I almost lemmed this at 25%. I’m glad that I kept reading- not because the book got significantly better, but because I don’t like quitting.
The first 25% is spent introducing the main character (and by extension the reader) to the mysteries of the Glade, the Creators and the Maze. Every other page a new mystery is introduced: how do the walls move? Where do the supplies come from? Why were these kids chosen? Where do the Grievers come from? Where is the sun? How come no one has been there longer than 2 years? What’s in the Greivers’ stingers? What’s in the serum?
All very reasonable questions, but unfortunately, the main character (and by extension the reader) is constantly told to “Stop Asking Stupid Questions, You N00B.” It’s not until the last 25% of the book that any (but definitely not all) of those question get answered.
Thomas, the main character, has amnesia. All the characters have amnesia, but the difference between Thomas and the rest was that the supporting cast were probably pretty interesting in their forgotten lives. Thomas has no personality. He is a bland, forgettable stand-in for the reader (in the same way that Bella Swan was in Twilight). Most interactions between Thomas and other characters (Minho and Chuck, especially come to mind) seemed to consist of Thomas saying something forgettable and then Minho responding with something that’s actually interesting. Like a Make-Your-Own-Adventure novel, or an RPG. Main Character gives neutral prompt, NPC says something important and useful. Repeat for 375 pages.
And, speaking of useless, let’s talk about Teresa. She shows up the day after Thomas (somewhere around 15%) and spends the next half of the novel in a coma. There is one girl in this novel and she spends most of it unconscious in bed. Of course, that doesn’t stop the Gladers from making innuendos about what they’d love to do to her. In case, like me, you found yourself wondering why the author even bothered introducing this character, lo and behold! she wakes from her coma the day before everything goes to shit and delivers the important final piece of the puzzle so that Thomas can save every one. She then spends the rest of the time huddled next to Thomas for protection.
I’m not going to go too much into the ending. I’ll just say this: Do you like M Night Shamalayan movies?
This is the first part of a series. I’ve no interest in reading the next book.