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Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Rating: 4.5/5

Teenager Thomas wakes up in a large metal box, mysteriously unable to remember his past. He knows his name and general information, but nothing else that could help him understand why he is in this strange box. Minutes later, the opening above him is filled with boys around his own age, welcoming him to the Glade and introducing themselves as the Gladers. Overcome by confusion, Thomas is immediately drawn to befriend Newt, a boy who seems only second to the leader, Alby, whom Thomas is unable to fully trust. He is also introduced to Chuck, a younger boy who was the last to reach the Glade before Thomas.

His presence at first does not seem to confuse the boys; a new young man is brought to the Glade every month, after all. Thomas, however, refuses to settle in until he gains answers to his question. The peace of the glade is shattered when, the day after Thomas’s arrival, a girl appears in the box, who mysteriously announces that change is coming. Change does come, and Thomas must not only fight off his own confusion, but also defend himself against the accusations that this girl and he could be the catalyst of those new, unnatural events in the Glade.

I’m writing this review with a bit of sadness at the sudden rise of 1-3 stars reviews for the book. I genuinely liked it, although I was just as disappointed by the ending as everyone else. There is almost no resolution to the book; that’s probably why there’s tome 2, 3, and 4. Really smart of Dashner – I made a special trip to the library to get the next book before I was even done reading this one. I could tell there were only about 30 pages left and that there was no way an author could wrap up such a complicated plot in thirty pages. If you’re hoping for a nice resolution at the end, don’t bother reading the book. It leaves you with as many questions as you had on the first page. I’m not saying that the book doesn’t have a conclusion – it’s a great conclusion – but it definitely doesn’t solve the whole puzzle.

I hesitated whether to write a review about the book itself, or the entire series, since I can’t really address my own misgivings because they might be quelled in the following books (hopefully). I assume there’s a reason for all the “oh, how convenient” moments that many reviewers have remarked to happen in the story. I’ll also review the other books and will hopefully be able to reassure readers that this confusion is all part of a bigger plan.

You’ll love the boys – they’re so dynamic. They each have their quirks that make them loveable. It reminded me slightly of a much kinder “Lord of the Flies” group at first. No one is pretending that they’re all friends and I think that if this situation were to come true, a group of boys would react in this way. Also, the science fiction aspects are completely believable. It burns me to read reviews that claim the book doesn’t make any sense… Come on, it’s fiction. There must be some sort of suspension of incredulity when reading fiction, in my opinion.

I stand by my rating of four stars and a half because the plot really interested me. No, it wasn’t perfect, but as far as I’m concerned, the pros outweigh the cons. The movie based on this book is coming out in theatres in September, and that was the primary reason I picked up the book. I do not regret reading it at all, I will start the sequel as soon as this is posted, and I’m beyond excited to see its film adaptation!

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