Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book Review - The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Year: 2009
Page: 374
Genre: Fiction - Young Adult, Dystopian

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Yes
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? US
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is black. 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 expanse enclosed 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, for as long as they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark. The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl springs up—the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might be able to find their way home . . . wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.
And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers—if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

First Sentence:
He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air.
Why did I pick this book?
Before this year, I have hardly read any dystopian / speculative novels, but once I started, I really enjoyed this genre. I like reading the different potential scenarios of what our world could be like. I have read a few reviews on The Maze Runner, and A Good Addiction's review persuaded me to read it!

My thoughts:
  • What, NOT ANOTHER SERIES! Yes this is Book 1 of 3, again... Book 2, The Scorch Trials, is coming out this October... Book 3 is called The Death Cure.
  • Having said that, I did like how this book ended. Yes it's a cliffhanger so you will have to wait until the next book to find out what happens next, but it sounded like it'd be a different journey than the one in the maze. So, while not all questions were answered, but it was a good hook that something bigger and worse (?) may happen.
  • I liked the premise of the book, and I liked the different twists, though everything fit a bit too nicely together - funny thing was, even some of the characters in the book thought so, that everything all had to do with Thomas.
  • I liked the significance of the names, Alby, Newt, Thomas, Chuck etc (I won't tell you why, but it was explained later in the book, and it was quite clever!)
  • Some compared this to The Lord of the Flies (I haven't read) and The Hunger Games. I still like the Hunger Games better - I think it was her writing. I also think a bit of editing would have helped with The Maze Runner, as some points were told repeatedly in the story that got a little annoying, and I am not so sure about the "gift" shared between Thomas and Teresa. Maybe it plays a more important role in Book 2, but now it just seemed a bit unnecessary.
  • The beginning of this book actually reminded me a bit of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (which I couldn't finish - see review here)
  • Unlike The Hunger Games though, I don't feel as attached to the characters in this book. I want to see what happens next, to find out the plot twist, but not so much as to what happens to the characters...
  • I think the cover represents the book quite well. 
  • Interesting note - the author was an accountant before he turned into a full time writer! He set a goal to be a full time writer in 5 years, and he did, right on the dot. So good on him!


    "I remember remembering," she muttered, sitting down with a heavy sigh; she pulled her legs up to wrap her arms around her knees. "Feelings. Emotions. Like I have all these shelves in my head, labeled for memories and faces, but they're empty. As if everything before this is just on the other side of a white curtain. Including you." (p234)

    Rating: 4 Stars

    Have you read this book? 
    If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!

    100+ Reading
    Young Adult


    1. I agree with you - the bit with the significance of the names was very clever!

    2. Thank you for pointing out that you didn't love the characters as much as Hunger Games. That helps me put the characters in perspective.

    3. @rhapsodyinbooks - Yes I totally didn't notice it until it was explained! I did think it was a bit weird that others seemed to have unusual names except Thomas (and Chuck I suppose).

      @Juju - I definitely care more about Katniss and co. more - even the minor characters in the Hunger Games like Cinna, made a great impression. Not to say the characters in this book is bad... just not as well developed.

    4. Uglies was my first try to the dystopian genre, I can see why very popular, but not my cup of tea.

      I am willing to try Hunger Games though.

      Great review, this one was on my Wishlist but i'm thinking this genre is a no go for me.

    5. @Marce - if you want to give dystopian a try, definitely go with The Hunger Games. I WON a free copy of that book a year ago, and kept putting it off for one reason or another, and wish I didn't! Though the great thing was that Book 2 was already out by the time I read it, so I didn't have to wait too long! And now, just till August for Book 3! Hunger Games have great characters and a strong plot, and the writing is clear without fuss (I can't stand slow paced books lol). Uglies I think was my first try too - I liked it fine, but I haven't liked it enough to read Book 2 yet (but probably will at some point).

    6. I love dystopian, so I will give this one a try! Thanks for the review. I like it that this is part of a trilogy!

    7. @Aths - I think this is worth a try. I really like the concept and can't wait to see what twists lie ahead in book 2. Can't wait to read what you think!

    8. Joining this conversation late, but I just finished this book based upon your recommendation on my blog ages ago!

      Anyhow..I did like this book! I liked the story- I wanted to know the significance of the maze, what a Greiver was, why those kids were there, etc.

      But, as you said, I didn't connect with the characters like I did in the Hunger Games. I was really invested in the survival of Kitness and Peeta and the rest of the characters. Here, I wanted Tom and Chuck to live- but the rest? Didn't really care one way or another.

      That said, I did order Book 2 from the library and should hopefully get it soon. The "memo" at the end of this book hooked me- love the thought of an experiment within an experiment. Have you read it yet?