Book Review – The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Title: The Maze Runner

Author: James Dashner

Format: Hardback

Published: 2009

 

A very long time ago back in the days when I was working at Walmart, I found myself in the book section for a few minutes either looking to kill a bit of time or on a break looking at the books house near by my electronics department. That was where I first stumbled upon The Maze Runner. The cover of the book and the title caught my attention. I read the blurb about the book and was intrigued and continued to be so as I read the first page or two.   I put the book back on the shelf thinking I would keep it in mind as I wasn’t enticed enough to spend my limited funds on the book.

 

It took me until recently to remember the book a lark and decide to pick it up. Little did I know that a movie has been made of the book which would entail a long wait list of over 50 people to get my hands on the book but I went for it and finally go my hands on the book and it was pretty decent. It took a while for me to get into the story and the world of the book. It was slow going and there were points where I thought I would give up and stop reading the book I think part of it is because I felt like there were similarities between the book and some other books I have recently read. Though they are vastly different in some respects I was reminded of Ender’s Game as well as a little bit of Lord of the Flies. Maze Runner takes on a different story despite some similar elements.

 

Once the story gets going it is pretty decent and worth the push to get into it even though it wasn’t what I expected based on the blurb, it was still something I enjoyed and with the last few chapters holding me fast such that I skipped half of my lunch to finish reading instead of going to get myself something to eat. I will also say the story surprised me in the fact that I originally thought this book was a one and done to discover it is a series, which I’ll be intrigued to see what comes of the series and have the next book on hold.

 

A brief over view of the book is a post apocalyptic world where the main character is lifted up via a elevator type box with hardly a memory to his name and a whole new world that is filled with nothing buy young boys aged 12 – 17 and he’s told that their job is to survive and figure out the maze it is a simply and straight forward existence filled with a lot of questions and oddities that get even more odd as the first girl ever is brought up the elevator and everything begins to change as she is marked as the beginning of the end. In a lot of ways this book is a survival story much akin to the Hunger Games just less death and possibly for a better reason than was had in the Hunger Games. We shall see in future books. Over all I would give this book a 3 out of 5 page review and say that it is a decent read.

Book Review – Warm Bodies… by Isaac Marion

Title: Warm Bodies

Author: Isaac Marion

Format: Paperback

Published/Written: 2011

Despite having already reviewed one book that has had a recent movie come out for it… I will say that it is not too often that I decide to pick up a book because a movie of it is coming out.  Yet, this was the case with Warm Bodies.  I fell in love with the story line from the first preview I saw in theaters.  I always thought it would be interesting to do a Zombie love story… I was excited to see  someone had done it even if it was just a film… I later discovered that the movie was based off a novel and I got even more excited… I knew I needed to pick up the book even if there was a forever long waiting list for it at the library…

When I sat down to crack the book open… I was surprised by how the story was conveyed.  One would not think that a zombie would make a good narrator for a first person perspective novel… but Isaac accomplishes a very realistic voice that is quite compelling and has a rather strong vocabulary.  (It enthralled me to read words that I hardly see in type let alone hear spoken.)  I know it seems bizarre for a zombie to be able to tell his story in such a way… but it works considering that the life of “R” before he became a zombie indicates that he was a well-educated man.

For me… the story gripped me right away and this book is what I would call something of an escapist book… every time I picked it up… I was lost to the world around me and entered into the post-apocalyptic America where zombies rule the world and the living are few and far between.  The root cause of this happenstance is uncertain… but not really important.  The focus isn’t so much on the how and why but on “R” as he deals with the issues of being a zombie and protecting Julie the girl he meets… after killing her boyfriend.  If you have seen the previews… you know the general plot of the story, thus I don’t feel it would be a spoiler to mention how the gradual change of “R” was masterfully done as it was so subtle… and quite powerful at times.

Over all… I found the book to be very well written… Isaac is a master of short syllabic dialogue, communicating a lot through short conversations and prose.  On the whole… I loved this book, despite knowing most of what would happen based on the movie previews… I was surprised by the twists and turns the journey took to reach the end… I do have a few complaints about the book though.  In the book there are two different narrators, the first of course being “R”… and then a second additional one.  My problem wasn’t with the second perspective, as it gave a lot of depth to the story… the problem was that it was hard at times to realize the switch right away… it didn’t take me too long to discover the change but… it was enough that I had to go back and reread some.  I also took issue with there being a shortage of dialogue tags… most of the time it was fine… considering the brevity of the dialogue but there were a few occasions where I would have to sort of count to see who said what.  This would have been more problematic if the speech patterns between some characters weren’t vastly different from one another…  it did become an issue on occasion though. With that said… I am still going to give this book a 4 page rating…it is not too often that I find a book that I can’t really put down and can finish in about two days.  So… if you are looking for something unique, or are into zombies… this book is a must read… for those not so into zombies… you might still want to give it a try… but I won’t blame you if zombies aren’t your thing…

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