With no memory other than his age and name, Thomas arrives through an elevator lift to a place called the Glade. He learns the other occupants, all teen boys, have survived there for 2 years, keeping busy with farming, cooking, and most importantly, daily running of a huge maze that surrounds their small community. They believe the way out of the Glade is in the maze, which changes regularly. Thomas doesn’t know much, but he thinks he’s meant to be a runner, and once in the maze he senses a familiarity about it. Will he be the key to finding the way out? And will his memories ever return?
Though all the boys suffer from amnesia, they cope well with their given situation, and have an order to things. They have leaders, rules, and consequences for breaking them. They are surprisingly mature, levelheaded and accepting of their situation. Despite running the maze for 2 years, they’ve yet to succumb to despair. That is until one day a girl shows up with a message: things are about to change. And do they ever.
I loved this book. It was unpredictable, unique, gritty and absorbing. I read the 384 pages in break-neck pace, unnerved by the story and eager to get to the conclusion. It was like Lord of the Flies meets Lost, and I enjoyed every minute of it. There were scary parts, particularly when a mechanical/organic bulbous monsters known as Grievers prowl around the maze at night, hunting for the boys. Ones that get “stung” by the Grievers go through a haunting, painful change that results in the return of some past memories. In the course of the book several characters die, and it’s hard for the characters as well as the reader to accept the level of violence that the creators of the maze allow. Though not all is explained, there is some insight to all the questions by the end of the book. But keep in mind this is the first of a trilogy, so what is not learned in book 1 may be revealed in the next. It’s also worthy to note the teens have their own slang words. Never is an English swear word uttered by the boys, but they say things like shuck-face, klunk, shank, and greenie.
If you like fast-paced, edgy sci-fi, this is a great choice. I look forward to Book 2, The Scorch Trials.
Want a sneak peek at the book? Go here.