A few weeks ago, I finished the last (? there’s supposedly another book coming out, but this was billed as the last) book in the Maze Runner series. I had high hopes for this series. It was recommended several times from several sources as, “If you liked the Hunger Games, you’ll like the Maze Runner too!” Um. Not so much for me. I was disappointed in these books.
The first book, The Maze Runner, started out strong enough with a lot of mystery. I, like the main character, Thomas, had no idea what was going out for probably about the first 50 pages. I got a little nervous at this point. I don’t really like being kept in the dark too long; it worries me that the backstory won’t live up to all the hype, but I stuck with it. Once Thomas got his bearings a bit, things became more interesting, but there were still many unknowns. The first book asks a lot of questions. Who put these boys in the maze? What’s the purpose? Is WICKED, good? What’s going on with Thomas and Teresa? What’s their past? What’s the changing? Why does it give the Gladers some memories back? Why are these memories so haunting?
See, it’s a lot of questions. I mentioned before that this book sort of reminded me of the series Lost where they would answer at best 1/3 of all the quetions they asked while totally dismissing the rest. I’m all for well-written, open ended, thought inducing stories, but I don’t like feeling like the author didn’t have a planned ending in mind when writing the book.
By the end of the first book, I had a better idea of what the Maze was all about, and I was starting to understand how the Gladers got there. I had a better idea about what was happening in the world the Gladers left behind, but I didn’t really understand how the two were linked. The epilogue to the book was my favorite part. I genuinely had no idea that was coming, and it got me really excited for the Scorch Trials.
I really enjoyed this second book. I think it had a lot more action and excitement. The surprises were more frequent than in the first book, and the remaining characters gained a lot more depth. I finally got a better understanding of what had triggered this end of days situation and what the post apocalyptic world was like, but I wished they had elaborated on that more. I think it’s really important in dystopian novels to have a strong sense of what went wrong.
What bothered me so much about this book was the entire issue with Thomas and Teresa. Without giving too much away, I will say I was shocked to see his opinion of her change that suddenly. I mean, she did try and warn him. His reaction seemed very unwarranted. If the author was trying to make her out to be a true villain, I don’t think he did a very good job because I was pulling for her pretty strongly throughout the book, and I thought Thomas just ended up looking like a jerk by turning on her. Being a rule follower myself, it’s hard for me to see the evil in someone who misguidedly trusted the wrong side and made a big mistake.
The ending to the Scorch Trials wasn’t as compelling as the ending to the first book, but I wanted to know more about WICKED, and I was interested in seeing how the story would end, so I read The Death Cure.
Odd title. Odd book. Odd ending to the saga. The whole series they had been assuring us that WICKED was good, and they kind of had me convinced of it in the end. I mean, their methods were wrong, but their stated mission seemed pretty good. They were genuinely trying to help. I can understand why Thomas and his friends were reluctant to trust them after everything, but it seemed a little odd that they were unwilling to help seeing as they seemed to all be on the same side in the end.
The introduction of the Right Arm was interesting. I was hoping this would turn out to be the better planned alternative to WICKED, but, in my opinion, they were just as misguided.
The whole story line with Thomas and Newt felt really wrong. I wish they could have worked that one out better.
What bothered me the most about this book was the budding relationship between Brenda and Thomas. It seemed a little too convenient that the minute she showed up, Teresa was branded as this evil woman that Thomas could never forgive. Again, they just didn’t do enough to make me dislike Teresa. I ended up feeling really badly for her. I think she got the worst deal of all the characters. It seemed like she and Thomas had a strong history, which he threw away. I didn’t like it. I also wasn’t as surprised as I think the author would have liked with the epilogue to this book. I mean, didn’t that seem like the best solution all along?
Overall, it’s not a bad series, but it’s no Hunger Games. If you really love dystopian novels, and you’re looking for a shallow read, than you might like the Maze Runner. Personally, I don’t recommend it because it’s a lot of time to devote to a series only to be sort of meh at the end. If there is a fourth book, I might read it just to look for some redemption, but for now, I’m still looking for the next great series.
If you read the Maze Runner, what did you think of the series?
Have you found any great series worth checking out?