Why the Place Matters. “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner – a Book Review

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, Book One)The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love a good maze. Mazes serve a different purpose than labyrinths. Labyrinths are meant for walking meditations.

Mazes are for the fun of getting through to the end, or getting too lost to figure them out. There’s a certain amount of mystery and excitement at what I may find next. Frustration can be a part of it when I’m coming to dead ends one too many times or if I can’t seem to figure it out on my own. I’ve tried mazes that were super fun, mazes that were made from different materials, and in different countries.

I have a favourite one in England. A large tree stands in the middle and my grandfather used to stand way up on the platform built around the tree, watching me below. He’d sometimes provide me with directions when I seemed to get lost for too long. Although, sometimes I’d catch him laughing, so I knew that he was tricking me and sending me the wrong way on purpose. As I got to be a teen I figured out how to get out of the maze and with that some of the magic disappeared, but I also gained a secret. I’ll never tell the solution.

In The Maze Runner by James Dashner, the characters are unsure of the purpose of the maze. It’s kind of a neat perspective from which to begin writing the story. The challenge that I met in picturing Dashner’s maze, was that although it was detailed in the description, I had a great deal of trouble figuring out what it looked like. I ended up not trying to picture it at all. And instead, felt puzzled by its gaping existence in my mind while trudging through the rest of the novel.

Towards the end, as Thomas and Theresa start to connect and their relationship comes to the forefront, I was able to enjoy the story. That continued right up to the end of the novel. Less than one-quarter of the last part of the novel was worth reading. Why did I keep reading it? Because I love mazes so much that I truly was hoping for some scene to help me fill in what the author was trying to show me.

The place, or the setting, particularly in this story, another world, is so important to get just right. It’s important to write enough detail that the reader can take on a mental image of what the place looks like. And for me, the maze was something I so much wanted to envision. There was a disconnect between Dashner’s writing and my reading.

Place. Some place, somewhere that I want a book to take me. A new locale to check out and live in for a while. A maze, that I wish that I could have envisioned while I attempted to follow Dashner’s obscure description. Couldn’t find the escape to a different world, in my book fort, with his novel in my hand.

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5 thoughts on “Why the Place Matters. “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner – a Book Review

  1. Your favourite maze in England sounds intriguing! Would love to explore it one day 🙂
    Same as Noirfifre, I didn’t read the book but watched the movie. It was such a twist when the group reached a high-tech lab-like setting from a living environment deprived of technology. It was way out of my expectation, but also got me interested in the sequel!

    Liked by 1 person

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