The Next Chapter

If you liked James Dashner's Maze Runner series, you'll love...

Our columnist Candy Palmater pairs the Maze Runner series with Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy.
Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy takes place in a dystopian future where all but a few humans have been wiped out by a disaster.

Series like The Hunger Games and Divergent may be better known, but James Dashner's five-book dystopian YA series The Maze Runner has its fair share of devoted readers. The series begins with a group of boys who wake up in the centre of a maze, with no memory of how they got there or who they were before.

The Next Chapter columnist and The Candy Show host Candy Palmater has read Dashner's series, and she thinks she's found the perfect Canadian series for fans of The Maze Runner. Candy joined Shelagh Rogers in Toronto.

HOW HER YOUTUBE CHANNEL LED HER TO THE MAZE RUNNER

I watch a lot of YouTube, and a few years ago everyone on YouTube was talking about The Maze Runner. I knew it was YA, which I don't read a lot of, but I thought I'd give it a gander, and I loved it! I read it just as quick as could be. It was a fun, fast-paced dystopian trilogy. Dystopias aren't really my thing, but I did find that this was a cool story and I could get into them.

ON THE "NAIVE" YA TREND THAT DRIVES HER CRAZY

What really stuck out for me was the personal struggle — your struggle with yourself and what you're capable of and where your breaking point is. In a lot of these contemporary dystopian novels though, there's this idea that the adults have wrecked everything and now it's up to the kids to save the world. And that is where my love of those books gets thin, because I find that to be a bit of a naive approach to those kinds of stories.

ON MARGARET ATWOOD'S DYSTOPIAN TRILOGY

All three of the books in Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy take place in the same time period, but they give you different perspectives on what's happening. There's been a major catastrophe, referred to as "the Flood," and it's wiped out a huge part of the population. And we're dealing with a few people who are left, a few characters who were kids at the time that the story starts but who are now adults, and what I love about it is that you see that kids aren't going to save the world. We think the next generation will solve all the problems, but they're growing up under our values and a lot of them are going to adopt our values. Margaret Atwood looks at this so honestly and says yes, some of these kids drank the Kool-Aid, and they're responsible, because as they grew up they adopted those same values and as a result, the world is in a mess.

WHY ANYONE CAN READ ATWOOD

I've been trying to convince people on my YouTube channel, because I kept getting comments like "I've always wanted to try Atwood but I'm scared to because I think she might be too smart for me." And I've been frantically responding to people to say no, anyone can read this. You can't read through all three books in a day and a half and understand it and say great, I finished the series. You've got to sit with it, you've got to figure out what she's saying to you. But it's accessible. You don't have to be a literary snob to read Margaret Atwood. It always surprises me how many people are afraid to just jump in and try it.

Candy Palmater's comments have been edited and condensed.

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