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Radiant Shadows

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Series #1)

The Maze Runner - James Dashner After recently reading (and loving) the Hunger Games, I was eager to devour another dystopian adventure. It became apparent quite quickly however, that this was no Hunger Games.The first hurdle I had to overcome was the odd language Dashner had created for the Gladers. I don't feel like it added anything to the plot, and after learning that they had only been Gladers for about 2 years, I couldn't understand how they had come to adopt such strange terms ("clunker", "shankface"). Thomas, though unable to remember much about his life prior to the Glade, managed to speak without the weird language nuances (at first) and as he began to adopt more of them, I found it harder to lose myself in the story; I spent a lot of time wondering why they were speaking so annoyingly childish.Next came the frustrating secrecy about how the Glades functioned and why they had certain rules (like why only the Runners were allowed out in the Maze). I couldn't understand why someone wouldn't just explain things to Thomas be done with it; instead we were forced to listen to Thomas ask the same questions over and over, and listen to the same answer of "you'll find out eventually". I feel like withholding information was a tool used by Dashner to create suspense and conflict, and all it did was make for very slow pacing in many sections.Speaking of slow pacing, the lack of character development made for an emotionless read which only added to my sense of Dashner drawing out the story. Dashner spent so much time telling me how Thomas felt, versus allowing me to experience how Thomas was feeling, that I had a hard time relating to him. Many of his reactions confused me and made it impossible for me to identify with him. I was also left extremely frustrated with Teresa's character. As the only female present in the majority of the novel, she should have been a well-developed and strong character. Instead, she is merely a "very pretty" face, brought in, I assume, to again add suspense and conflict. I didn't see the need for Teresa, and since Dashner spent no time developing her character, I was unable to identify with her either. At the end of the day, I just didn't care what happened to Thomas, Teresa, or any of the Gladers (except for maybe Chuck). My biggest problem with the Maze Runner however, was definitely Dashner's completely underwhelming and disappointing solution to the Maze. Having Thomas conveniently remember bits and pieces, and then ultimately figure out everything (the way he did) after having only been in the Glades for about a week was the biggest cop-out I've ever read. I wanted to see Thomas overcome obstacles, and persevere through failure to come to conclusions on his own, using his intellect. I did not want it spoon-fed to him on a silver platter, virtually risk free. But, this ties in to the lack of character development, which seems to be Dashner's theme. So I guess I can't be too surprised by the completely unsatisfying conclusion to the Maze.Check out this review on my blog!