Usually, when I see that a book is being made into a movie, I try to make sure I’ve read the book first. I didn’t do that with The Maze Runner. I watched the movie a few months ago, but just finished reading the book. Now that I’ve experienced both, I have to say that this is one of the rare cases where the movie may have been better than the book.
There were some parts of the book that just didn’t make a lot of sense, or were obviously put in just to achieve a goal, rather than fitting into the flow of the narrative. Alby being stung by a “dead” griever was a big one. As was Gally “sacrificing” himself to a greiver. In the movie, those problems were resolved in a much more logical way. I also think the griever hole made more sense in the movie than the book.
Looking at just the book, without comparing it to the movie, it was fine. I think the story itself was solid, though the execution was lacking at times. The world building is great, and the promise of exploring the larger world plays a large part in my intention to continue reading the series.
Many of the characters were distinct and memorable, but not all of them. Thomas’s reactions to the characters was also a little confusing. He doesn’t like Alby, but does like Newt and Minho, despite the fact that those three boys are remarkably similar in their attitudes towards Thomas. Teresa is another problem character. I understand why Thomas reacts to her the way he does, but it seems like every other character just accepts her into their world, despite how bizarre her appearance was. She gets a benefit of the doubt that they don’t give Thomas, and that seemed really inconsistent to me.
The ending of the book is just okay. It seemed like a few characters were killed off just for emotional effect, and not because their deaths actually furthered the story. That can work if done right, but in this book it was a little forced. There were some other aspects of the ending that didn’t make much sense, but they were ambiguous enough that I expect them to be resolved in the subsequent books.
Ultimately, I liked the book, but it wasn’t great. It’s not the kind of book that I’ll pick up every few years, and like I mentioned earlier, it may be one of the few instances where the movie adaptation was better.