My writer half and my reader half ganged up and read Maze Runner recently. The verdict was… less than rosy.
Over the past few days Sebastian and Rain read Divergent and Maze Runner. There were good reasons, I promise.
If you haven’t met Sebastian and Rain before, you can read this post. It probably won’t clear anything up.
Sebastian: I have to talk about The Maze Runner first. You made me stay up late last night finishing it, so I should darn well get to explain why I hated it so much.
Rain: Like anyone could stop you.
Sebastian. Well, where to start. The first thing I noticed was how mundane the writing was. I don’t insist books use flowery language, subtle metaphors, or words above a tenth grade reading level. But the author of this book seemed to sit back and think, “Readers are quite stupid, so I should stick to words an eight year old would understand and simple sentences.”
Rain: There’s nothing wrong with simple, clear language.
Sebastian: The creature was big and horrible. It was very scary. Roger wanted to run away but he was too scared.**
Rain: Okay, a bit more poetic than that might be nice. What else?
Sebastian: The over-explaining nearly killed me.
Roger waited for the older boy to go inside, because he didn’t want to go into the house before the older boy did. When the older boy had gone in and closed the door Roger went inside after him.
“Boo!” a voice said.
Roger jumped because he was scared by the loudness of the voice that had been very close to him.
“You scared me,” he said angrily but also scaredly and with a hint of irritation.***
Rain: I bet naming all the emotions drove you mad too.
Sebastian: So mad! It’s not that writers should never name emotions, but if you have to list six of them in a row to explain what the character’s feeling something has gone wrong.
Rain: You’re so exaggerating.
Sebastian: I swear it was at least five in a row, and not just once.
Roger heard the little, frightened voice of Piggins, and it made him feel scared as well, and helpless, but at the same time he felt courageous and curious, and just a little bit constipated.****
Sebastian: Okay, maybe not constipated, but it was something like that.
Rain: Are you done complaining about The Maze Runner yet?
Sebastian: Only two more things.
Rain: Fine, hurry up, then.
Sebastian: The description was terrible and disorientating, and it didn’t make sense in terms of the order the characer would have noticed things. Like, the character finds himself in an unfamiliar environment. Then he notices the sky is blue, the birds are singing, a creek is babbling, the grass it wet… oh yes, and he’s surrounded by a hundred fur-wearing savages pointing boar spears at him.
You idiot! The first thing you see is the people about to kill you. I don’t care about the colour of the sky.
Rain: That never happened.
Sebastian: I made up the details, obviously.
Rain: And the last thing?
Sebastian: The whole book was built around the mystery of what was going on. That was the only reason a reader would keep going because, face it, the writing was terrible. But a lot of it could have been cleared up earlier if the others had answered the POV character’s questions.
Why didn’t they? For no good story reason. I swear it was purely to keep the reader in suspense.
Rain: Are you quite done?
Sebastian: Actually, I thought of another one. The world made no sense. Given the conditions described, the kids couldn’t have grown enough food to live on, and the purpose of the maze was entirely nonsensical. There are so many better ways to achieve what (ahem) were trying to achieve.
Rain: But you still read the book all the way to the end.
Sebastian: Only because you made me. I was thinking the whole time it was a rip-off of The Cube, but not as good.
Rain: Sorry, but I had to find out why the maze existed.
Sebastian: I didn’t care why it existed. I thought it would be a stupid reason and it was. Plus I didn’t care about any of the characters and the writing was more painful that lemon juice in a paper cut. Please tell me you’re not going to make me read the sequel.
Rain: Uh, no. That would be more than even I can take.
Sebastian: Are we going to talk about Divergent as well?
Rain: We were going to, but you went on about The Maze Runner for so long that now we don’t have time.
Sebastian: Okay, we’ll talk about Divergent next time.
** Not a quote from the book.
*** Also not a quote from the book.
**** Look, none of these are quotes, so quit it.
Have you read The Maze Runner? How far did you get? What did you think?
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