The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Posted October 11, 2014 in Book Review / 4 Comments

The Maze Runner by James DashnerThe Maze Runner by James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner #1
Published by Delacorte Press on August 24th 2010
Genres: Dystopia, Science fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 375
Format: Paperback
Source: Amazon
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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.

Main Points
Writing Style:
The writing was well-paced, never dull.
Wow this book was good. I didn’t even realize how good it was until I was almost done and then I was like wow. That was so good, where’s the next one? Know how you can tell I was eager for more? I actually read the beginning of the next book that was in the back of this book as a sneak preview. I never do that, even with series I know I want to continue. But here I was like WHAT’S GONNA HAPPEN NEXT????
It’s not even necessarily to do with the characters. They were all right at best and insufferable at worst. Even Thomas was I was iffy on at first. I probably liked Teresa the best, even though her instant connection with Thomas was a little sketch. I could live with that. We have a couple more books to develop that. The pacing for that part was fine in this book.
Alby wasn’t the nicest, for a leader. Newt was cool but steadily got meaner. Turned out all right though. Chuck was the cutest thing, if a little weird at the beginning. I couldn’t get why it took Thomas so long to warm up to him. Gally was an asshole, but I mean come on, there’s always gotta be an asshole. And everyone who underwent the changing was an ass, so it makes sense. And he somewhat redeems himself, in a sort of perverse way. But even Alby becomes more of a hardass, even if he can occasionally shake it off to be a leader. Neither Newt nor Alby were particularly great leaders in my book, but at least Alby kept them in order and working. Minho was a little iffy and short with him at first, but he grew to be a really cool guy. I really liked Minho just like I liked Chuck.
But what was really interesting was the fantastic plot. The little community in the maze was so cool. The maze itself was neat, and dangerous like the maze in the Triwizard Tournament (from Harry Potter #4). I was only a little disappointed that there was only one type of dangerous creature in the maze, even if there were several threats. And also it did seem a bit lucky that Thomas was able to View Spoiler », but that may have been other horses at work rather than just luck or even Thomas’ skill. It may have had something to do with the Creators. 2 years is a long time to keep fighting for something that probably doesn’t exist while people are dying to find it (literally), but it’s not that long. I was actually somewhat surprised by this. Only two years. I wondered how many people were actually living in the Glade. Also, I feel like this entire book takes place in only a few days.
The Maze was fascinating, but the real mystery was probably the memories. Those were the key things evading everyone the entire time. It would probably have been a lot simpler to figure things out if they had their memories from the beginning, especially Thomas. And Teresa. A lot of people have said it was rather ‘convenient’ for Thomas to remember things when he did, but I don’t think it was that at all. It was a big decision and sacrifice on his part to get some of his memories back. Actually, he gets unfairly accused of a lot of things throughout. He is a hero in a lot of situations, but there’s always a sizable group who hates him for it or wants him punished because of something he did. I can’t say I necessarily disagree with the importance of keeping order- rules and consequences- but I feel like they were a bit too extreme with their wishes. (The actual punishments that take place though aren’t too bad at all.) And a lot of them still seemed to think he was a spy or something evil just because he was smart and capable. To be fair he had had experience, but he still didn’t have memory, just like everyone else. He wasn’t all that different, in the beginning at least. Thank goodness most people were on his side, though.
It was also nice to read a fantastic dystopian action novel without too much emphasis placed on romance. It was a nice break.
And the ending! Wow! Couldn’t see any of that coming! So many twists. And I’m pretty sure it turns out to be a mystery inside a mystery. It’s plot-ception going on right here. There are probably many layers of mystery and puzzles to solve, like an onion.
Good vs. Bad
  • plot
  • pacing
  • potential romance
  • writing
  • ending
Less than perfect:
  •  characters
The movie was really good! It was pretty different from the book, but the main elements were there. It had the same feel that the book did, but felt a little shorter and didn’t have quite the same level of detail.
Bottom Line
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book.   This book was pretty fraught with tension and action, and the characters weren’t all necessarily likable, but the plot was fascinating and well-thought-out enough to make this a compelling read. Would I read more by this author? FOR SURE. Would I recommend this book to others? FOR SURE.

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.

Overall: five-stars


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4 Comments on "The Maze Runner by James Dashner"

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WHY DID I ONLY SEE THIS NOW????? :( Thanks for the review, Ali!! I’ve always wanted to read this ever since the movie came out. The movie looked so good, and I wanted to watch it, but I knew I had to read the book first. Your review totally convinced me :D THANK YOUU!! I’m definitely going to hunt this down!

Valeria @ A Touch of Book Madness

I’m dying to read this series! It’s on the top of my tbr list! Seriously can’t wait. I was too excited and already watched the movie, but am hoping to start the series soon and get going. The movie was amazing and got me so hooked!

I never read the first chapter of the next book that are attahced to the end of the previous one, so I totally get what you meant.