The Maze Runner

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The Maze Runner
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Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 06, 2009
ISBN
0385737947
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When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

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(Updated: April 01, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
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4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

A Literary Labyrinth

Maze Runner has an intriguing premise. Readers start out with a blank slate—or nearly—in the teenage character of Thomas. Thomas awakens in an elevator-like box, unable to remember anything personal about himself aside from his name. He is then thrust into a contained farm-like environment with somewhere around sixty other boys who've all been inflicted with the same amnesic condition by forces the boys refer to as the “Creators.”

The Creators are, presumably, those responsible for the bizarre social experiment going on, and the deadly maze-like conditions found outside of the “Glade” where the boys have established their own quasi-civilization. Thomas promptly proves to be an unwitting herald for “the end” of life as they boys have come to know it.

And that's about as far as I can go without dropping spoilers left and right due to the “whodunnit?”/“whytheydunnit?” plot setup. This reader actually wasn't sure what sub-genre this book was (dystopian or sci-fi?) up until the very end. (And that can't really be revealed without ruling out several possible theories readers will most likely come up with in an increasingly desperate attempt to explain the setting and circumstances.)

The story started out at a very readable, rapid clip, with well executed action scenes that carried things steadily forward. Thomas is a bit bland, but not unlikeable...and you tend to give him a break over the whole mind-wipe thing. (Maybe it did a number on his personality as well—who knows?) Not until the middle did things begin to sag. Up until then, it was relatively easy to ignore things like the pointless secrecy (Wait...why can't anybody just give a quick summary and debrief the new guy so he doesn't screw everything up out of ignorance?), or the total lack of backstory on the main and side characters.

A lone female character is introduced, which did shake up the social landscape a bit—but not as much as I would have expected. She seems important—and when you finally figure out why—it only generates more questions as to the point of...well...everything.

Also...token girl is kept unconscious and out of the action for the majority of the book.

The plot picks back up again as it races toward a finish that...well...still doesn't make a lot of sense to this reader. Now I'll admit, I picked this up with eyes wide open. I knew the story had to stretch out across at least four existing books—so that meant a likely cliffhanger. I can live with that. What makes me hesitate to pick up the next in the series is the looming impression that most of my world-building questions will either go unanswered, or be chalked up to crazy people doing crazy things.

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Guaranteed to keep you reading!

Hold on for an exciting trip to a mysterious world where remembering might be a key to returning home.


The only thing Thomas can remember when he wakes up in the lift is his first name. Nothing else. When the lift opens he finds he's not alone. Other boys greet him to the Glade, which is enclosed by stone walls.

The other boys don't remember much either, only that they have to make sure they're not out at night in the huge maze that encircles them. A dangerous creature waits for them. That is if they're lucky enough to survive the string.

Every night, for the past two years, the walls close tight at night. Every thirty days a new boy comes to them in the lift.

That is until now. A girl comes in the lift muttering a strange message. The arrival of the girl brings back snatches of memory to Thomas. Somehow the Glade seems familar. So does the maze. All Thomas needs to do is remember so he can find a way back home.

This is a great fantasy that reminded me of THE CUBE meets LORD OF THE FLIES. A sure page turner, each scene builds up to the final confrontation at the end. Thomas knows he's different somehow from the other boys trapped inside the maze. His struggles to break through his blocked memories, as well as his attempts to understand the maze pull you right into the story. I wanted to know why Thomas was sent to this place and also why a series of events were released with his arrival. I only wish I'd known more about the mysterious girl, that has a link to Thomas. But I'm sure the author will reveal more of that in the sequel.

The setting is intriguing. So is the premise of bringing boys to an unique world as part of a twisted experiment. Glimpses of their other lives are revealed with other questions. All these tie in with the mystery of what is the maze and if they can indeed escape.

Sure to appeal to fans of THE HUNGER GAMES, this tale will keep you reading until the end is revealed. And even then the teaser last page will have you guesting. Be prepared to be glued to this unique tale that won't release you until the very end!

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Good, fast book

Nice story that unfolds really fast, and in an interesting way. I enjoyed this first part to the trilogy.

Good Points
The opening reminded me of Target Earth (1959). Good idea.
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The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner is the first novel in a series set in a dark post-apocalyptic world.

Our central character is sixteen-year-old Thomas. When he wakes inside an metal elevator car, he has no memory of how he got there or who he is, except for his name.

Thomas learns that he is part of community of around 50 teenage boys known as the ‘Gladers’. The boys live in an artificially created environment that is managed by an unseen and unknown group simply known as the Creators, that communicate through deliveries via the elevator car.

The ultimate goal of the community is to solve a maze built beyond huge grey stone walls that are over a hundred feet high. Each night the entrance to the maze closes protecting the boys from the Grievers, a horrific monster that is a mix of metal and flesh that can bite, sting and kill.

Each boy in the community has his own role that he does in order to keep the society functioning. The Runners run through the maze mapping it out. A position Thomas feels himself drawn to.

Everything changes on Thomas’ second day when a mysterious girl, Teresa, arrives in the elevator car. The Gladers were not expecting another delivery for another month – the pattern in the Glade. Teresa is the first girl to arrive and she will be the last delivery – no more Gladers, food or supplies.

Thomas also feels that he has connection to her. Teresa and Thomas are somehow connected to the mystery of the Glade. Will they be able to work with the other boys and help everyone escape the maze?

The novel is written in third person, but the narrative strongly favours Thomas’ point of view.

The Maze Runner series will be popular with readers of dystopian fiction.

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Book Review: The Maze Runner

Visit my blog: http://theroundtheclockperuser.blogspot.com

Good Points
(Warning: Review may contain spoilers!)

To tell the truth, I expected a lot from this book, especially that the idea of a maze that changes every night is a highly intriguing concept. The movie adaptation, which I now realized did not entirely stayed loyal to the book, also did not help as I previously thought it was an awesome film (What, did you expect me to not like it when I can see Dylan O'Brien's face for the entire duration of the movie?). However, now that I've finally had the time to pick up The Maze Runner by James Dashner and have perused it over the course of three days (three days, can you believe that? I've never gone that long to finish a book!), I realize that perhaps I expected too greatly.

When I first started reading the book, I candidly did not enjoy it. I constantly found myself reading one or two chapters, then closing the book to go and do something else. I did not relish the first several chapters because I think that the story is going too slow for me. The narration goes at a plodding pace. There is a lot of repetition going on, mostly the parts where Dashner keeps mentioning how Thomas can remember the basics of life, like, what a hamburger is, what theatres are, but he cannot remember his family, his home, or who Thomas was with when he ate a hamburger or when he went to the theatre to catch a movie. Nonetheless, by somewhere near the middle of the book, when the actual content of the Maze is finally involved, that is when I found myself resisting the temptation to put the book down and give my eyes its much needed rest. The characters are suddenly interlaced with a lot of action and mystery and puzzling clues, which are often times the key elements that I always look for in a good book.

The Maze, overall, is one clever idea. Dashner has managed to create this harrowing puzzle that changes course every night, and is filled with ghastly creatures called Grievers. However, as slick as the idea is, I honestly feel like I would have liked The Maze Runner better had Thomas and his co-Runner Minho did not move in one specific area in the Maze. The route to the Cliff seems to be too "easy," so to say. I get it--I get that Minho have been mapping the Maze for two years and have the entire route memorized, thus the Cliff being easy to navigate, but I personally think that it would be more adventurous if the other sections of the Maze were also explored, not just mentioned. I think that it would have made the Maze sound even more intimidating and difficult.

Dashner's writing is simple with few prosaic similes. His choice of wording and sentence structure is easy to read, nevertheless, lacking words that sound almost too foreign that you have to pick up a dictionary as though to make sure the word actually exists in the English language--which is a good thing because, hey, less time browsing through the dictionary and more time to indulge in the story! Dashner's characters, however, have a certain diction that is kind of hard to understand in the beginning. Words like "shank," "splinthead," "shuck-face," "Greenie," and "klunk," were honestly hard for me to get used to. It makes me wonder how the early habitants of the Glade came up with those words--how they came up with their own language.

Notwithstanding the specific things that I did not like about the book, I cannot help but admire how Thomas's character can evoke emotions so easily. As I was reading the book, I felt irritated sometimes at Thomas's constant nagging, but it's so understandable because if you would just put yourself in Thomas's shoes, you'll also be asking tons of queries about what is going on. The way I see it, it is always good for an author to elicit emotions from their audience--whether it be sympathy, anger, irritation, love, or whatever, because that's when you would know that your writing is working. It's doing something that makes it capable of producing such reactions from their readers. Dashner is able to work that magic with me because I found it easy to connect with Thomas, to Newt, and to the other characters, no matter how shallow and cruel they seemed to be in the book.

As far as recommending The Maze Runner, if you are someone who is looking for a book with little to no romance at all and you just want to read something adventurous, The Maze Runner is the perfect novel to pick up. It may start out slow, but it eventually picks up pace once the real deal begins. Although I did not enjoy the book as much as I imagined I would, The Maze Runner is still promising with its heart-pounding action scenes and mystery that makes you want to either stay clear of the Maze or enter it and face the horror it houses.
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Great book for inspiring writers!

This fabulous story written by James Dashner features a cast of young teenagers living in a place where they are constantly looking for a way out, whilst trying not to be killed.
The plot is like a refreshing drink on a warm summer day; you just have to sigh with relief once you've gulped it down.
Inspiring piece of work; budding writers should read this to learn how a great plot and writing style, character creation and how to keep a good story going. Pat on the back for James Dashner!

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A Fun Read

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is another title in the uber-popular genre of YA books about teenagers in dangerous “fight-to-the-death” games. But in this case, the main character, Thomas, is not on television…probably. He doesn’t really know the truth because his memory is wiped.

Thomas, along with the rest of the cast, are stuck in the middle of the Glade. Right next to them is the mysterious Maze with ever changing walls. Somewhere, deep in the Maze are evil Grievers which are half slug, half robots ready to attack.

Will Thomas be able to solve the Maze and lead the other kids to freedom or is he actually their worst enemy?

My nine-year-old son loves, loves, loves The Maze Runner. He read it start to finish in one day. To me as an adult it seemed predictable but fun. I wish there were more female characters but I appreciate Dasher’s brilliance in crafting a book that makes adolescent boys want to read.

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Flat out awesome!

To see my review on The Maze Runner, visit my blog: bookbabe07.blogspot.com

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Really Good Book

I believe that this book is extremeley gripping, the plot and how James Dashner make me feel like I was
also in the shoes of the characters, overall this book is pretty awesome! I am still hoping that the rest of the series will be good or even better than this first one

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Good, familiar book

If you liked The Hunger Games then you will like this story. The book feels really familiar but still has
enough unique aspects to keep it interesting. It's worth your time to read it.

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Worth It

The Maze Runner By James Dashner was an action packed medium paced book. The book starts off with the main character Thomas arriving in a metal box with absolutely no idea of what happened to him before. He is than welcomed by a group of boys to a small little society that's enclosed from the outside world called the Glade. After being shown the rest of the glade Thomas realized that he wont be leaving the glade anytime soon. Since it is closed off by huge chunks of wall called the maze that surround the glade. Now since hearing of this book I was quick to put it a side as it did not capture my interest whatsoever, just seemed like another version of the Hunger Game which I had already read. But after given it a second look, I could not put it down. I would recommend this to anyone who liked the Hunger games and the Divergent series.

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Absolutely phenomenal!

Wow! I don't know where to start with this book...
With a mysterious opening, I was hooked from the very first page unlike many other books. James Dashner [AUTHOR] was clever in the way of making sure the reader became intertwined within the mind of teenage boy, Thomas. Just like Thomas, we had no idea what was going on, and being thrown into the center of a chaotic labyrinth was just the first thing we knew! As we are greeted by other members of this unforgettable bundle of confused teens, we find that they, just like Thomas, have no clear memory. Almost every single character is memorable, and even when something situates between characters you don't know that well, you still find your eyes glued to the pages!
Throughout the book, I feel that James Dashner's writing improved from the first half, which somehow made the tension towards the end better than it could ever have been. I definitely recommend this book (and the rest of the series, including the prequel) to any fans of The Hunger Games trilogy, the Divergent trilogy and anyone who has a general interest into the fictional worlds of Dystopia!

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