Audio Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner
By James Dashner
Published by Random House Audio
Source: Library

From Goodreads:

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Hm. It’s taken me a while to figure out how to review this one because to be honest, I’m not really sure how I feel about the book itself.

In terms of the audio, the narrator doesn’t sound anything like a teenager. This may bother some people, since Thomas is supposed to be a teen. It doesn’t really bother me because since I’m not a teenager myself I rarely read YA books in the voice of an age-appropriate character. They always sound older to me in my head. And honestly, the narrator was good enough to make up for being of the wrong age group. He was a really smooth reader, to the point that his voice almost lulled me to sleep a few times (though to be fair, that may be because I was listening at work). He was good at doing distinct character voices as well without  making them sound overly cartoony, and he did a good job with accents. Overall I really enjoyed his narration.

As far as the book itself, I was less impressed. It made me sad, too, because this book was on my to-read list for ages and I was really looking forward to it. It’s not that I didn’t like it, exactly…more that I was just kind of underwhelmed and I had a lot of issues with it. First and foremost, it is absolutely chock full of fake swear words. I mean REALLY full of fake swear words. Tons of them. Overkill. It started to bug after a while. Or not even after a while, almost immediately. Maybe this was just a personal pet peeve but I really don’t see how it could be. Profanity doesn’t bother me, but fake profanity does.

Also, the book takes a really long time to get going. It starts rather slowly and proceeds rather slowly, and I didn’t really feel like it picked up much at all until about halfway through the book (or halfway through the audiobook, in this case). The book kind of spins its wheels in some places, like the continuous refusal to give Thomas any answers of any kind. He asks, they refuse, he asks, they refuse, ad nauseum. Which was fine, whatever, but it was also a refusal to give the reader any answers and it began to get annoying after a while. Especially since it was pointed out so many times that no answers were being given. It just exacerbated the annoyance factor.

I also found it a bit repetitive in some aspects. There was quite a bit of accusing Thomas of “knowing something” that kind of went on and on. I just had kind of a hard time concentrating. For whatever reason, this book just wasn’t clicking with me. I would find my mind wandering and then I’d have to rewind to catch what I missed the first time.

I do think this would be a great series for teenage boys, particularly those who are reluctant readers. It’s definitely got a boy vibe going on. There is a girl character but for most of the book she’s absentee. And that was fine, because there doesn’t need to be a female character in every book. Honest.

I feel like I’m being really negative here. I didn’t really dislike the book, despite the fact that most of this review is complaining about it. I think I just had high expectations and it fell short of them. I wanted to love it and I didn’t, and now I’m disappointed. I liked it enough that I’ll read or listen to the sequels, but they won’t be a priority.

3/5 Stars

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2 Comments

  1. I have had this on my To read list forever now too. I had a friend of mine tell me it was “meh” Not at all what she expected and so it dropped to the bottom of my pile. I’m kinda glad for this semi negative review because it will be dropping off completely.

    you had me with Fake swear words. I can’t stand that…. I dealt with it in Across the Universe, because it wasn’t overdone and it was just one word.

    Sorry you didn’t like this one all that much, but thanks for saving me the trouble! lol

    Reply
  2. I felt exactly the way you did about this book—high expectations and there was so much potential but it just didn’t live up. One of my biggest grievances was that Thomas, who is the main character, was far less interesting than the likes of his buddies and he was just downright annoying. You’re right, there were so many questions and not nearly enough answers to leave me feeling totally satisfied. I was intrigued enough by the concept to read book #2, but alas, it was much of the same thing over and over again only in a very different setting. I figure at this point I’m engaged enough to want to finish the series, but it was a majour bummer.

    Reply

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