Minor-Spoiler-Review: The Maze Runner

“Be careful,” he said dryly, “Don’t die.”

Remember when you were a kid with those activity/coloring books with the maze pages you could solve in like 10 seconds? That’s what reading The Maze Runner felt like.

 The Maze Runner is a story that isn’t about a maze and isn’t about running. The basic idea of the book is gripping. A bunch of boys finds themselves in the center of a maze with no memory of why they are there, or their lives before. A mix of Memento and Lord of the Flies. Except it isn’t.

I assumed that with it being set in a maze and all, it was going to be an escape room style adventure, solving puzzles while making a daring escape. It’s not. The biggest hurdle they have to overcome is tracing maps and pushing a button!

I should make it clear that the story isn’t bad. It’s just all set up. What is W.I.C.K.E.D’s evil plan? Why exactly are these kids being tested? and why now? Why a maze? What are those creatures in the maze? What happened to the kid’s families? Why can’t they remember anything? Why is there only one girl in the whole group? None of these questions are even remotely explained. You could probably skip this book in the series and jump straight into The Scorch Trials without any problems.

This novel reminded me of an episode of The Twilight Zone, “Five Characters in Search of an Exit” the plot is exactly what you would expect from the title: five random people with no memories find themselves trapped in the bottom of a silo. There’s nothing but the metallic walls, a blinding light above and the occasional defining ring of a bell.

The Twilight Zone is known for its predictable twist endings, but this episode just defied prediction, I had no clue how this would end. Who had put them there? What would become of. . . Toys, they were all just used toys in a donation bin. The light was a streetlamp, and the bell was the volunteer, ringing a bell. That was it. The Maze Runner felt like that to me, great set up with lots of great questions, but the answers were either not addressed or unsatisfying.

If I ever get around to reading the rest of the series, I’ll be able to tell if this series is good or bad, but this felt like I read a teaser for a book rather than a whole book. I hope the rest of the books in this series are interesting, but I felt like this novel’s premise, kids trapped in a maze with no memory, could have been done much better.

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