This book reminded me of Ender's Game. I did not like Ender's Game. I could spend a ton of review space pointing out all the parallels but I'd rather not think about it anymore. The main character is basically Ender, although his name has been changed to Thomas. He's a special little snowflake who is smarter and faster and better than everyone else without trying to be, and utterly one-dimensional. We get told often the specific emotions that he is "consumed" with on each page: how he wants to ask questions so badly he will go insane, how he has never wanted to punch someone in the face so badly than at this very moment, and we get treated to lots of images of Tom rolling his eyes at so-and-so because he's "so tired of his attitude." The other characters are just there for contrast and are given no personality, unless you count the grating slang that they speak in, with several English words thrown in for good measure. Most of the writing is just dreadful. This is far from a literary novel. Dashner uses so many extra words that don't need to be in there, just onslaughts of adverbs that pad out the length, and he repeats himself endlessly. Who was the target audience for this? Alzheimer's patients? That reminds me; one of my BIGGEST pet peeves are when people use mental disorders as adjectives. I have never
seen an actual author do this so much until now. Not only is that insensitive, it's just plain shitty writing.
That out of the way, this book has a single redeeming factor, but it's not the plot; it's the premise of the plot. The idea of this book is the only thing good about it. The actual implementation of the plot is not good and it takes about 200 pages of "I can't believe I'm still reading this" before anything even happens, but I will commend the author on at least thinking up a premise that makes you want to know what happens, even if everything else is executed horribly. I found myself thoroughly pissed off after every chapter, but I kept reading because I still had hope for the ending. Which ended up being overblown and ridiculous. Really this entire book rides on the fact that you don't know what's going on until the very last pages because the author hides everything from the reader. That is not good storytelling, it's a cheap way to hold suspense. I realize this is a Young Adult book, but just because your readers are teenagers doesn't mean that you should write like one.