Okay, so I remember picking up The Maze Runner in Barnes and Nobles. It was one of the first YA novels I read. Back then I lived in an inky, dinky little town in Central California and, needless to say, no authors ever came. Flash forward quite a few years and The Kill Order comes out, but I’m sick in bed with the flu and can’t make it to any James Dashner events. (I also just so happened to be convinced I was dying and reading The Kill Order wasn’t helping). I was devastated I couldn’t meet or see one of the authors that encouraged me to read (let alone write). When I found out Dashner would be in Los Angeles discussing The Fever Code, I nearly jumped out of my seat. So on Tuesday, guess what this girl did? (last Tuesday by the way -September 27th-, I’m a bit slow to getting posts up – sorry) I jumped in the car and drove to Glendale to get my copy and secure a wristband. There was no way I was going to miss this: the final book in The Maze Runner series.
And so that’s how I got here, writing a post about meeting an author who has inspired me in so many ways.
The event started with him asking how many people were reading The Fever Code (I’m not able to start yet because there are two books ahead of it on my TBR). One girl popped up and said she’d already finished it (kudos to fast readers! I wish I were able to read that fast.) When Dashner asked if she liked it she said she cried a lot. Which I think will be me, bawling in the corner that it’s all over.
He talked about how The Fever Code is the perfect ending book, how he’d thought about it for years before being convinced to go back a bit further into the history of the Maze and the Flare (aka The Kill Order, which apparently people love or hate *shrugs).
He also commented on the popularity of Newt (granted I still like Thomas better). The best was his avoidance of the question to bring the characters REAL names to light. He said it didn’t feel right to do that for the audience, which I admit is the right decision. We know these characters by the names of the Maze, and to tell us otherwise is a cheat. Fight me on that one! I dare you. We do get some of their true names, but not Newt’s.
Then someone ask how Dashner choose which character had to die (there are several deaths we’re talking about). This garnered a ton of laughs, because… well… people die in the maze world. Dashner commented it would be cheesy to have a happily ever after, and that the Maze Runner world was dark and messed up. But… he did say there was a death he would go back and correct (he wouldn’t say which one though, but there was a hint towards The Death Cure).
One point that came across loud and clear was how much effort went into writing The Fever Code. Dashner said he didn’t want it to end up being a laundry list of answers, but rather to place the original characters in a new light. He jokingly said he went back and reread all his own books, made notes, and eventually found The Maze Runner series wiki page claiming it a godsend because he couldn’t remember everything. (After that many books, I’d be impressed if he did! I still forget things and have to be reminded.)
Prompted to describe The Fever Code in three words, Dashner said: The Last One. I think everyone laughed heartily at that one, but a sad laugh too because most of us had grown up reading this series and are now faced with the finality of it being over. Straightening his face, he amended to: Bittersweet. Intense. Interesting. Stating that he hoped we would walk away from it with a better understanding of these characters and the world they lived in.
James Dashner is VERY proud of The Morality Doctrine (which I can say is very good). And what he has planned next is a standalone that is very different from anything he’s written before. He also might have mentioned a hatred of desks and prefers to sit in his library and eat cashews.
To top off the night he made a statement that melted my heart and reminded me why I love writing and reading. He said he is an advocate for storytelling, be it any medium from pen and paper, to art, to film. “Storytelling impacts you and challenges how you see yourself and the world.”
And I’ll leave you with this note; storytelling builds the world around us, makes us into who we are through interaction with people and fictional characters. I believe in the magic and power of storytelling and to finally see a man who brought that idea to life for me was an experience I won’t soon forget. But also, he fist bumped me for being there since the beginning of the series— Best. Day. Ever!