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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
5,652461755 (3.86)283
Member:creighley
Title:The Maze Runner (Book 1)
Authors:James Dashner
Info:Delacorte Press (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Futuristic-fiction; Dystopia; YA

Work details

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (2009)

  1. 410
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (smammers)
  2. 200
    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. 20
    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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Showing 1-5 of 457 (next | show all)
I've been following James Dashner for awhile now, ever since I received an advanced reader copy of the first book in his The 13th Reality series The Journal of Curious Letters. I enjoyed it enough that I tracked down his earlier series, The Jimmy Fincher Saga. There were some definite improvements in his writing from Jimmy Fincher to The 13th Reality, but you could see the potential in each series that there was something more in James that was wanting to get out, something bigger. And I think that The Maze Runner is that something.

From personal request of the author from his blog, I'm going to leave this review as spoiler free as possible, which of course means that I'm not going to be able to say much at all. The story opens with Thomas finding himself in a metal box that seems to be moving, with no memories of his life, his family, even of who he is. He knows his name is Thomas, and beyond that, he remembers very little of his life before waking up in the box. The box deposits him into the Glade, where he is met by a large group of boys who also have no memory prior to waking in the box, just like Thomas. He soon learns the ropes of living in the Glade, where the boys each have assigned jobs such as gardening or tending to the livestock, but the one job that he is most interested in is being a Runner. The Runners have probably the most important job in the Glade; they enter the huge Maze that surrounds the Glade, trying to find a way out, because as far as anyone can tell, there is no escape through the Maze.

I think that's enough of a teaser with no major spoilers revealed. I know it's not much, but I can say that the book is fast-paced and doesn't quite let up through the whole story, and I never wanted to put the book down once I picked it up. There are some twists in the story, and while I had figured out part of the plot, I still wasn't sure how the entire story would play out or exactly what would be the answer to the question posed in the one plot point. Dashner does a great job of making the feelings of the boys tangible; you really get a sense of their desperation through the story, equally mingled with the continual hope that there will be a solution discovered to the Maze.

The Maze Runner, like most books in this trend, is the first part in a series, but don't let that detract you from picking it up now. The first book that comes to mind as a comparison is Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, and if you are a fan of that book, I don't think you'll be disappointed in The Maze Runner. I've enjoyed watching James grow as a writer over these few short years, and I'm anxious to see where he will be taking us next, because if The Maze Runner is any indication, I'm sure there are some really fantastic ideas floating around in his head, just waiting to be put on paper. ( )
  tapestry100 | May 18, 2015 |
This barely earned it's for stars. Just over a 3.5 is more accurate.

For the most part I really enjoyed the story. Yet I feel that the last third of the book was rushed and just threw us a bunch of random bits that don't seem to go together. My mind is still working through the mess of the last few chapters.

While it starts off really good and the premise is most interesting the ending reveals many gaps in the plot that just do not add up. The worst part here is I cannot say much without giving things away!

I liked Thomas' character. Independent, thoughtful, and proactive! Unlike many other characters we meet, he does not accept things at face value. And about time too! Some of the other boys in the Glade have been there for 2 years with no results. He questions solutions, speaks up for himself and is determined to figure a way out.

My favorite character is Chuck. While he is mostly picked on an not a favorite otherwise, I found him to be a great, loyal friend. He is one of the younger boys in the "community" and isn't one of the most skilled but he really tries to help Thomas out and befriend him. Another favorite is Newt. an ideal leader and all around, fair, caring guy.

The fact that a bunch of adolescent boys run the glade alone, from building, to medical, cooking, butchering, farming, etc impressed me. I kept wondering where those skills came from. There must have been a prerequisite skill set to be sent there or something.

One other thing I struggled with was the visualization of the Grievers. I felt more attention should have gone there. Each time my mind tried, it saw something different.

Overall good, but needed more checking that things matched up throughout the plot and the ending could have been less muddled. I am curious enough to continue the series but also a bit skeptical.

( )
  jljaina | May 16, 2015 |
This is a novel encompassed in mystery, as it features characters who have had their memory swiped before being brought into a strange and cruel world. The story opens with Thomas, traveling upward in an elevator, and bewildered because he doesn't know where he is, what he is doing, or anything about his past. He is hauled out of the dark shaft by a group of boys who speak English but use unfamiliar slang. Alby, their leader, tells him he is in the Glade, but doesn't answer most of his questions. They are tense and apparently occupied with too many important matters to worry about his confusion. They tell him to go with Chuck, and rush off to deal with the boy screaming in a house behind them. In time, Thomas learns many disturbing facts about his new home. It is a square surrounded by immense gray walls which turn out to be pieces of a labyrinth. The square is in the center of the maze, and the boys call it the Glade. There are around fifty of them, trying to survive without the help of a single adult.

Not everything is bad in the Glade; they have a house, a garden, storage rooms, and supplies. The supplies are sent to them every week, in the same elevator that carried Thomas to his new home, an elevator that brings a new boy up every month. He learns, from the intermittent answers he pries out of the others, that they don't know who put them there or why, but it's clear someone did it, and they call them the Creators. And everyone hates the Creators. They didn't just put them in a maze isolated from everyone else, and wipe their memories so they can't recall a single person from their past; they also put grievers in the maze, monstrosities made out of a combination of machine and sluggy flesh. They have an assortment of tools and weapons that they use to poison and kill any boy unlucky enough to get caught.

Thomas is overwhelmed by his new world that had been dropped on top of a sudden loss of memory. Even stranger, he has flashes of almost recognition that make him think he knows more about the maze than the other boys. One of those flashes convinces Thomas that he wants to be a maze runner. These boys have the job of heading out into the maze every day to map different routes in the hopes of figuring out the solution. After all, mazes always have solutions, and they figure the solution must be an exit to the maze. Chuck, who has stuck to him tenaciously and is his only real friend, informs him that being a maze runner is the top job in the Glade, and Thomas will have to work hard for months to prove himself.

Meanwhile, another surprise rocks the Gladers when a girl is sent up the shaft the day after Thomas. Newbies are only sent up once a month, and furthermore, no girl has ever been sent to the Glade. She is only semiconscious when she arrives, but she manages to ask for Thomas, and to inform them all that now, everything changes.

Suspicion around Thomas only increases with this development. He doesn't remember her, and doesn't know what to think, but he still want to be a maze runner. His determination leads him to meet Min Ho, head of the runners, and to risk his life to spend a night in the maze helping Alby and Min Ho stay alive. They survive, and the next morning Thomas receives very different treatment from his fellow Gladers, as no one has ever survived a night in the maze before. The changes keep happening, and events in the Glade goes from bad to worse. Still, Thomas and the girl have vital information in their heads, and working with Min Ho and the other Gladers, they are determined to defeat the maze once and for all.

Maze Runner is an entertaining read. It is plot driven, with plenty of scary confrontations and amazing rescues, and characters that quickly grab out sympathy because of their young age and unfortunate circumstances. The memory gimmick works to build suspense and mystery, but is overused and too forced at times. The world they inhabit is compelling, and certainly original, but feels limited. I wanted the author to show us more of the maze and spend more time in the larger world that created it; it never felt fully created to me. Granted, this is a trilogy, so presumably the author will add to the world in the next two books. These drawbacks aside, the novel is an engrossing read, and a decent entry in the new explosion of dystopian stories. ( )
  nmhale | May 10, 2015 |
I'll be the first to admit that I was drawn to this book based upon the movie preview. The premise looked interesting, and looked like more than just any other whiny YA novel that seems to be all the rave right now. Well, it certainly was different, but that didn't make it any better.

The first half of the book is completely and utterly dull. In short, almost nothing happens - save excessively direct and simplistic narration. I also understand that in YA-type books the whole deal of 'inventing' new words and types of speech is common, and this generally doesn't bother me. However, The Maze Runner takes this WAY too far. Virtually all dialogue is plagued by difficult to understand words, very few of which really matter in the scheme of things. Coupled with the slow pace, the dialogue problems made me almost give up on this book entirely by 30% in.

The main character is a massive pain to follow in the beginning. He has a tendency to 'tell' the audience exactly what he is feeling or thinking, which I assume is to cater to the YA audience that may not yet be able to deduce these elements based on actions and interactions. He's generally forgettable, and despite a few moments of heroism, doesn't seem all that special to follow.

I honestly feel like the author tried too hard to break into the YA audience by hitting all the familiar keys, save the inclusion of a whiny main character or lovestruck co-character. Super-teens overcoming a seemingly impossible challenge in the wake of a massive conspiracy, coupled with some light action and very light horror without any real focus on the losses incurred (at the end, the characters don't seem to care at all that MANY of their friends die horrifically), will definitely cater to today's YA audience - PLUS A SEQUEL! I'm happy for Dashner and his successes, but am comfortable in saying that this book isn't for me, offers little enjoyment if you're looking for something a bit more cerebral or complicated, and won't offer any larger moral, lesson, or greater idea other than trying to figure out a giant maze.

To be fair, I'm sure this will translate well to screen. The dialogue is almost meant as a screenplay, and there's plenty of direction to focus the scenery. However, this doesn't make this a quality book.

1/5 for poor character development, impossible/irregular dialogue, slow content/character development, and generally dull characters and climax. ( )
  bdtrump | May 9, 2015 |
This is one of the few books that I read AFTER seeing the movie, the movie making me want to read it when I previously had no interest. And I loved it and the premise of the story.

The story opens with Thomas, locked in a metal box-like lift that is moving through the darkness. He remembers nothing more about his life than his name, although he has flitting memories of other random knowledge with no connection to anything else. When the Box finally stops, the ceiling doors open and he finds himself surrounded by strangers, boys like him with no memories of their lives before coming to the Glade. Each of them has come to the Glade in the same mysterious way, in the Box with no memories beyond their names. An enormous maze surrounds the Glade behind towering walls, inhabited by mysterious half-human/half-mechanical creatures called Grievers that usually only come out at night, but which are deadly. Because of them, no one is allowed into the maze, with the exception of the Runners. The Runners are Gladers assigned to run through it each day, mapping it and searching for a way through it. From the beginning, Thomas is more curious than most, almost obsessed with finding a way out. He becomes desperate to recover his lost memories and to find answers about the Glade and why they were all there. There are moments throughout the book that underscore that Thomas is somehow different, somehow integral to the Glade and to the Maze and to whomever is behind it all, a mysterious group of people known as WICKED.

There is so much mystery surrounding the stroy and the boys living in the community of the Glade. We know of WICKED, but very little about them, about who they are, what they are doing, why they are doing it. That kind of mystery kept me on the edge of my seat, just wondering what was going to happen next in the story.

As much as I loved the book, there were a few things that I didn't like. One of these things I understand the purpose of, one I thought was unnecessary detail that just didn't play well, and the third was not really a breaking point either way. The first was the characterization of Teresa. As the only girl in the group, for much of her story within the book, she was rather one-dimensional. Most of the time, she seemed relegated to "pretty girl" status, rather than given a whole lot of strength and intelligence of her own. If it was a purposeful choice by the author, rather than just my interpretation, then I understand it, even if I didn't really like it. It underscored the reality that she was the only girl and that the boys around her just weren't sure how to feel about that. The second thing I didn't like was the use of invented slang among the boys, words like "shank" and "klunk" as a part of their language. It felt too contrived and not natural. For me, it took away from otherwise important moments and gave them a silly quality. The last thing had to do with the telling, rather than showing, of the characters' emotions. We never really got into the characters' heads, primarily Thomas, to feel what he was feeling. Instead, we were told how it was feeling. I am the type of reader that enjoys getting into the heads of the characters and being a part of the story and I didn't have that nearly as much with this read.

My Recommendation: However, none of these things were enough to turn me off of the series. I loved the premise, the characters, and the mystery and anticipation of it. ( )
  Kiki870 | May 5, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 457 (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)
 

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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. Metal ground against metal; a lurching shudder shook the floor beneath him.
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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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