Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
ISBN: 9780385737944, Delacorte Press, 2009
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction
Rating: B+

First Line: He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air.

When Thomas wakes up, he finds himself on an elevator going up and up through a seemingly endless darkness. The only thing he remembers is his first name. When the elevator doors open, he finds himself surrounded by dozens of other young boys. Thomas has arrived in the Glade, a large open-air place surrounded by high stone walls.

The other boys don't remember anything of their previous lives either. All they know is that they arrived in the Glade the same way. Once a month, a new boy arrives on the elevator. Each morning, openings appear in the stone walls and the way is open to the Maze. Each evening at sunset, the openings in the wall close for the night.

Thomas stumbles a bit as he learns the slang the other boys use, but from the beginning, he has the faintest glimmers that he knows this place. When he looks out into the Maze, he knows that he has to explore it. And the very next day when the first girl ever sent up on the elevator to the Glade arrives, every boy living there knows that, somehow, things are about to change.

At the beginning of the book, I was stumbling around as much as Thomas-- becoming acquainted with the characters, trying to get used to the annoying slang, getting a feel for this world that author James Dashner has created and put me in the middle of. It didn't take long for me to get my bearings and start becoming fascinated with this strange new land. What on earth were these young boys doing in the middle of a gigantic maze patrolled by monstrous creatures? It had to be some sort of test...but why? To what purpose?

I knew when I picked up The Maze Runner that it was the first book in a trilogy, so I was not surprised or angered by the cliffhanger ending. Multi-volume Young Adult series seem to be the order of the day.

Dashner has created a very interesting world for his characters, and it will be very interesting indeed to follow this story in the next two books. The only thing that annoyed me as I read was the slang that the boys spoke. I didn't find it difficult to decipher, and it's probably just a sign of my age, since I find the speech patterns of many tweens and teens irritating!

If you like reading about a world in which something has gone very wrong and about characters who are trying to fight their way out of it, you will enjoy The Maze Runner. It won't take long for you to realize that Thomas and the others aren't the only ones trying to solve the puzzle of the labyrinth...so are you.

*Review copy provided by the Amazon Vine program.


  1. I just love dystopian fiction. I have read The Hunger Games, The Knife of Never Letting Go and Uglies. I just can't get enough of these types of books, so this one will definitely be one for me.

  2. This book really sounds as though it's got an intriguing plot! Books like that are the kind you can't put down...

  3. I've seen several review of this today and I'm definitely taken in.

  4. You say I'll like it if I like books about 'a world in which something has gone wrong.' This sounds like a whole new world. I'm not sure if it's for me but I have a granddaughter that would be interested. I'll share you ideas with her.

  5. It almost sounds something like The House of Stairs. I'm going to have to look for this one!

  6. I liked this one a great deal (though I have to admit to finding the boys' potty slang a bit eye-roll-inducing in the beginning). I loved how little I knew in the beginning and how my mind was racing to keep up with Thomas. The pace of the revelations was really perfect for my reading habits.

    I really enjoyed your review. I've linked to it here.

  7. I just got this book - it sounds good, but I think Carl would enjoy it more than I would.

  8. I'm not big on dystopian novels but this one does sound like a good read. I'm not sure if I'll pick it up or not, still on the fence about it, mainly because I find such reads just a little too intense usually.

  9. I do like these kinds of premises so I imagine I'll be reading this someday ... along with "The Hunger Games" that has everyone so gaga!

  10. Ugh, I hate annoying slang in stories. It always pulls me out of the story. This sounds amazingly neat though! However, I'll probably wait for more of the books to come out since I hate cliffhangers.

  11. Vivienne--It's always good to meet another dystopian fan!

    Margot--Dashner did an excellent job of keeping the carrot in front of my nose just out of reach, and that made the book very difficult to put down.


    Margot--If she reads it, I'll be very interested in knowing her thoughts about the book.

    Jeane--Now I'm going to have to look up The House of Stairs!

    Lana-- I agree. The pacing was perfect.

    Kathy-- Something tells me that he would, too.

    Belle-- Parts of this book are a bit intense, so I'd probably hold off on it if I were you. It's not as if you can't find alternative reading! :)

    Jenners-- The Hunger Games intrigues me, too. People have been salivating over it so much that I purposely haven't made a move to read it.

    Jenn-- Actually that's an excellent plan. I didn't get hooked on Harry Potter until book five, so by the time I'd caught up, the next book was out. Starting a series after several books have already been published is a good thing if you get hooked!

  12. Sounds good! I've read a couple of the author's other books and enjoyed them...sounds like I need to add this to the wish list.

  13. Kris-- I haven't read any of his other books, and your comment makes me think I should change that!

  14. Cathy - I've read his The 13th Reality series, I believe there are only 2 so far, and have enjoyed them both. I keep wanting to read his other books, but always forget when I go to the store. haha


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