This past March I started a new routine to my Sunday mornings: shortly after breakfast with the kids, I flip my laptop open and start reading the Books section of the NY Times online. I wanted to get the real deal, dead tree “version” of it for quite some time, but at USD$6 just for the Sunday paper I figured that reading it online would have to do it.
One of these Sundays I came across an article about The Lateiner Gang, “a family of bloggers who spend most of their free time reading and reviewing”. I thought that was pretty cool and checked out their site and read some of their books reviews. Among the many books they’ve reviewed one in specific caught my attention: The Maze Runner by James Dashner, a (to borrow a term I saw online) sci-fi dystopia that shares some similarities with “Lord of the Flies”.
That afternoon I took my kids to the public library and decided to check if they had it available, my curiosity getting the best of me. Turns out that they did but the two copies they had weren’t supposed to be available for another couple of days. So I decided to put a hold on it and moved on to look for history books, a topic that I have read more and more these last few years.
Last Saturday I received an email from the library informing me that “The Maze Runner” was available and waiting to be picked up. Some time between chores and cleaning the house I swung by the library and finally got the book.
At first I was a bit reluctant about reading it, specially due to the huge “Young Fiction” label the library had put in its spine. It wasn’t because of the word “young” but I wanted something more mature and didn’t feel like reading “kid material”… no offense. Cautiously I started reading it that afternoon, easily going through the first 10 chapters. “Hey, this is not bad”, I thought to myself. So I decided to give the book a chance to compete against the book I’m currently reading, “The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution”by David O. Stewart. The plan was that I’d read it only in the evenings before going to bed, while I’d continue reading “1787” during my lunch break.
The story is about a kid who one day wakes up in a place without a single idea of who he is or where he was. This place, called the Glade, was inhabited by other kids who also shared the same “amnesia” symptoms when they were mysteriously transported to it. After a while some of the “veterans” established some rules and processes so to keep things in order and avoid general chaos.
Our main character eventually learns that his name is Thomas and that somehow he had been to that place before. He also learns that the Glade is located smack in the middle of a gigantic maze with shifting walls, infested by blob-like creatures with metal appendages that only come out at night to the horror of the inhabitants. Every morning a group of select kids, Runners, go out into the maze to try to map it with the hopes of finding a way out.
As I started to approach the middle of the book, I found myself hooked on the main plot and trying to figure out what would happen next. One interesting thing I noticed was that Dashner’s style kept reminding me of â€œEmblem Divideâ€?, the book my friend Peter Savage wrote.
Well, by Wednesday I found myself split between bringing the book to work with me to read it during my lunch break or continue to read it only in the evening. But I managed to keep the temptation at bay and decided to take my time… today, shortly after breakfast I finished it!
The verdict: I’m glad I took the time to read it! The story kept me wondering what would happen at the turn of every page and as I got closer to the end, I often “felt bad” for finishing it so quickly, already thinking that I would miss reading it once it was over. Have you ever felt that way about a book?
Once I reluctantly put the book down, my consolation was that “The Maze Runner" is but book one of a trilogy, with the second book, "The Scorch Trials" scheduled to be published this October!
I’m pretty sure I’m going to snag a copy of part two as soon as it becomes available in our library! If you by any chance read this article up to this point and are still interested in the book, check your local library for “The Maze Runner”. Should be a fun read for this Summer of 2010.