The following is in response to The Maze Runner series (excluding the prequels) by James Dashner.
Having seen the film based on the first book of this series in 2014, I was excited to finally get a chance to dig into Dashner’s words for myself. It is very evident right off the bat that the movie and the film have their differences, as most film adaptations do. I probably sound like a broken record at this point, pointing out yet again that in most cases the book is better than the film, however this one seemingly ubiquitous truth is, as it turns out, not so ubiquitous. Meaning: the film was better than the book. My mouth feels dirty when I say it and my brain is irksome when I think it, but it’s true. The writing was mundane and didn’t linger much on the adult themes and perils that the teenagers face in these books. I was want of an existential dialogue on what it means to witness death.
The broader theories were there. In the series, the teenagers come to find out that all the hell that they have been put through is so that their brain patterns can be mapped into a cure for a disease that has ravaged the planet. In the trials that they go through, many of the kids are badly wounded and even killed. Does the ends justify the means? The idea was brought up briefly by the main character, but I needed more. The question of means and ends and their justifications in between were decided, but there was not much inner turmoil going on in the characters that made this decision a hard one. It just felt like the author answered this question for the reader without much of the reader’s involvement.
Another disappointing feature about the series is the ending. After all the deaths that the trials have caused, the cure is not found and the remaining kids are saved at the last minute by an unseen character that magically has a place for them to go to and restart the human race. It was very much out of left-field, a deus ex machina that really took me out of the story.