Read: The Scorch Trials, by James Dashner
In a way, I think James Dashner’s greatest strength unfortunately becomes his biggest weakness - in creating a narrative that is constantly building to the next slice of exposition, and a world that bleeds right into your consciousness, his characters often get left by the wayside. What you’re left with is a curious phenomenon - horrifying things happen to the characters in these books, but they rarely carry the emotional heft that comparable works inspire. There is very little existential angst here - the mental wounds are present, but rarely very deep.
That world, though - the reality-bending nature of the environments Thomas finds himself in is ramped up here, and events and environments fade out of the dust in an almost dreamlike way. The current sweeps you along, before you really have time to question if what’s happening makes any sense. That’s probably a good thing - part of the novel’s delight is in spinning a grand conspiracy narrative, and at times the plausibility of it all would likely buckle under any rational pressure. It’s all good fun, though, and going in without an analytical eye is probably the best course of action.
I question why I’m reading these books, save for the fact that it’s all preamble to watching Dylan O’Brien perform in the upcoming film adaptation of the first in the series, The Maze Runner; it’s entertaining, though, and a welcome respite from the often-dry research I’m doing for my next book, not to mention a sharp reminder that if writing isn’t fun, there really isn’t any point. Maybe that’s enough. In terms of intelligence and - sorry - quality, though, this belongs firmly in the Teen Wolf camp of things I’m enjoying.