The Maze Runner - Ramping up the tension

Wow! I almost felt like I was running the maze, escaping Grievers myself. From the first few paragraphs, James Dashner grabs hold of you and doesn't let go, dragging you, pulling you and pushing you from one catastrophe to another. In The Maze Runner, the tension isn't just ramped up - it never stops.

Most novels give a person a break, a quick stop to catch your breath - but not this one. There is barely page that doesn't force you to turn to the next one, often it's a paragraph that demands you read the following one.

How does Dashner do this? Unanswered questions! All of the characters are in the dark, including Thomas. From the very start, when he comes out of the box and asks, "Where am I?" he is continually asking (or being asked) questions that only lead to other questions...

"You ain't never seen her before?"
"Could it hear him? Smell him?"
"Settles what?"

In thinking of other thrillers that I've read, of course, they all have unanswered questions - but, The Maze Runner seems particularly rife with them. And, since everyone seems to be working on clean slate memories -- there's obviously something that has done this to everyone. Unlike other stories where the mystery becomes clearer as the main character unravels clues - things seems to become more muddled in TMR as more questions surface.

I can only think of a couple of other books that, for me, were full of heart-thumping and/or non-stop action that occasionally made me have to set down them down just so I could catch my breath.
Deathly Hallows was like that for me and
an adult book called The Charm School by Nelson DeMille.
Oh, I think I could put Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy.

How about you? What books keep you on the edge of your seat non-stop until they careen to an unexpected end?


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book - another to add to my wishlist!

I found The Hunger Games super tense. Each chapter, the plot and the characters and the emotions got wound tighter and tighter. And by the end, I can remember being so on edge that I was gripping the book like it was a lifeline, lol. So awesome.

Laura Pauling said...

I'm reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol right now and it's a nonstop race of danger.

Susanne Winnacker said...

Maze Runner is on my to-read list. It looks great.

Colene Murphy said...

I have to agree. TMR was innntense! Loved it.

Also have to add The Hunger Games to the list and Unwind. Both kept me turning

Write Chick said...

The Maze Runner was an amazing read! Can't wait to read the second.
I think that all the Harry Potter books and the Hunger Game books were the same for me. Couldn't put them down.
For grown-ups, Dan Brown books keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning.

Tere Kirkland said...

Maze Runner was one of those books where every chapter ended on a cliffhanger, there was just no good place to stop. I found myself trying to quit at places within the chapters where there were some breaks.

It was a crazy ride, and I'm trying to read it again before I read The Scorch Trials.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Jurassic Park and Red Dragon!

Jemi Fraser said...

I just ordered Maze Runner in my classroom book orders - can't wait for it to come in!! :)

Julia said...

Thanks for all the comments everyone! There are a few books I need to add to my list now! :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

The Maze Runner was my very favorite book of 2009. I love, love, loved it!! I think James Dashner's writing is truly amazing - and his pacing is especially brilliant. He's my #1 fave right now!!!! :-)