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The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1) (edition 2010)

by James Dashner

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4,4413541,105 (3.9)241
Member:uganskin
Title:The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1)
Authors:James Dashner
Info:Delacorte Press (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Maze Runner by James Dashner

2012 (24) action (26) adventure (100) amnesia (76) ARC (28) boys (31) dystopia (252) dystopian (124) ebook (36) experiments (33) fantasy (84) fiction (213) friendship (27) labyrinths (51) mazes (78) mystery (43) post-apocalyptic (90) puzzles (29) read (26) read in 2012 (23) science fiction (326) series (88) survival (124) suspense (37) teen (58) thriller (37) to-read (195) YA (182) young adult (253) young adult fiction (33)
  1. 350
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (smammers)
  2. 160
    Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (aeleone)
    aeleone: More sci-fi than Maze Runner, but the characters experience a similar situation as the boys in the maze. Plus, it's super classic.
  3. 80
    Gone by Michael Grant (stephxsu)
    stephxsu: Incredible world-building and suspense-building featuring a plethora of interesting and sympathetic characters.
  4. 92
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (bookworm12)
  5. 40
    Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (bluenotebookonline)
    bluenotebookonline: Bit more fantasy than The Maze Runner, but a similar setup (hero who's trapped) and pace.
  6. 31
    Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Waterbuggg)
    Waterbuggg: Both books are action-packed and have a similar premise and secret.
  7. 00
    Das Labyrinth erwacht by Rainer Wekwerth (Friederike.Geissler)
  8. 00
    Wool by Hugh Howey (KatyBee)
  9. 00
    The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (Anonymous user)
  10. 22
    Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (bluenotebookonline)
    bluenotebookonline: Also action packed, has a dystopian setting, includes quite a bit of kids vs. adults, etc. Prinz award winner.
  11. 00
    The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen (kaledrina)
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» See also 241 mentions

English (351)  German (1)  All languages (352)
Showing 1-5 of 351 (next | show all)
Thomas wakes up in a lift, no memory of where he is or who he is, only his first name. He soon discovers he's been trapped in The Maze with about 50 other boys, all clueless as to their past and striving to solve this impossible puzzle and make their escape. The Maze changes daily and is full of dangerous creatures, but all the boys hold the hope that whoever put them in this place, left them with a way out. Thomas is determined to become a Runner, someone who explores the Maze, and find an escape route. The day after Thomas's arrival however, a girl arrives - the first to be sent to The Maze - and everything changes.

What I liked:
The Maze Runner is fast paced and exciting. From the first page I was instantly intrigued and I enjoyed Thomas as a narrator - I connected with him. I was as clueless as Thomas to his new situation and just as frustrated as he was when he was struggling for answers. I seriously could not put this down and stayed up past midnight just to finish (and then immediately read a few chapters of book two, The Scorch Trials) and I was constantly second-guessing the information Thomas was given, trying to figure everything out. Dashner kept me invested in the characters and the plot and so far I'm really enjoying his concept.

There's quite a bit of hype about this book and many times I get nervous when everyone seems to love a book - I'm always afraid that I won't love it, or that my expectations will be too high (i.e. The Vampire Academy and Divergent series). I may have mentioned this before, but I hate to read a book I don't enjoy (who does?) and I worry with big hits like this that I'll be in the minority. But I tried to stay away from reviews on this book (and information about the upcoming movie) and Dashner didn't let me down.

What I didn't like:
I only have one complaint, that I won't go into much detail on because I try to remain spoiler-free with my reviews. But there was a scene towards the end that felt like cheap drama. It was a common plot device that I feel is cliché, and in this case I also felt it was unnecessary. Dashner set me up to expect this however, and I was really hoping he would switch things out and find another way to portray the scene. But he didn't and instead of being impacted, I was rolling my eyes saying "saw that coming." Personally I don't think it's unusual for authors to use common, cliché plot or character devices, but I was disappointed all the same.

~

I hope the rest of this series keeps me as thrilled and invested as book one does. If you're into YA dystopias, give this book a chance. It feels fresh and as I've said many times (sorry, not sorry) the action will hopefully pull you in and keep you wanting more! ( )
  MillieHennessy | Jul 6, 2014 |
**Should be one-and-a-half stars** Also, William Sleator did it better. Read House of Stairs.

The book of bad habits.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up in a darkened elevator, he has no memory of who he is or where he comes from. The elevator takes him to a high-walled courtyard, The Glade, full of self-governing adolescent boys who have no memories of their prior lives either. He is informed that a new boy arrives every month. Beyond The Glade is a maze: explored by Runners each day, filled with monsters each night. The day after Thomas’ arrival an unconscious hot girl shows up in the elevator clutching a note informing the boys that she will be the last. What follows is a race against time to solve the maze before resources run out or monsters overrun The Glade.

This book was really hard to finish. The ideas were promising, and I had the feeling that things were just about to get exciting in a few pages…unfortunately I had that feeling all the way through with absolutely no payoff.

Let me state, once and for all, that this book has absolutely nothing in common with Lord of the Flies. Nothing. If you love that book (like I do) and were considering this one because you’ve heard it was in a similar vein, you’ve been bamboozled. Lord of the Flies has depth, sociological commentary, and psychological suspense. The Maze Runner doesn’t.

What it does have are many, many poor choices that rob the narrative of any excitement or suspense. I am afraid of writing a book like this, and I often found myself cringing when Dashner’s novel displayed an unchecked bad habit that I am prone to myself. I am going to list the poor choices for convenience:

1. This should have been a short story. If Dashner wasn’t interested in, or up to the task of, developing his characters as more than two-dimensional personalities; he should have told his tale in a short format to keep the focus on the events. Social dynamics between Gladers are superficial, particularly given how long most of them have been living together in stressful circumstances. Particularly irritating is the way The Gladers refuse to explain anything of what they know about their situation to Thomas. It seems like a pointless attempt to create conflict and suspense, and it is one that fails.

2. Dashner gives away all his suspense and conflict early on. Rather than letting Grievers, the deadly monsters that roam the maze, be a mysterious entity that goes bump in the night until Thomas gets to enter the maze himself; Thomas is shown a Griever through a window on the day he arrives. Teresa, who could brew conflict based on her gender alone, is dropped straight into a coma on arrival and kept off-screen unless it is time for Thomas to interact with her. A very poor choice. The fact that she arrives the very day after Thomas is also a poor choice, because he has yet to learn anything about Glader life. What could have been a huge shock to a settled-in Thomas with a month in the Glade was instead a throwaway moment.

3. Pacing. Holy moly. Dashner and I have something in common with our writing. I have a tendency to slip into a moment-by-moment description of events if I am not being careful. This makes for a bone dry read, and is a terrible disservice to story. I only care what a character ate for lunch if it tells me something about the character. Katniss’ focus on food underscored the general scarcity of it in her daily life, Harriet the Spy’s tomato sandwiches were a quirk of her generally independent personality. Ditto anything else the character does. It only matters to me if it matters to the story. Dashner drags the reader through many dull hours and frustrating conversations, just to get to “wow” moments that fail to thrill because the reader has become so disinterested.

4. The author shows his ass with the character of Teresa. It tells me an awful lot about how an author sees women when he drops a single female character into a story, makes her beautiful, takes away her ability to speak, and earmarks her for the “hero” (and none of the other characters challenge this assumption). It reminded me of Arya in Eragon: she’s there because the hero needs a hot babe to ride into the sunset with, no matter how little sense it actually makes in the context of the story. That is not authentic, that is an emotionally stunted little boy’s fantasy. The way the story is written Thomas basically has “dibs”.

5. Thomas’ self-reflection read like the author describing the character of Thomas to the reader. That doesn’t work in first-person. Awkward. Whenever Thomas had a good character moment: did something brave, devised a clever solution, or worked tirelessly; it was undercut by his previous musings that despite his lack of memory he felt like he was brave/smart/persistent. I tend to think of writing characters like creating a great drawing: if you do a good job rendering the values, bringing out the darks and lights, you don’t need to draw lines.

6. Spiked slugs aren’t scary.

This book was just so frustrating, particularly since I saw some of my own bad writing habits on every page. I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone, because there are so many good sci-fi/dystopian stories with similar themes that are well-written. I will not be picking up The Scorch Trials. ( )
1 vote ArmchairAuthor | Jul 3, 2014 |
Fast and furious, non-stop action, and an intriguing puzzle (what is the Maze, where did it come from) kept me reading, or listening to the audiobook version, which was a Book Club pick. In this post-apocalyptic yarn, Earth has been destroyed by solar flares. Everything between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn has become a wasteland, and people north and south of these are going mad with a disease they call The Flare. This first book in a trilogy ends in a cliff hanger, without our knowing what the Maze was all about. So I'm listening to The Scorch Trials, the second book. This series, which reminds me of Lord of the Flies crossed with The Hunger Games, appeals to boys and girls alike. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Jun 26, 2014 |
Really loved this book. Great escape and quick read. Lots of opportunities to ask questions. Good separation of characters for an ensemble so large. ( )
  nicoleop | Jun 23, 2014 |
The best thing I can say for the Maze Runner is that it’s exciting.

The aspect that really brought The Maze Runner down for me was the lack of connection I felt to the characters. I know this is suppose to be an intelligent, action-packed story and not an emotional one, but to be at all invested I have to feel some emotional connections to the characters. I want to sympathize for them, feel their losses and victories, and in general, care about them, but I never really did. Thomas, the main character, was almost robotic in his actions. I found him annoying at times and tolerable at others, but never really cared. Since the stories focused around him. Characters suffered severely and I felt nothing, and that’s not normal for me.

Other than that, I thought the plot was really intriguing. I wanted more back story about what was happening with the world, but I didn’t necessarily expect anything because I knew going in this was mostly about the maze. The ending did feel a bit like a gimmicky set-up for the next book, but even though I knew what was coming, it still made my mind reel. I don’t think I’ll buy the next book in the series but I’ll definitely try to check it out from the library.

Final Impression: This was a pretty average book for me. The strong points of the book are the plot and the pacing, both of which kept my mind racing and was the reason I stayed engage. However, the characters felt extremely flat and I couldn’t relate to them even a little bit, which dropped my rating quite a bit. I’m giving this one a 3/5 stars.

Review originally posted on my blog at Book.Blog.Bake. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 351 (next | show all)
 
The story reads like a maze with erroneous turns, dead ends, and a plot that should work but falls short.
added by Katya0133 | editLibrary Media Connection, Constance G. Pappas (Nov 1, 2009)
 
James Dashner has created a thrilling dystopian novel.
 
The Maze Runner has a great hook, and fans of dystopian literature, particularly older fans of Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember (Random, 2003), will likely enjoy this title and ask for the inevitable sequel.
added by Katya0133 | editSchool Library Journal, Kristin Anderson (Oct 1, 2009)
 
With a fast-paced narrative steadily answering the myriad questions that arise and an ever-increasing air of tension, Dashner's suspenseful adventure will keep readers guessing until the very end.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly (Sep 21, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Dashnerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Deakins, MarkReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Straub, PhilipCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Lynette. This book was a three-year journey, and you never doubted.
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He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Teen must run through maze / To figure out his past and / Survive scary plot. (legallypuzzled)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385737955, Paperback)

The first book in the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series—The Maze Runner is a modern classic, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

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 thirty 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.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.

(summary from another edition)

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