The Maze Runner – Apples to Oranges
(Spoiler Warning: If you read this blog post, there will be spoilers about the Maze Runner book/movie and character spoilers from the Hunger Games)
The Maze Runner was pitched to me as the Hunger Games with amnesia.
Since I hold three fingers in the air in solidarity for my love of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger games, I didn’t need any more incentive to start reading James Dashner’s YA post-apocalyptic dystopian series. I was immediately drawn into the story from the first chapter. Both stories have a group of young kids who are forced to survive in a foreign setting. HG contestants struggle to outlive each other while the MR kids try to escape an environment that changes every day. Plus, Thomas (Katniss) is a strong hero that you will root for, you will wonder if there is a love connection with Teresa (Peeta) and the character of Chuck (Rue) is going to break your heart.
Not that the Maze Runner needs to be latched on to another popular series because it’s successful all on its own. The franchise just released the second movie, the Scorch Trials, in September of 2015 and they are already in pre-production to create films for the last two books in the series. I was at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con where panels with James Dashner were standing room only. It also could have been that the story’s main character, Thomas, is played by Dylan O'Brien, of MTV Teen Wolf fame. Thus, James Dashner had rock star status at the con just by the film’s casting choices. The Maze Runner is popular because the series has struck a chord with YA fans. The characters are stripped of their memories, the support from families and are placed in a new environment where it’s all on them to survive. There is a sense of freedom and the allure to have the ability to start from scratch with one’s life choices.
So which one did I enjoy the best… I agree with NOR pollsters and vote for the book!
I was deeply torn about this decision because the Maze looks amazing on the big screen and they made A+ casting choices with Dylan O'Brien (Teen Wolf), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones), Ki Hong Lee (The Nine Lives of Chloe King) and Will Poulter (We are the Millers). For me, it came down to size. In the movie, everything looked so gigantic. The glade was huge and the actual Maze seemed like a never ending loop of tall walls. In the book, the author made the readers feel claustrophobic. We were rooting for the characters to do whatever was necessary to escape the confined space. Within a few chapters, the walls seemed to be closing in on them, on top of all their other obstacles.
There is something I haven’t mentioned that was a fault in the book and then the movie, which was the ending. At the start of the story, the characters have amnesia (with the exception that they know their first name). To me, there was an invisible contract that by the end of the book, the characters would either regain their memories or have answers explained to the audience. Instead the characters and the audience only got a trickle of information about what was going on and the story ends on a huge cliffhanger. You had to read more to learn more but there was no promise to give answers.
That rubbed me the wrong way so I didn’t continue reading the stories. Then, a month ago, I found myself trapped on a plane where they were showing the Scorch Trials and I forgot that I was still bitter. The movie was great but it felt like an entirely new story with deeply familiar characters. Since I’m now halfway through the series, I’m committed to finishing all four novels to get the answers. But if storyline threads aren’t wrapped up, there might be a part 2 Apples vs Oranges blog post for Night Owl Reviews.
BUY THE MOVIE
BUY THE BOOK
Next time, in the romantic spirit of Valentine’s day, let’s discuss Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler’s Wife. Which version is your favorite?
Columnist: Jessie lives in Oregon and writes to avoid the rain. She only feels compelled to kill her characters when she starts a new diet and if she hates the ending of a TV episode she’ll rewrite it to give everyone a happily ever after. Currently Jessie is an unpublished author but she works tirelessly to removed two letters – un – from that word.
Column book and movie tape drawn by Evangeline Owen
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