So I'd never read anything by Mr. Dashner before (after reading his blog and envisioning him eating Doritos in his undies, calling him Mr. Dashner is awesome). The Maze Runner is brilliant, but more than that, it's gripping and different and incredibly thought-provoking. The characters, especially Thomas, got into my head so completely that I couldn't relax, worried to death about what was going on and what was going to happen.
Being a writer, I wanted to learn from this story, to take notice of the scenes that filled me with emotion, to pay attention to the expert way the author melded description and action and feeling, but Mr. Dashner wrote such a compelling story that I was helpless against it. I WAS Thomas, and there was nothing I could do but keep reading in the hopes of finding the relief I so desperately wanted. By a third of the way into the book I gave myself up to the enjoyment of the story. I hope I absorbed something in this thick skull of mine.
No plot descriptions from me, as usual. There are probably several dozen very good reviews of the book out there with plot summaries and all, but truthfully, I recommend reading it from page one. No back blurb, no reviews, just open the book and read. That's how I did it, and afterward I read the back and am so glad--so grateful-- that I hadn't had all that information to start out with. All I can say is, the concept is too huge for a paragraph to do it justice. Be warned that it's the first in a planned trilogy, so there is a cliff-hanger ending, but if you like action and adventure with phenomenal characterization, or you just want an excellent book to read, toss it in your TBR pile. And if this book is in your TBR pile, move it to the top.
Here's an aside: When I was getting the links for this post, I read a bit on James Dashner's blog and found out that yesterday he was in Los Angeles on a book tour, at a smallish bookshop that I go to ALL THE TIME called Mrs. Nelson's. Seriously, the place is fifteen minutes from my house. I would have loved hearing him talk, and would definitely have spared an hour or three of my day to be there. *SIGH* Ohhh welllll. Brightside-enator seems to be broken.