The Maze Runner Trilogy (“The Maze Runner,” “The Scorch Trials,” and “The Death Cure”)
By James Dashner
4 **** (almost 5) = Can recommend; Great; Overall enjoyable
I may be a bad friend.
For Christmas, I gave my buddy, Erin, the first book in “The Maze Runner” trilogy (also called “The Maze Runner”). I had just finished the trilogy and was anxious to spread the wealth of yet another series set in a dystopian future with political undertones.
To be honest, they reminded me of “The Hunger Games,” minus an ending that sent me into a 2-week blue funk.
However, I have been receiving texts like this ever since:
“I’ve spent the last five minutes trying to talk myself into getting out of bed and walk up to my dark bathroom. I’m too scared of grievers.”
“Oh my gosh. I just read the part about Ben and the graveyard. I am never leaving my bed.”
I had kind of forgotten that the book was a little scary. I had forgotten that there are violent, mechanical monsters (grievers) that sting their fleeing victims, sending them into insanity. I had forgotten that there was quite a lot of death and chaos. I had also forgotten that I had let Gaby borrow this book a year ago, then urgently told her NOT to read it after I finished the second installment, “The Scorch Trials.” I don’t think she would have appreciated the death and despair.
Now I remember.
I just finished reading the last book in the trilogy, “The Death Cure,” but seeing as we haven’t reviewed the first two books, I thought I’d review the trilogy as a whole.
Here’s the set up:
Thomas wakes up in a box with no memory and only the knowledge of his first name. This box ends up being a lift that transports him into the Glade, an expanse that turns out to be the center of a huge shifting maze, inhabited by a group of teenage boys who at one time all found themselves in the same situation as Thomas.
This “Lord of the Flies” community is spied on by little bugs with the word “WICKED” engraved on their back and haunted by grievers who roam the maze.
When Theresa, the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade, shows up with the message “WICKED is good,” the desperate plans to escape the maze begin, as does the investigation to discover exactly what WICKED is and why Thomas and the other boys ended up in the Glade fighting for survival.
The trilogy follows Thomas on this journey. Throw in some telepathic communication abilities, a fast-spreading epidemic that leads to insanity and death, and a mysterious company that seems to be behind it all, and you basically have the Maze Runner trilogy.
James Dashner did a masterful job at writing characters that are easy to root far, as well as some that give you the heebie-jeebies. Each chapter seems to end with a cliff-hanger, making it incredibly difficult to put the book down.
But, my favorite aspect of the trilogy is that at the end of the very last book, I felt so satisfied. In my mind, the ending was right. I didn’t feel like I had wasted my time reading into the wee hours of the night, allowing myself to get emotionally invested in fictional characters.
I would highly recommend this series. Now, let’s be clear. This series is incredibly intense and does contain characters and situations that are fairly disturbing. If you’re particularly sensitive to those things, I’d pass this trilogy up. That’s why I didn’t give the trilogy five stars. It’s not for everybody. I think Erin will be fine. Gaby, I’m not so sure.
I also found out that this was on our local high school’s reading list. It’s probably okay for 17 or 18 years olds, but I wouldn’t hand it to anyone younger. There’s no sex or language (although they do have made up swear words that the Gladers developed that are tossed around freely), but in my opinion, the books are too intense and potentially troubling for kids.