The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Connie Willis has a new book out called Blackout. No, this review is not supposed to be about Ms. WIllis’s new book, a book that I am not going to buy even though I’m a big fan of Ms. Willis’s writing. This post is about the reason that I’m not going to read Ms. Willis’s new book anytime soon. The last line of the Publisher’s Weekly review of Blackout says, “Readers allergic to cliffhangers may want to wait until the second volume comes out in November 2010.”

So. This review is about The Maze Runner and why I’m frustrated with authors and publishers who publish cliffhanger novels and tell us to wait until six months from now, next year, who knows when, for the next installment, which may or may not resolve and complete the story. I already watch LOST, for pete’s sake. Do you know how many unresolved stories I already have hanging around inside my head waiting for the author and the publisher (or TV producer) to get around to finishing the story?

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins “leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment.” (Publisher’s Weekly) Semicolon review of the first book in the series, The Hunger Games.

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness. Sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go. However, we’re not finished yet. Resolution is yet to come. The story is not over . . .

Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter. The third book in the Gallagher Girls series about a girl who attends a secret school for spies. This one is not so very cliff-hanger-ish, but I still have to carry the details of who’s who and what’s going on around in my head until the fourth book comes out.

The Roar by Emma Clayton “should also feature at the very least a warning label: ‘YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FINISH THIS STORY FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS. READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL.’ The Roar is a very good story but it doesn’t end so much as it stops, in mid-story.” Semicolon review here.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. The sequel, Forge, is due out this month. Will the second book complete Isabel’s story or not?

And these are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head. Some books for which I very much wanted to read “the rest of the story” have faded into the dim mists of my 52 year old memory, and I wouldn’t know what was happening to whom if I did happen upon the sequel(s).

The Maze Runner is a good book. It reminds me of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It has tension, suspense, dystopian undertones, a bit of romance, and lots of action.

However, the ending is not, an ending that is. If you want to know what really happens to Thomas and the rest of the kids trapped in The Maze, you won’t really be able to find out until . . . Well, the sequel, The Scorch Trials, is due out in October, and Mr. Dashner is still working on the third book in the trilogy, The Death Cure. I don’t think I’ll last that long.

I have a suggestion for publishers and authors. I know that getting readers hooked on a series sells books. I know that you can’t fit all of that wonderful epic novel into just one five hundred page book sometimes.

1. Finish the story before you publish anything. Write all three or all five or all ten volumes of your story before you publish the first one.

2. Publish one book per month or every two months, kind of like Dickens and Thackeray and those other Victorians did when they published their novels in installments. I might be able to remember what happened in the first book long enough to read and enjoy the second.

3. At least, warn us when your novel ends in a non-ending cliff-hanger.

I don’t think anyone is listening. But I only have room for one LOST never-ending series of questions, partial answers, more questions and unresolved relationships and plots in my life. If you warn me that you will be finishing the story in the next decade or so, I might make room in my brain for it as soon as LOST ends in May.

15 thoughts on “The Maze Runner by James Dashner

  1. As a librarian, I am SO TIRED of series! It seems like every single book I buy for the library turns out to be a series. Then I have to decide, do I buy more books in the series? What if kids lose interest? How can I keep up with all the series and still buy new books? Which, in turn, turn out to be series. Arrrgh!

  2. I share your frustration with writers of series, trilogies, etc. who take too much time to get out the next installment. Back in 1986 Karleen Koen wrote Through a Glass Darkly which I read and enjoyed – then I haunted bookstores for the next 4 or 5 years looking for and asking about the sequel – which she’d promised was coming. TEN YEARS LATER she finally published the sequel. It was too late for me. By that time I had lost interest. I was much older and had a different life (from married, working woman with 2 stepsons who didn’t spend much time with us to stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of 2 stepsons and 5 other children.) My interests and outlook on life had changed dramatically and I had more important books to read and enjoy than a continuation of a story I could barely remember.

  3. I love your recommendations! Now only if publishers would take notice. I tend to not start a series at the beginning. I like when there at least a few there waiting for me when I finish the first. And I HATE a non ending. Even if it’s a series I feel the non ending is such a cop out and not respectful to the reader. That’s just me, but I think I’m right and so are you ;)

  4. I am getting sick of series, too! I hate waiting around to find out what is going to happen next. All it is is a money-making ploy! I want to read a book and know what happened TODAY not a year from now… Then, there are the authors that die before they finish their series…Obviously not their fault, but still, the readers are still waiting… OR, the really slow authors like George R.R. Martin. I still haven’t started that series because the latest book has been pending for a really long time now…

  5. The older I get, the longer it takes for me to remember what the heck the previous book was about. At best, I know that I have forgotten a great many of the details and subtle aspects of the relationships.
    Yes, it is seemingly getting more popular…and more annoying.

  6. Thanks for the fair warning….Now I know I can put something to the back of the burner and read them when they ALL are out! Kudos though for writing that brings you back for more.

  7. I meant to say …until the series is finished BEFORE I read them. (Sorry, distracted by a certain 15-year-old.)

  8. I have a love/hate relationship with suspenseful series books. Definitely interesting to read. They suck me in. And then leave me stumbling around in my mind as I try to hold on until I can read the next one!

  9. I didn’t know The Maze Runner was the first in a series when I picked it up, and it made me just a little bit mental when I got to the end and it just stopped! Argh! I was even more frustrated because it was GOOD and I really really enjoyed it and I don’t want to have to wait for the resolution!

  10. Don’t read Neta Jackson’s _Where do I go?_ unless you have _Who do I talk to?_ in line to read to. It’s a MAJOR offender (as much as I love the second book, I really detest the first book cause of this)

  11. I just got finished reading and i agree that though authors want to get their readers hooked, they need to at LEAST have their sequel to the first book ready for publication. I read so much that I fly through books and forget about the series before the sequels come out. Speaking of good books, James Patterson’s “Maximum Ride” series, beginning with “The Angel Experiment” is a terrific unbelievably good series. (Angel is just a name of a girl in the book, not like heaven’s angels for those who gawked at the title) I’ve read it at least 3 times through, completely tantalized each time. Read It!!

  12. “The Maze Runner” is what i meant to put in the first sentence but it didn’t come up (tried to put it in italics =^))

  13. Pingback: Sunday Salon: Books Read in February/March, 2010 | Semicolon

  14. Pingback: Thoughts on The Maze Runner by James Dashner | Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?

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