Monday, September 26, 2011

Audio Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I'd heard The Maze Runner by James Dashner was a must-read for YA dystopian fans, so when I saw it on my library's Overdrive, I had to give it a try. I wasn't disappointed.

Genre: Young adult dystopian science fiction
Length: 10h 50m
Audio publisher: Listening Library, 2009

Recap: Thomas wakes up with no memories of his past life. He's the latest arrival to the Glade, a farming community surrounded by a huge maze, populated entirely by teenage boys. Thomas doesn't know who he is or where he came from, but somehow the Maze is familiar, and he's determined to solve it. This is the first book in a finished trilogy: The Scorch Trials came out in 2010, The Death Cure comes out in October.

Review: I love stories where someone wakes up and has no ideal what's going on. They suck me in every time. The Maze Runner was no different, and I was immediately draw into Thomas' plight as the newest clueless arrival in the Glen. The plot kept me going, moving along at a nice clip. The maze is intriguing, and the strangeness of the setting adds to the fun. I was surprised by the level of violence, which upped the stakes but didn't seem to fit the premise. An explanation was provided, but it didn't ring true to me. I did like how the characters seemed like real people, each with their own weaknesses. One quibble I have is the lack of communication between characters. Sure the old hands need to haze the new guy, but many times he didn't even ask or thought something along the lines of "I wanted to ask, but knew they wouldn't tell me." Ask! We're wondering the same thing! In spite of this, it's a cool premise, well executed. I've got book two cued and ready to go on my playlist.

Reading: Mark Deakins brings The Maze Runner to life. He has the barest hint of a southern accent (Tennessee?) on certain words that lends character to Thomas. His deliberate way of speaking fits well with the methodical way they went about solving the maze.

Final thoughts: In spite of a couple of annoyances, The Maze Runner delivers with a fresh premise and interesting characters.

Grade: 4 out of 5

For: Dystopian lovers or anyone who likes a good YA action book.

Cover: Based on the cover, I somehow thought this book was much older and was surprised to learn it came out in 2009.

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