The Maze Cutter (The Maze Cutter; 1) by James Dashner

“The Maze Cutter was incredibly frustrating to read.”

Review by Rayleigh Setser

Seventy-three years after the events of The Death Cure, when Thomas and other immunes were sent to an island to survive the Flare-triggered apocalypse, their descendants have thrived. Sadina, Isaac, and Jackie all learned about the unkind history of the Gladers from The Book of Newt and tall tales from Old Man Frypan, but when a rusty old boat shows up one day with a woman bearing dark news of the mainland–everything changes. The group and their islander friends are forced to embark back to civilization where they find Cranks have evolved into a more violent, intelligent version of themselves. The islanders are hunted by the Godhead, the Remnant Nation, and scientists with secret agendas. When they cross paths with an orphan named Minho from the Remnant Nation, the dangers become real and they don’t know who they can trust. The islanders will have to survive long enough to figure out why they are being targeted, who is friend or foe, and what the Godhead has planned for the future of humanity.

Release Date: 10/01/22

Genre: YA Dystopian| Post Apocalyptic

Pages: 328

The Maze Cutter was incredibly frustrating to read.

I remember really enjoying The Maze Runner series in high school (books and movies) so when I first heard that Dashner would be expanding the series, I got very excited! I was able to put a hold on the audio through my library app and waited for nearly 25 weeks for it to be my turn to check the book out. I am so sad that I didn't love it as much as I'd hoped.

There are a lot of issues that I have with this one, but the biggest is that it was just frustrating to read. As a reader, we're kept in the dark literally the entire book, and every time it seemed as if something important would be revealed, the chapter would cut and the scene would jump to another POV. At the beginning of the book, this didn't bother me as much, but as I neared the 60% mark, I started getting very irritated every time the chapters ended unfinished. And then it did that all the way to the end and I was just uninterested at that point. I think the author wanted to keep us in the dark, but even though I finished the book, I really can't tell you anything about the Remnant Nation or the Godhead. And I can't tell you anything else that happened after the point of where The Maze Runner series ended either (which is what I was the MOST curious about). There were so many opportunities for The Maze Cutter to build off of such an incredible series, but what this book is came completely out of left field.

I had a difficult time connecting with the characters as well since there is very little tied to the original series. I kept waiting for some big reveal to make these characters mean something to me, and there was one thing, but it was mentioned so casually that I was just like: *shrug* "okay". The characters just seemed very two-dimensional on the surface (except for Minho and Roxie, I really wish the entire book would've been about them), and then to have almost no connection to the other characters that I loved from The Maze Runner, I don't know, I just wasn't interested in their story.

I could've overlooked the previous two things if something exciting had happened, but again, coming from The Maze Runner where cranks and monster-filled mazes were prevalent parts of the story and you had no idea which of your friends would die...almost nothing happened in this book. They just traveled...for months and we don't know why. There were a couple of tense moments and the end happened with a bang, but I never felt the suspense that I had expected from this dystopian author.

So overall, maybe the rest of the series will get better? I don't know. But regardless, this book didn't do a very good job of convincing me that The Maze Cutter series will be able to hold a candle next to The Maze Runner series. Super sad to say that I was disappointed.

Content warnings: Frequent mild cursing (the curse words used in The Maze Runner are replaced with real-world cursing, which kind of upset me because I liked how unique The Maze Runner was for that). Romance consists of mild mentions of kissing (LGBQT+ as well). Gore and action are very mild with only a few mentions of de@th and wounds, however they do lean towards the horror spectrum with how they happen.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Content Ratings:

Action & Gore:

Rating: 6 out of 10.
6. Strong action/gore (most action sequences describe blood loss and the injury to a clear picture, albeit brief or infrequent).

Romance & Spice:

Rating: 2 out of 10.
2. Mild content (holding hands and mild kissing).

Cursing & Vulgarity:

Rating: 6 out of 10.
6. Strong cursing (mild cursing paired with 3-10 strong words).

Other Trigger/Content Notices:

Disturbing deaths and rituals; characters that feel as if they are “gods” and thus demand worship and lord over other characters with little regard to their safety & lives; LGBQT+ characters; loss of parents.

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