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The Maze Runner (Book 1) by James Dashner
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The Maze Runner (Book 1) (original 2009; edition 2010)

by James Dashner

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,449547597 (3.83)302
Member:taleofnight
Title:The Maze Runner (Book 1)
Authors:James Dashner
Info:Delacorte Press (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:dystopia

Work details

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (2009)

  1. 430
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (smammers)
  2. 210
    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. 122
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (bookworm12)
  4. 80
    Gone by Michael Grant (stephxsu)
    stephxsu: Incredible world-building and suspense-building featuring a plethora of interesting and sympathetic characters.
  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. 30
    Wool by Hugh Howey (KatyBee)
  7. 32
    Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Waterbuggg)
    Waterbuggg: Both books are action-packed and have a similar premise and secret.
  8. 00
    Das Labyrinth erwacht by Rainer Wekwerth (Friederike.Geissler)
  9. 00
    The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen (kaledrina)
  10. 00
    The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (Anonymous user)
  11. 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.
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» See also 302 mentions

English (536)  Spanish (3)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (543)
Showing 1-5 of 536 (next | show all)
I can already hear the complaints. What, only two stars? Are you crazy? Don't you know that this book has won tons of awards? IT'S BEING TURNED INTO A MOVIE STARRING DYLAN O'BRIEN! I know, I know. I probably would have liked it a lot more ten to fifteen years ago, before I had expectations for plot and character development. But all in all, I was just disappointed.

Let's start with the basics. Thomas wakes up in a box, really an elevator. He doesn't know where he's going, where he's coming from, even much of who he is, other than his name. He pops out in this idyllic grassy field and is greeted by a fairly sizable group of teenage boys. He wonders what's going on, but nobody will tell him anything. "Oh, you haven't been here long enough," they say. So, both Thomas and the reader are essentially in the dark and totally confused for the first 200 pages. All we find out is that they're in this place called the Glade, but nobody knows why they're there. Or where, exactly, the Glade is. Everything else is shrouded in mystery, which makes it seem like there's something awesome going on. Except there really isn't.

My first criticism, and it may seem silly, is that I can tell this book was written for children. Now, I read a lot of YA. I have no problem reading about teenagers, especially in dystopian situations. After all, some of my favorite books follow this same model of teenagers being thrust into crazy situations and having to fend for themselves. The difference between The Maze Runner and these other books is that the others have character development and reasonable plot twists and resolutions. The Maze Runner does not.

-- Spoilers start here --

I have just about had it with these "special snowflake" characters. I know, what would the story be if the main character was boring? But come on. Thomas has only just arrived and he's already telling these kids how to run their little compound and being appointed a Runner? Really? All this, right after he's told he'll have to EARN his job?

Now, the first time Thomas goes out into the Maze, he climbs the walls using the thick vines that literally grow on EVERY SINGLE WALL. Why then has nobody else bothered to do that over the last two years? Wouldn't it be easier to climb up on top of the walls to see if you can find an exit, rather than wandering aimlessly through the Maze just waiting to be stabbed by some spiny, poisonous, slug-like creature? WHY IS THE FACT THAT THOMAS FOUND A WAY TO SCALE THE WALLS NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN?

Also, when Thomas is out in the Maze, he notices a little metal sign on the wall that says WORLD IN CATASTROPHE: KILLZONE EXPERIMENT DEPARTMENT. He also sees little beetles that have the word WICKED on their backs. He makes no connection between the two, despite the fact that they're the ONLY TWO THINGS IN THE WHOLE FREAKIN' GLADE WITH WORDS ON THEM. No, the little plaque and the beetles are brushed off as things that are just there with no purpose whatsoever. Except maybe the beetles are spies. But whatever. How stupid are these characters?

From the very beginning, despite several characters expressing distrust of him, Thomas is painted as the savior. He knows something that will get them out of there. He promises to get everybody out. So, over the course of two weeks, he figures out what exactly he has to do to get them out. He figures out that he needs to go through the Changing to remember some stuff about his past, so he goes out and basically impales himself on a Griever. He figures out that the Grievers live in a little Hole and if they can just get in there, they can punch in a code THAT THE MAZE LITERALLY SPELLS OUT EVERY MONTH (apparently nobody else realized this over the last two years) and deactivate those little monsters. And because Thomas, over the course of two weeks, is able to come up with all this information, several of the other boys in the Glade actually feel compelled to SACRIFICE THEMSELVES TO FURTHER HIS CAUSE.

And finally, we can't discuss The Maze Runner without discussing Teresa. I have a lot of thoughts about her character, ranging from wow, finally, a girl who isn't totally dependent on a guy or involved in a love triangle! to why does the only girl in the Glade have to be stunning and passably smart with no other personality characteristics? I actually found Teresa fairly boring, probably because she's only mentioned when Thomas needs someone to talk to other than Chuck, or when his mystical semi-memory needs backing up. I did not understand why Thomas has this strange, telepathic connection with her, or why this was necessary to the otherwise non-fantastical plot.


-- Spoilers end here --

Aside from the plot, I took issue with the pacing of the novel. The book is 374 pages long. For at least the first 200 pages, nothing really happens. I just kept carrying on, sure that the big reveal would be in the next chapter. It's not. The Maze Runner just kind of ambles along, taking its time, building up unnecessary suspense as it goes. Then there are a few conflicts (probably 100 pages worth), but we still really don't learn anything about why exactly these kids have been sent to this weird place. Finally, on the last few pages, we get a tiny glimpse at the answer, but not enough to be satisfying.

Maybe you'll absolutely love this book. Maybe you'll hate it. Maybe you'll be somewhere in between. Personally, I feel that The Maze Runner did not live up to the hype at all. ( )
  Sara.Newhouse | Feb 11, 2016 |
I think I will be reading the next book just to answer some of the major questions posed at the end of the novel. I'm very interested in the characters. ( )
  bjoelle5 | Feb 10, 2016 |
Captivating. Exhilarating. Suspenseful. I was thoroughly pulled into this weave of mysterious and disturbing events. I was in my full puzzle-solving mode throughout the entire book: watching for clues and searching for answers. I was less than satisfied with the climax and the end, however. The climax didn't blow me away like I had hoped it would and, although I realize this is the first book in a series, the end felt much more to me like a set-up for the next installment than a conclusion to this section. I'll definitely continue the series and I'll reserve judgement till I've completed it. ( )
  benderca | Feb 8, 2016 |
I was expecting an easy read of YA distopian fiction and that's exactly what I got. A quick read, clever in parts. The Grievers are pretty grim. ( )
  Laurochka | Feb 6, 2016 |
Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!

My wife listened to the audiobook version over a year ago. When she described the story, I could not have been any less interested. We went as a family to see the movie and I loved it! I sought out the book to compare it to the movie. Even though I already knew the story, the book had me riveted from start to finish. It was written in a plain, simple style. The characters were, for the most part, well-developed. Despite being a YA novel, it was easy for me as an adult to read. I admit to being highly annoyed by the teenage angst that beats readers over the head. For this reason, I avoid a lot of YA novels. But The Maze Runner has none of this. The story unfolds at a steady clip that kept me locked in throughout. I felt the ending was a little anti-climatic (perhaps because I already knew what happened), but it was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to book 2. ( )
  BlackAsh13 | Jan 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 536 (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 (1 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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Book description
Haiku summary
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:02 -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)

» see all 3 descriptions

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