The Maze Runner by James Dashner | Book Review

June 6, 2014 Reviews 8

The Maze Runner by James Dashner | Book ReviewThe Maze Runner by James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner #1
Published by Delacorte Press on October 6, 2009
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 374
Length: 10 hours 50 minutes
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

"If you ain't scared, you ain't human."

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He's surrounded by strangers--boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It's the only way out--and no one's ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

My Initial Reaction…

The Maze Runner was much better than I expected. Not something I typically would have picked up, but was on the list for book club. Now I now need to track down the rest of the books!

The Characters…

The main character in The Maze Runner is a young boy of about 16 named Thomas. When the book begins he’s waking up in a metal box in the ground, no clue where he is, why he’s there, or who he is. Thomas knows his name, but that’s it. His memory has been wiped. I really loved that The Maze Runner was told ONLY from his point of view, because it makes figuring out what’s going on that much more complicated. Thomas has all these instinctive abilities and desires – and even those instincts are to be questioned. He’s a smart boy and I loved watching him figure out the mystery – because I couldn’t do it.

We get to know quite a few other characters in the Maze. They were well written and I could visualize each boy so clearly – they all have such strong personalities and sometimes that brings them into conflict. I will say, though, that this definitely isn’t a character driven novel. You get to know the characters, but they don’t drive it forward. It’s the story – particularly the mystery – that kept me turning the pages.

The Story…

The Maze Runner is a brilliant concept. These boys have all been put in the Glade – an area at the center of a Maze – over a period of about two years without their memories. They don’t know why they are there but they are trying to get out. So a group of boys, called Runners because they have to run to get through the maze, go out every day to try and find the way. After two years they haven’t found a way because 1 – the walls move every night and 2 – it’s dangerous out there. Weird creatures are in the maze and they are hunting the boys, trying to kill them.

When Thomas arrives at the maze, things start going differently and the boys are convinced his arrival has something to do with it. Thomas knows they are probably right, though he has no idea why. The mystery of how they ended up there, why, and how they’re going to get out kept me turning the pages. By the end, I still hadn’t guessed. Best part, though, was that once I found out, I could look back and see where I SHOULD have figured it out!

Concluding Sentiments…

The Maze Runner ends with an epilogue that let’s you know that the mystery isn’t quite as solved as you thought. There’s more to come and I can’t wait to read the rest. Thank goodness the entire trilogy is already out or I’d be so frustrated. It’s not a cliffhanger per say, but it’s enough to make the next book a must!

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About James Dashner

James is the author of THE MAZE RUNNER trilogy and THE 13TH REALITY series. He also published a series (beginning with A DOOR IN THE WOODS) with a small publisher several years ago. He lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

8 Responses to “The Maze Runner by James Dashner | Book Review”

    • Berls

      It’s funny – I hadn’t even heard of this one until it came up for the book club. And I didn’t know it had a movie coming until I finished reading it. I somehow still manage to live under a rock… 🙂
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  1. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I’m glad you liked this one! I’ve had it on my shelves FOREVER, but I really want to read it before the movie comes out, but . . . I’m kind of gun-shy around dystopians these days. And I love it when I haven’t figured out whatever-it-is by the end of a book, but can look back and see the hints along the way. Great review 😉
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    • Berls

      Thanks Jessica! It’s funny because I had never heard of it and probably wouldn’t have until September when the movie comes out if it weren’t for the book club I just joined. I have to say, I didn’t love book 2 near as much, but I’m still going to finish the trilogy.
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  2. Aly @ My Hearts Hearts Books

    I liked TMR for its ability to suck me in. I liked the concept too and after the first couple of pages, I was sucked in this world then I wanted more. Then I read the next two books and it completely altered the way that I viewed the series. I mainly read it to prep for the movie and I can’t wait to compare the two. Great review.
    Aly recently posted…Summer Reads June GiveawaysMy Profile

    • Berls

      I’m looking forward to comparing it to the movie too! I recently finished the second one and it wasn’t nearly as good as the first IMHO. I’m not really in a hurry to read book 3, though I will make a point of finishing it this summer, since I already have the book from the library. I hope the third book at least ends on a good bang.
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    • Berls

      If it bored you until halfway through, I wouldn’t bother with the others honestly. This book was so much better than book 2 for me and I haven’t even started book 3 yet. But I can’t imagine you’d enjoy the second, since the big mystery element that kept me focused on book 1 wasn’t even there anymore. I liked book 2, but I also really really liked book 1.
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