Lazy Saturday Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

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Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner #1
Edition: Paperback, 371 pages
Publication Details: August 4th 2011 by Chicken House
Genre(s): YA; Dystopia
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

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When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade – a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they came to be there – or what’s happened to the world outside.

Review

OK so this is more of a book-to-movie rant than it is a review. Soz.

I really wanted to read the book before I watched the film, but that didn’t happen. And it turned out that I really loved the film. I needed to know what happens next so I figured I’d finally pick up the first book and move on to book two ASAP…but now I’m not really sure I want to.

In my experience with book to movie adaptations, I ALWAYS prefer the book, and spend a lot of time ranting about what they changed or missed out…but I also nearly always read the book first.

Therefore, with The Maze Runner, I found it really hard to judge how much I would have enjoyed it if I’d read it first, because seriously guys, I preferred the film so much more. I found myself picking out parts they did better in the film and completely agreed with why they changed some things.

In the book, protagonist Thomas is a bit of a cry-baby to start with and I just found him annoying throughout. I also much preferred the relationship between both Thomas and Chuck and Thomas and Teresa in the film. The book felt quite one dimensional and evoked little emotion from me.

I guess I liked that the whole solving the maze was more about the code in the books, but then I think what they did in the film with the Griever’s machinery as it were, was genius.

Overall, it is a really great story full of action and suspense but I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the series. Don’t get me wrong, I do still really want to know what happens next, but I kind of want the movie version not the book one.

And that my friends, is truly a first.

It leaves a weird taste in my mouth.

unicorn rating 3

The Maze Runner is available in paperback now from Waterstones.

Teen Girls Make Good Spies Too, Buster: Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child (Ruby Redfort #2)

I’m a bit behind on reviews so I thought I’d try and get them out today instead of a Favourites Friday post. But Happy Friday regardless!

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Everyone’s favorite girl detective is back for a second mind-blowing installment, packed with all the off-the-wall humor, action, and friendship of the first book. This time, though, it’s an adventure on the wide-open ocean, and Ruby is all at sea. . . . Can she crack the case of the Twinford pirates while evading the clutches of a vile sea monster as well as the evil Count von Viscount? Well, you wouldn’t want to bet against her.

I should have written this review when the book was fresh in my mind but hey ho, better late than never right? I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first book in this series Look Into my Eyes and Take Your Last Breath was more of the same; it didn’t disappoint.

Ruby is a great character with her sarcky, feisty wit and quick thinking. She makes these book extremely fun to read, you can’t help but cheer her on the whole way through, even if she calls people ‘Buster’ too much, and has a penchant for t-shirts with annoying slogans on them, it all adds to her unique character.

The book starts with Ruby on a deep-sea-diving training course with Spectrum, the Secret Agency that head-hunted her in the first book, which is pretty convenient considering the mission she is later assigned to happens to be about a body found dead at sea (coincidence?). This leads to all manner of crazy oceanic occurrences such as sharks in the harbour, dead turtles, ships being kidnapped by pirates, confused cargo shipping including some missing elephants and the strange whispering of the sea that only kids can hear. Oh not to mention the old legend of the sea monster which may or may not be currently strangling people.

With codes to crack and the many pieces of the puzzle to piece together, Ruby is a busy a girl and the story just flies by. It’s a perfectly entertaining, light summer read.

But, I hear you cry, but you do have to just go with it and take it with a pinch of salt. Don’t expect much realism here. I mean, I know it’s aimed at a MUCH (sob) younger audience than me but Lauren Child doesn’t even try to make the unbelievable believable. Ruby as a teenage secret agent didn’t manage to convince me enough this time round, she just didn’t seem clever, or serious enough and a lot of time she just sat around thinking but not actually doing anything. Surely the ‘real’ secret agents wouldn’t just wait for her to solve it? but they didn’t seem to really care that people were turning up dead.

Despite those things, I’m really glad this series exists. There are a lot of YA novels out there the moment featuring kick-ass girls with real personalities but not so much for the 8-12 age group which I think this falls into, and definitely not when it comes to spy novels. Comparisons to the Stormbreaker series are endless and it’s pretty cool that Ruby Redfort is out there doing it for the girls. Even if Alex Rider would totally kick her arse.

I gave Ruby#2 4/5 unicorns. My copy is published by Harper Collins Children’s Books.