Why You Should Be Reading James Dashner

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I think we all can agree the young adult dystopian genre is quite popular these days. Hunger Games broke through in a fury of braids and grey scarves. Divergent is also busting through blazing the way for excessive bird tattoos. Both are great in that they’re movies that can encourage young people to put down their Twittergram and pick up a book. But what about other authors? We all know what a blockbuster hit the Hunger Games series has been in theaters. This sparked overwhelming sales in both merchandise and books. People are tattooing mockingjays on themselves and Katniss has become a cosplay staple. Divergent didn’t quite make the numbers, but it seems to be gaining steam with the sequel. It’s almost a mashup of Hunger Games and Twilight. I won’t tarnish this blog’s reputation by going into the ridiculous success of the Twilight series. We all know it’s teen crack. (Hit Read More to continue)...


So who the hell is James Dashner? There was that one movie… Maze Runner. Based on the book by Dashner. It didn’t seem to have the same Earth shattering effect. A simple Google search returns nothing but copies of the book. There are plenty of Hunger Games tattoos. People have even deemed Divergent good enough to scar their bodies with. Obviously Harry Potter holds a special place in my heart (and on my skin). So who is James Dashner and why should you care? Let me tell you.

Maze Runner is the first of Dashner’s books to get any notoriety. For those who don’t know, Maze Runner is the dystopian, sci-fi trilogy following Thomas. Thomas wakes up in a box in a maze with no recollection of his past. He, along with the other Gladers, are tasked with finding a way out of the maze. Seems easy, right? Well, not with grievers, beetle blades, cranks, and don’t even get me started on the flare. Seem unreal? It is. Dashner has created his own world along with a seemingly endless list of new terms and phrases. The sci-fi elements are incredible and always keep you on your toes. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill young adult novel. Now slim it, greenie, and listen up.

You like Ready Player One? What? You haven’t read it yet? I’ll sit here and wait for your mind to be blown (I recommend the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton).

Now that we’re over that, let’s move onto Dashner’s newer series, the Mortality Doctrine. If you’re counting down the days until virtual reality on an OASIS level, then Mortality Doctrine is right up your alley. In this series we have Michael, a regular on the VirtNet. He spends most of his time with his friends Sarah and Bryson (aka the Trifecta to Dissect-ya) hacking code and cracking jokes. It’s all fun and games until a cyberterrorists threatens their virtual reality along with the real reality. Michael is employed by crazy cool government agents to find the terrorist in the VirtNet. Don’t worry, there’s no shortage of dramatic twists and turns along the way. Unfortunately, this series hasn’t been completed yet. So far, we have 2 books in the series as well as a short story detailing one of the character’s backstories. The 3rd book will be released later this year. Don’t worry, I already have my pre-order in.

While gripping the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment of the Mortality Doctrine, I decided to pick up Dashner’s 13th Reality series. This is a series of 4 books featuring Atticus Higginbottom (but you can call him Tick). Tick is just your average brainiac 13 year old. The biggest obstacles in his young life up until this point were putting up with bullies at school and surviving his sister’s piano playing. That is, until he receives the mysterious letter from an “M.G”. That simple letter catapults Tick into a crazy chase to solve riddles and figure out the clues. Of course this all to save the world….all 13 realities. If you have even the slightest interest in physics, this is for you.

Dashner has such an incredible imagination. The imagery he creates in his works put you right there in the action. The character development is unreal. You always have a great protagonist as your main character. On top of that, Dashner also indulges you with a slew of strong secondary characters. He creates personalities people can identify with. He’s proven himself across several series. While there are similar underlying elements, he’s created a unique world in each series. Each one has its own creative sci-fi elements. It seems there’s never an end to the futuristic technology and unexpected turns the stories will have.

As I wind down to the close of the 13th reality series, I look forward to the next of James Dashner’s works. He has to other series I have yet to read. The first being the Jimmy Fincher Saga. The other is the Infinity Ring series. While it seems like the next Mortality Doctrine book is a long ways away, I have a few things to pass the time. That is, until time travel becomes a thing. The downfall of science fiction giving such false hope.

Just remember: Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card

About the Author

Janet Havel

Janet Havel

My name is Janet, but you can call me JoJo Tough as Nails. I laugh too loud and watch too much TV. But can you ever have too muchlaughter or Netflix? Or bacon? I vote no.

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