Rating 3 out of 5 stars. I can't believe I started reading this book on July 7 and I BARELY now got done with it (Sept 6) *faints* I had zero desire to open this book up and instead I've been racking up my points on Solitaire LOL
Anyhoo, I saw the movie first - which prompted me to read the books since there were parts to the movie which were super confusing and I thought for sure the movie had somehow screwed up the book. I just knew the answers to my questions would all be found in the book.
NOPE. Couldn't have been more wrong. The book follows the movie except for a few things that I'm not sure why they were even changed.
The Maze Runner is a dystopian young adult novel just perfect for a middle school aged boys. The world has been set ablaze by some out of control sun flares which destroyed most of the Earth's ecosystem, starting with the forests in South America. Now the world is a wasteland rampant with disease and hunger.
When the adults started dying, an organization called WICKED took over the orphaned children and set them up in an experiment to test their survival skills. They hope to test and train them to accomplish some mysterious goal that will somehow help them change the current state of the world. The organization sets up an unsolvable maze and places these boys in the mazes, testing their resolve and survival skills.
Only the strong make it through, but will it be enough to save the world?
Thomas - whose memories are wiped - finds himself in an elevator being sent to an unknown and yet somehow familiar place known as the maze. A large group of boys resides there and as he tries to come to grips with the world around him, he knows he's destined for something else.
Can he survive the dangers of his new world long enough to complete his destiny or will the monsters he's surrounded with do him in? And what of Teresa - a girl who suddenly appears and swears she knows him. Why can he speak to her telepathically? Does she hold the key to his locked memories?
Everything is all one big mystery Thomas must solve if he's to survive.
Changes from book to film:
First, Teresa (the only girl) plays such a small part in the book, and is telepathically linked to Thomas. It's been a moment since I saw the film, but I don't remember that part and I know she played a bigger role in the film. In the book, she was either in a coma for a good part of her stay or locked away since the rest of the boys didn't trust her. The only time she's ever part of the group in the book is when they use her to solve the code of the maze.
There was also no Griever that Thomas defeats in the film and takes back a part to the camp. In the book, he does save Alby and avoids three Grievers, but he plunges them down a cliff with some help. There are no Grievers stuck in a wall like in the film.
Maybe I was skimming too quickly, but I wanted to read a huge dramatic scene where some of the Gladers decide to stay behind, like they did in the movie, but in the book, there wasn't really any goodbyes that I glanced. There was only a mention at the end with Thomas saying he thought the Gladers who stayed behind had all died.
There was also a change at the very end where in the film, the survivors make it to the game room and that deranged Glader comes up from behind them and inadvertently kills Charles. In the book, the Gladers are greeted by a creepy female scientist (Creators) along with a previously abducted Glader one of the Grievers stole one night from the camp. The Glader is not himself and is being controlled by the Creators. He's ordered to kill Thomas, but Charles steps in.
Also, in the movie, the soldiers come in and shoot everyone up, including the creepy scientist lady and try their best to sound all Terminator-like: "Come with me if you want to live." Later after the survivors follow the soldiers, we see all the previously shot scientists (including the creepy female one) stand up and dust off the fake bullets they were shot with. They are all congratulating each other and say the kids are now ready for part 2 of their experiment and the movie ends there.
In the book, there is a longer piece but no clear explanation. The soldiers likewise come in and shoot the place up, kill the scientists, and take the survivors with them. But then the kids see haggard people outside in a city with lesions and stuff on their faces. One ill woman walks up to the truck they are in and shouts at Thomas not to listen or trust in anything the soldiers say and that he and the group of kids are the salvation from the Flare. Before Thomas can question her, the soldiers run her over.
Another woman in the truck with the survivors tells Thomas what's really going on, and how their organization was founded to save children like them from WICKED. They set up the kids in a bunker and they are anxious to see what comes next. There's no scene where the previously dead scientists rise up, but there is a memo in the epilogue we assume is written by the creepy female scientist who was shot and supposedly killed. Perhaps the author forgot to clarify this and the movie does a better job of explaining that the shooting scene was rigged to fool the children.
Either way, it was super confusing and not a fun read :( But I'll give it 3 stars solely because I'm thinking I'm not the intended audience: middle aged school boys.