rather enjoy it. Good review!

Comment #2: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 19:29:30


I wasn't planning on reading the book but I'm glad I did.

Comment #3: Tuesday, July, 13, 2010 at 15:35:04


I really need to check this one out. Too many other books in the way right now though. :)

Thanks for the review.

Comment #4: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 19:33:53


I know the feeling. My TBR pile is massive. And then there's an equally massive wishlist. Happy reading!

Comment #5: Friday, July, 16, 2010 at 21:56:58


I didn't mind the story telling technique myself. I liked the element of mystery while Thomas figured things out. But then again, I haven't read many books like this. Great review!

Comment #6: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 16:40:15


I just prefer a knowledgable protagonist. I don't expect the main character to know everything but it's nice to not waste time explaining how the entire world works.

Comment #7: Monday, July, 19, 2010 at 21:07:50

Tammy Dahle

I really enjoyed your review on The Maze Runner. I too have been frustrated by some readers likening the story to Lord of the Flies. You had great explanations of why they are very different stories. I also loved the history on the types of mazes-who knew?

Comment #8: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 16:48:10


Thank you! I really wanted to work through why it didn't seem like Lord of the Flies to me. For the guest post I chose to write about the different types of mazes because I had written a report on them way back in highschool. I thought it would be fun to revisit that topic.

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