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Book Review: The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner

This dystopian adventure is exciting from start to finish. It’s a must read for anyone looking for a fun story of friendship and bravery.

Many new series in young adult literature feature futuristic, dystopian societies that revolve around a heroine who saves the day. Friends have told me that their teen sons are not interested in books where the main characters are girls, so The Maze Runner series may appeal to teen boys more because the protagonist is a male teenager.

The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and The Death Trials by James Dashner are about a group of teen boys who are the only occupants in a futuristic world. Sun flares destroyed their “normal” world, leaving them to live in a large courtyard with no adults and no understanding of what is happening to them. The boys, aware that they need a plan in order to survive, scrape together a makeshift society even though they lack resources and leadership. Thomas, the protagonist, arrives in this new world with no memory of his prior life. The three books follow Thomas trying to figure out his role in this world, although he intuitively knows that he has been tapped to be a leader.

Throughout the series, Thomas remembers pieces of his past and understands his role in this new society. He realizes that he has been sent to this new world for a bigger purpose and he reluctantly accepts this role. Not everyone is going to remain in this new world and Thomas knows that this decision will be his.

Although this book takes place in the future, there are many universal themes that are just as relevant today. For example, the trials of friendship. Many times, Thomas does not know if someone is a friend or foe. He must take a chance and hope for the best. Another universal theme – searching for normal – is ever present. Thomas just wants to be a normal teen. But he has to handle adult responsibilities that have been thrust upon him. His extraordinary skills, such as bravery and the ability to telepathically communicate with another character, separates him from the other boys and this makes him feel different and alone. He learns to trust his own instincts and ignore the insecurities that are part of many of his decisions. Ultimately, he has to figure out if the end justifies all of his actions.

I read the first two books in five days and then waited impatiently for the third one. Have all three books ready to go. I finished one at 2:00 a.m. and started the next one at 2:01 a.m.  And just when I thought I was done with Thomas and his friends, a prequel, The Kill Order, came out.

Eca Taylor is the former circulation specialist for Your Teen Magazine.

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