First of all, I just have to say how proud I am to have another one of our book selections come from a BYU graduate, and one of my neighbors. Well, not a next-door neighbor, but he lives somewhere around here. And he is like, everywhere. He is constantly making appearances at local bookstores, libraries, campuses, etc. along with other local YA/Fantasy/Sci-Fi Authors like Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale, and Brandon Sanderson. It's kinda cool. I recently attended a Brandon Mull book signing in the BYU bookstore where I purchased every single Fablehaven book in hardcover, and had him sign them... along with posters, and bookmarks for the series. I still haven't decided if I'm going to keep the collection, or sell it on e-bay (and then buy the paperbacks or Kindle editions so I can actually read them).
A little story about James Dashner...
One of my student employees was taking a writing class here at BYU taught by Brandon Sanderson (who is HUGE right now because of his being chosen by the widow of the late Robert Jordan to finish the epic "Wheel of Time" series; and having just released the second to the last book in that ginormous series, and is now making millions of dollars, but still teaching at BYU, 'cause that's just the way he rolls) and one of the guest speakers in his class was non other than James Dashner.
He told me that JD told the class that he had pitched his Maze Runner series for years with little to no interest - being turned down by one publisher after another. He had just about given up on hope when a little book called The Hunger Games became a huge sensation and suddenly publishers, who wouldn't give him the time of day before, were calling him up and flying him all over, wining & dining him, and making him all kinds of incredible offers. I thought you might be interested to hear that the Maze Runner owes its success to The Hunger Games.
Now, how did I like the book? I liked it. Can't say I loved it, but it was interesting and well developed. I think how I ultimately feel about it will entirely depend on the outcome of the final book - whether the author answers all the questions or will it be another "Lost" kinda series (all questions, no answers); and will there be any redemption in the end for all the suffering and loss - or will Thomas and Teresa be another permanently damaged pity couple. At my current spot (about 2/3 of the way through the second book) I am highly engrossed. I think it's getting better and better - more intense, more interesting... but it's also getting harder and harder to imagine how this can all possible end well.
I like the whole zombie angle the story has taken, but that also brings to mind another Zombie book we read that started out very interesting and promising and ended up ticking the heck out of me. But for now, I will keep hope alive, and pray those WICKED shuck faces get the klunk beat out of them; and that T&T can build a flare-free life together when it's all over. For now I think this was a great pick, and I can't wait to read the rest. Thanks Sammy!