The Maze Runner by James Dashner readalong – final chapters

This is the final week of our Maze Runner readalong which is a timely finish for the film’s release.  See below for details of other bloggers taking part.  A big thank you to Sam for hosting this.  Without further ado let’s get to the Q&A.  Customary spoiler alert – the content below will undoubtedly let the cat out of the bag so stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers!

Sam

In Chapter 55, Alby sacrifices himself to try and gain an advantage for Thomas and Teresa to reach the Griever Hole. Do you think that Alby actually decided to do this, or is the mind-control the Creators seem to have over him what pushed him to do so?  I think that Alby was being mind controlled and used for a purpose.  Not quite sure what purpose it served having him killed other than maybe to drive the rest of the boys to desperation.

Katherine

Do you think the group B mentioned at the very end is the girl group? Or maybe a rival group of guys?  I think there’s a strong possibility that group B is a girl group – part of me even wonders if Teresa came from that group – got herself free and broke into Thomas’s group??  It kind of makes sense to keep the boys and girls separate in this sort of experience because it is then easier to gauge how one group compares to the other?  It could of course be a rival boy group but I don’t really think so at the moment (however I am quite often wrong!)

Nicole

Do you think at the end of the book the boys have any idea what’s in store going forward? Do we know if any of their families survived?  If what the rescuers told Thomas and Teresa on the coach is true then it seems highly improbable that any of the boys families will have survived but I suppose there’s always a chance.  I don’t think the boys know what is going on, it appears on the face of it as though they’ve just been rescued and yet the epilogue seems to end on a note that suggests that this is all still part of the experiment.

Ashlee

Do you trust the people who say they are fighting WICKED? Or are they part of WICKED and this is another variable? Well, I don’t know that I trust the people who think they’re fighting WICKED – although they have just broken into a facility and killed some of the people there so who knows.  This does all appear to be another variable though – and is it just me or did there seem to be something wrong with the people back at the Maze (the creators) the woman in particular – she came across almost like a robot.

Me

What are the implications of the epilogue?  The ending seems to imply that this whole experiment was just the tip of the iceberg.  Just a means of preparing the boys (and maybe girls) for something else.  Most of their actions have been nudged by the creators.  Their bits of returned memories were things that would conveniently help them along the way to escape.  They always got just a certain amount of information to help them figure out the rest.  Even after they broke out from the Maze they’re then rescued and hurdled onto a coach – now part of me was thinking that was very conveniently ‘timely’!  But, I suppose two possibilities are that the ‘rescuers’ are not rescuers at all but are part of the whole experiment and are taking the boys to the next phase or the ‘rescuers’ are also being played in this experiment – maybe given just enough information to help them rescue the boys and take them to the next place?

We’ll see.

I’m not sure whether I’ll read the next in series or not.  I’ll watch the film and make a decision from there I think – although to be honest I guess I do need to know what happens next!!

A big thank you to Sam for organising, co-ordinating and setting all this up.  It’s a lot of effort and is very much appreciated – ‘herding cats’ springs to mind.  And a thank you to all the other participants.  It’s been good fun taking part with you all – we should definitely do this again!

Lynn 😀

The Maze Runner by James Dashner, readalong week No.5

This is week 5 of our Maze Runner readalong.  See below for details of schedule and other bloggers taking part.  Only a few more chapters remain now!

Nicole

Do you think Thomas purposefully getting stung by a Griever was a smart idea or stupid?   I don’t know whether I’d call it smart but I guess it was a way to find out what the others went through and maybe get some answers.  It’s curious that Thomas’s experience has been different from the others – I wonder if he is more immune given his other mental abilities and if that is the case it would suggest that maybe he has more a grip of what the real answers are?  He certainly still seems determined to leave the Maze unlike the others who have been through the changing.

Ashlee

Do you think Teresa was the only girl who went through the special training? Or why weren’t more females thrown into the Maze? It’s possible there are more.  I think Thomas and Teresa’s mental abilities obviously single them out in some way.

Sam

In Chapter 44, Teresa suggests that she and Thomas were lovers or knew each other intimately before entering the Glade. Do you think the other boys knew each other before the Glade? Thomas reveals later in the section that they were all orphans raised for this experiment. Did they know each other growing up? Do you think those relationships survived the mind wipe?  I think it’s possible that they all knew each other.  That may be why they go through the Changing they recognise each other?  It’s as though the changing eliminates some of the memory loss somehow – and maybe plants something else instead?  I think it’s possible that Thomas and Teresa were in a relationship, it is possible however that the relationship was brother and sister – which could explain why they have the connection?

Sultana

So there is some big bad disease in the outside world called the Flare that makes Alby so desperate to stay in the Maze he burns the maps and is down to chill out with the uber fun Grievers. How bad could this Flare disease be? Do you think Alby is overreacting, or is there something extra terrible about the Flare? What could it have done to the outside world to be so apocalyptic and awful that Alby wants to stay in the Maze?  The flare definitely sounds like something world changing!  At first I wondered if it was some sort of bio warfare gone horribly wrong?  Or maybe a mass outbreak of some new bug strain.  Perhaps Thomas and Teresa have been through the disease and survived which is why their minds are different?

Katherine

I never thought of any of these characters as particularly smart. Does it strike anyone else as not very believable that these guys are all so super elite that they were co-opted by Science? Particularly Thomas, whose head we’re actually inside and who supposedly designed the maze.  Apart from Thomas and Teresa I’m not sure that any of the others were put into this experiment for their super smarts.  I was sort of thinking they were put there as some form of social experiment just because they were orphans and so nobody to object about how they were being used?  Thomas and Teresa obviously have this mental connection but other than that I wouldn’t say either of them come across as particularly smart at the moment!

Barbara

Why is Newt so negative to Thomas’s code breaking?  There is no better option so why does Newt resist so much?  I think Newt is a much more basic, down to earth, brass tacks type of character who prefers doing something as oppose to thinking about it or trying to come up with a different way of thinking.

Me

I’m curious about the words found in the maps and what they mean? FLOAT CATCH BLEED DEATH STIFF PUSH  I tried thinking of all sorts of different concepts for these – are they anagrams – do you take the first letter of each word and see if that makes an alternative word, etc, etc.  None of these ideas came up with anything else.  The only other thing I could think of is that it refers to the disease (The Flare) – maybe the germs float, you catch the germs, you bleed. you die and go stiff – push?  Don’t know – perhaps you come back as some sort of undead or zombie?

I’ll just have to read on and find out!

Schedule

Chapters 1-9     Read 27-April through 10-May. Submit Questions by 10-May. Post by 17-May
Chapters 10-19     Read 11-May through 24-May. Submit Questions by 24-May. Post by 31-May
Chapters 20-29     Read 25-May through 7-Jun. Submit Questions by 7-Jun. Post by 14-Jun
Chapters 30-38     Read 8-June through 21-Jun. Submit questions by 21-Jun. Post by 28-Jun
Chapters 39-51     Read 22-Jun through 5-Jul. Submit questions by 5-Jul. Post by 12-Jul
Chapters 52-End     Read 6-Jul through 19-Jul. Submit questions by 19 Jul. Post by 26 Jul

Other Participants to check out:

Maze Runner by James Dashner readalong week No.4

This week is week 4 of our Maze Runner readalong.  See below for details of schedule and other bloggers taking part.  As I’m late with this post I’m going to dive straight in with the Q&A (apologies everyone for being so tardy!  Work and other responsibilities have been conspiring against me!)  If you’re interested – it’s never too late to join in and if you wish to do so then either leave a comment or email SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com.  Beware of spoilers below if you haven’t already read:

Katherine:

Alby runs off in the middle of the night to look at the maps. When he was going through the Changing, he said “Protect the maps”… but he also tried to strangle himself. Clearly there were warring forces at work in his mind. I can’t help but think his weird dash into the night means that he’s going to destroy the maps, not study them…but would that be Alby-Alby at work? Or Creator-controlled/changed-Alby? In other words, whose agenda is whose?  I’m not sure that we can trust Alby now and I also suspect his motives with the whole map room scene.  I don’t think he will be acting of his own volition though.  I wonder if he’s going to destroy the maps and whether that will be at the will of the creators.  Not sure why that would be necessary though as the maps don’t seem to be complete – perhaps he is going to doctor the maps instead!

Ashlee:

It’s evident now that this is an experiment of some kind, so why do you think the Creators choose teenagers as their subjects instead of adults? Are there benefits to this?  I think they chose teenagers because they think they’re more maleable, less mature, less fixed in their ways and definitely with less baggage (although, if your mind is wiped I suppose your baggage goes with it!).

Sultana:

The phrase “Killzone Experiment Department” seems to connotate that the Gladers are in fact a part of some experiment. What do you think the Creators could be testing, and what do you think the ominous “Killzone” is?  It feels like a behaviour experiment to see how far the boys can be pushed?  The Killzone appears to be The Maze because let’s face it it’s not exactly safe.  I think whoever put the boys there was expecting much more radical behaviour and that’s why they’re now pushing the agenda.

Nicole:

When they come to the writing in the maze that says, “World in Catastrophe,” I think of it as a message from the others to the boys about the previous world they lived in. What else could this mean? Why do you think it’s written on the walls in the maze? Do you think that it’s a message about the Maze rather than about their previous world? It almost sounds like an exercise that went to far.  Like emergency planning but gone a bit extreme!  I think the writing on the walls, etc, is just like a product stamp and nothing more.

Barbara:

On page 200 the Gladers ponder that the sun has “disappeared”.  Thomas understands that there never was a sun and “Everything about this place was fake.”  All I could think of was the movie The Truman Show when Jim Carey sails to the edge of his world.  The Truman Show was reality TV taken to extremes.  Do you think this situation in the Glade is just for some demented group’s pleasure? I actually never really thought there was a sun – and in fact I don’t think the Maze is high up.  It all seems to be a fake reality.  I think it’s definitely an experiment.  To figure out people’s breaking point.  To see how far you can push them?  Or maybe a social experiment to see if they become a family of their own even though removed from their own biological family.  Maybe it’s simply to see how resilient they are and how well people survive.

Schedule

Chapters 1-9     Read 27-April through 10-May. Submit Questions by 10-May. Post by 17-May
Chapters 10-19     Read 11-May through 24-May. Submit Questions by 24-May. Post by 31-May
Chapters 20-29     Read 25-May through 7-Jun. Submit Questions by 7-Jun. Post by 14-Jun
Chapters 30-38     Read 8-June through 21-Jun. Submit questions by 21-Jun. Post by 28-Jun
Chapters 39-51     Read 22-Jun through 5-Jul. Submit questions by 5-Jul. Post by 12-Jul
Chapters 52-End     Read 6-Jul through 19-Jul. Submit questions by 19 Jul. Post by 26 Jul

Other Participants to check out:

 

Maze Runner by James Dashner, Readalong Week No.3

This week is week 3 of our Maze Runner readalong.  See below for details of schedule and other bloggers taking part.  Without further ado I’m going to jump into this weeks Q&A.  If you haven’t read this already and plan on doing so then you might want to beware of spoilers below.  Plus, you’re never too late to join in and if you wish to do so then either leave a comment or email SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com.

Claudia

Let’s say, you were given the opportunity to question one character from this story with guaranteed honest answers, what character would you choose and what questions would you ask?  I would question Teresa.  And, I’d want to do so before she fully wakes up as she implied that by the time she did so her memory will be not as good – so somehow I’m going to have to learn to mindread – let’s just assume I’ve done so then!  I couldn’t believe that Thomas ran away during that scene with Teresa – finally someone who was not only willing, but wanting to talk with him, the potential source of answers and he runs away and hides!  I wanted to slap him I was so frustrated.  Anyway, I think my questions would be very simply ‘What is the maze?  What is it’s purpose?’

Katherine

Teresa says that she and Thomas “did this to them.” That could be literal (“we created the Maze and all this and sent everyone and ourselves here”) or more figurative (“we accidentally led the rebels into a trap set by the evil government scientists and got us all captured and sent here” kind of thing). I’m curious as to whether real-world Thomas really is “evil,” as the Changed seem to think, or not… and if so, is his arrival in the Glade part of a plot? Or potentially an act of redemption?  I still can’t get away from the feeling that this is some form of experiment.  Perhaps Teresa’s meaning is that her and Thomas inadvertently put the boys into the maze.  Perhaps somebody is really searching for her and Thomas and every time they think they have a potential candidate they send that boy to the maze – there are no girls up there – perhaps there’s an ‘alternative’ maze where potential girls are being sent.  This ability to speak to each other’s minds could be a clue I suppose.  Perhaps the two of them have special abilities and so are being hunted/chased down?

Nicole

On page 175, Alby tells them to “protect the maps.” Maps of the maze? But I thought that the maze changed every single day? Perhaps there are only so many different set ups for the maze and the boys are mapping them each night to see if they start to repeat themselves?

Sam

The doors to the Glade remain open all day and we’ve been told before that the Grievers are somewhat active during the day. Why haven’t the Grievers ever entered the Glade?  Perhaps the Grievers are there for the boys’ protection – to keep them inside and ultimately safe.  The Grievers never come beyond the walls after all so they’re not actively trying to pursue and kill the boys.  Plus, they obviously inject the boys with some sort of venom for which the antedote is available.  Perhaps the visions the boys have during the change are implanted to make them fear ever leaving again.

Barbara

The cliff intrigues me.  When the grievers fall off the cliff, their scream is abruptly cut off but the boys don’t see them plummeting to their deaths.  This suggests a contrived “cliff” which the Creators use to isolate the boys in the Glade.  Violating the laws of physics such as the cliff makes it obvious that this world is not normal. The way the walls move violates the laws of thermodynamics (energy and therefore matter cannot be created or destroyed).  Do you think the Creator’s care what the boys think of their world?  Do the Creators seem to be hiding the other oddities?  The sun rises and sets just like our world.  I have a feeling that the Glade isn’t what it seems – or more to the point isn’t where it is made out.  Something doesn’t sit right with the maze – it feels like a place trapped in a bubble as though the conditions are just a simulation to trick everybody into thinking it’s up in the clouds.

Ashlee

Chuck made a comment to Thomas that he needs to quit acting weird so the others will stop taking notice of him. Do you think Thomas has a big target on his back in a good way or a bad way? The Keepers seemed to be split about if he’s there to help them or to destroy them, but what do you think the other boys in the Glade are wanting to do with this new kid who’s breaking the rules and showing everyone up?   I think that the boys will split into two factions – basically ‘for’ and ‘against’ Thomas.  I can almost see Thomas in a situation of leading some of the boys through the Maze – a bit like the pied piper (and we all know how that ended).  Really, I think Thomas’s spell in seclusion could be the start.  Clearly some of the boys really like him but others are a little bit more wound up by the situation.  Plus, we don’t truly know how Alby feels about Thomas yet so it will be interesting to see whether the Changing has altered his opinion at all.

Sultana

What level of control do you think the Creators have over the minds of those in the Maze? I ask not only because of the memory wipe on them, but also because of Alby’s incident where he choked himself but felt like somebody else was choking him so as not to reveal information about the Changing.  I wonder whether when the boys are stung by the Grievers they are injected with some form of mind control – I suppose that could be what is so dangerous for them (maybe their body tries to reject it or something?) and the reason why they need the serum.  When they eventually come out of it they have something inside them that controls them more than the ‘memory’ wipe ever could.

Lynn

Given what’s going on, the boys that go through the changing remembering Thomas and now the girl  – do you feel like he’s innocent?  Or are you starting to feel differently about him?  There is a possibility particularly after what the girl said to Thomas in his mind – that both he and the girl are not as innocent as we all think.  However, his character so far doesn’t feel questionable.  He was the only boy who went to save the other two when the gates were closing.  Okay, he wasn’t obeying the rules but he was disobeying for a good and not self absorbed reason.  He also stayed with Alby and went to a great deal of effort to keep him safe from the Grievers.  He’s clearly involved somehow but at this point I”m not sure how. Perhaps Thomas and Teresa put the boys up there to protect them and the grievers are there for that same purpose?

Schedule

Chapters 1-9     Read 27-April through 10-May. Submit Questions by 10-May. Post by 17-May
Chapters 10-19     Read 11-May through 24-May. Submit Questions by 24-May. Post by 31-May
Chapters 20-29     Read 25-May through 7-Jun. Submit Questions by 7-Jun. Post by 14-Jun
Chapters 30-38     Read 8-June through 21-Jun. Submit questions by 21-Jun. Post by 28-Jun
Chapters 39-51     Read 22-Jun through 5-Jul. Submit questions by 5-Jul. Post by 12-Jul
Chapters 52-End     Read 6-Jul through 19-Jul. Submit questions by 19 Jul. Post by 26 Jul

Other Participants to check out:

The Maze Runner, readalong week No.2

This is week 2 of the Maze Runner readalong   You’re not too late to join in and it’s a very relaxed schedule so if you fancy jumping on board (send an email to SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com).  Details of schedule and participants at the end of the post.  The usual obligatory spoiler declaration – if you haven’t read this and intend to do so then you might want to stop here.  And now starts the Q&A:

Sultana

On page 102, Newt talks to Thomas about the importance of order in the Gladers’ society, saying ” ‘Reason we’re all sane around here is ’cause we work our butts off and maintain order. Order’s the reason we put Ben out–can’t very well have loonies runnin’ around tryin’ to kill people, now can we? Order.’ ” The Gladers are willing to go to extreme lengths to keep order in their society, so much that they would rather follow the rules and banish Ben to the Maze and Grievers then jail him and treat him for his lunacy. Discuss why you think that order is so important to the Gladers, and if you think that order and relative normalcy will last for them throughout the book.  Well, I suppose it could be that they’ve had something implanted into their brain that makes them more pliable.  Or, more likely, they’ve found out that they have to keep law and order themselves the hard way in order to survive.  Any divergence from the rules could mean a problem for them all so it’s almost become a code – similar to ‘survival of the fittest’.

Katherine

Ben’s rants against Thomas were pretty interesting. I expected him to be worried that Thomas would destroy them or betray them or something — but instead he was upset that “He’ll wanna take us home…He’ll wanna get us out of the Maze.” All Thomas’s memories of the outside world seem to be “normal” memories…but could there be something terrible (personal or widespread) that would keep the boys from WANTING to ever get out of the Maze? Or did the Changing just poison Ben’s mind to think that?  I really don’t know what to think here to be honest.  I suppose it’s possible that all the boys have had their memories tampered with in different ways or it could be that they all think there’s something worse on the outside and that Thomas’s brainwashing hasn’t been as effective, maybe he’s more resistant.  I don’t think there’s something terrible out there to be honest – after all, they’re being kept inside aren’t they.  They’re prisoners.

Sam

On page 119 (Chapter 18), Thomas describes the sound of the Grievers as similar to engines and their smell like oil. Why do you think this knowledge was something he retained through the memory wipe?  Maybe it’s difficult to eradicate memory that is inspired by all of the senses.   Perhaps hearing and smell – could be more difficult.  You do associate certain memories with certain smells or sounds – for example music.

Ashlee

Did the Creators throw a girl into the mix just to see how the boys would respond? Or do you think she has another purpose for being there?  I think she’s in the mix just to stir things up!  Even if that wasn’t the creators reason it’s probably going to be the outcome for sure.  I hope that she’s not been put up there for some other twisted reasoning that I’m not going to even think about!  That’s all I’m saying about that.  Anyway, regardless, she’s surely going to stir up some trouble.

Barb

Thomas has seen two Beetle Blades with the word “Wicked” written on the side.  One was in the forest right before Ben tries to kill him and one was while he and Alby are hiding in the vines of the wall.  Thomas thinks the Beetle Blades are wicked, but perhaps the Beetle Blades are warning Thomas of impending evil (Ben and the the Griever).  Do you think the Beetle Blades are trying to help Thomas?  I never thought of that – I suppose they could also be telling him that he’s wicked??  Interesting train of thought that I’ll have to have a bit more of a think about.  I suppose wicked could just be a name given to these little critters by their creators – maybe it means something w.i.c.k.e.d.??

Nicole

On page 89, we see a slightly evil or what Thomas says is disturbing and sinister. How do we feel about Chuck now? I see a much more hidden side to this character, he’s excited that they are banishing someone. it’s almost like Chuck was getting some grim satisfaction about what was going on.  Maybe he feels bitter towards the others for always being shunned or maybe there’s another reason why he has no friends!  eek!

Lynn

I’m curious why the boys are reluctant to talk about anything or give Thomas any information.  It’s as if they’ve been conditioned!  Why do you think they’re so reluctant to talk about what goes on in the Maze??  Surely it would be easier if they clued the ‘newbies’ in a bit better?  I find this the most strange and irritating aspect of the book.  Even from the pov of Thomas.  I don’t understand why he’s not more inquisitive or why he doesn’t force the issue more??  And I also think it’s very perplexing why the boys don’t share information.

Schedule

Chapters 1-9     Read 27-April through 10-May. Submit Questions by 10-May. Post by 17-May
Chapters 10-19     Read 11-May through 24-May. Submit Questions by 24-May. Post by 31-May
Chapters 20-29     Read 25-May through 7-Jun. Submit Questions by 7-Jun. Post by 14-Jun
Chapters 30-38     Read 8-June through 21-Jun. Submit questions by 21-Jun. Post by 28-Jun
Chapters 39-51     Read 22-Jun through 5-Jul. Submit questions by 5-Jul. Post by 12-Jul
Chapters 52-End     Read 6-Jul through 19-Jul. Submit questions by 19 Jul. Post by 26 Jul

Other Participants to check out:

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