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The Maze Runner (Book 1) Paperback – August 24, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–10—Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in "the glade" for two years, trying to find a way to escape through a maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change. There are some great, fast-paced action scenes, particularly those involving the nightmarish Grievers who plague the boys. Thomas is a likable protagonist who uses the information available to him and his relationships (including his ties to the girl, Teresa) to lead the Gladers. Unfortunately, the question of whether the teens will escape the maze is answered 30 pages before the book ends, and the intervening chapter loses momentum. The epilogue, which would be deliciously creepy coming immediately after the plot resolves, fails to pack a punch as a result. That said, 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.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH END --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Praise for the Maze Runner series:
 
A #1 New York Times Bestselling Series
A USA Today Bestseller
A Book Sense Bestseller
An Indie Next List Selection
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year
An ALA-YASLA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
An ALA-YALSA Quick Pick
 
"[A] mysterious survival saga that passionate fans describe as a fusion of Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and Lost."—EW.com
 
“Wonderful action-writing—fast-paced…but smart and well observed.”—Newsday

“[A] nail-biting must-read.”—Seventeen.com

“Breathless, cinematic action.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Heart pounding to the very last moment.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Exclamation-worthy.”—Romantic Times
 
* “James Dashner’s illuminating prequel [The Kill Order] will thrill fans of this Maze Runner [series] and prove just as exciting for readers new to the series.”—Shelf Awareness, Starred
 
“Take a deep breath before you start any James Dashner book.”—Deseret News
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Maze Runner Series (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 375 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; Reprint edition (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385737955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385737951
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6,641 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Dashner is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series that includes The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order. He has also written The Eye of Minds (book one in the Mortality Doctrine series), the 13th Reality series, and two books in The Infinity Ring series: A Mutiny in Time and The Iron Empire.

Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. To learn more about James and his books, visit JamesDashner.com, follow @jamesdashner on Twitter, or find dashnerjames on Instagram.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#48 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#2 in Books > Teens
#48 in Books
#73 in Kindle eBooks
#2 in Books > Teens
#48 in Books
#73 in Kindle eBooks

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

503 of 574 people found the following review helpful By Jarucia Jaycox VINE VOICE on August 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I first heard about this book at an SCWBWI conference where its editor from Delacorte spoke highly of how it grabbed her attention right away.

I have to agree. The one thing that Dashner does right from start to finish is barely provide enough information to answer the questions that form in the reader's mind BUT what information he gives does promote one to keep reading.

Curiosity drove me to read this book straight through...that and the fact that the writing wasn't all that challenging.

I'm not trying to bag on Dashner, but I was a little surprised at the many passed-on opportunities he had to draw me further into the story or even care more about the characters' fates .

I felt consistently disappointed with what I was offered of Thomas's character -- far too sulky and desirous of screaming at people who can hardly offer him the answers, etc. he's so desperate for. And Teresa, for as important as she's made out to be, is so flat. I think it was well within the author's scope to improve the depth of these characters considering the decent job he did on secondary characters like Chuck and Minho.

By the time I reached the end, I all but rolled my eyes. I felt roughly the same as I did when I finished watching 'The Cube'...interesting story, but what was the point of putting the characters through all that? Especially when the characters themselves hardly spend any real time trying to understand their situation. And this latter part actually seems quite critical to the purpose of the situation they're in.

Okay, I know this is meant to be YA but it certainly had room to grow in the 'thought provoking' department. It's a decent and entertaining story, but will it become the topic of critical academic discussion? Not likely.

It's far too light in depth and development as it stands. Perhaps the eventual trilogy as a whole will provide something 'more'.
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Format: Paperback
This is a full analysis of the book, full spoilers included. You have been warned.

[ALSO, if you choose to downvote my review saying it wasn't helpful, please tell me why in the comments. I welcome everyone's thoughts and opinions, but if you downvote a review of this size without commenting I will be under the assumption you simply downvote all negative reviews.]

The story itself was interesting enough for the most part, but the pace was painfully slow and Dashner committed a few things you are not supposed to do in fictional writing, ever. I'm talking newbie mistakes here.

The second largest thing that Dashner violated was the Show, Don't Tell rule. He almost assuredly does not understand this, as a lot of his descriptions are flatly told instead of explained. "Thomas felt sad." "Thomas snapped." Dashner does not do a good job showing us his world or his characters, instead just telling us how things are. This interweaves with my next points a bit and is explained in greater detail later.

For my second point, marking the biggest mistake Dashner did with this story, he began the book with the White Room Syndrome. Much like the Show, Don't Tell rule, this is one thing that almost all writers know very deeply - do not start your story off with the white room syndrome.

The white room syndrome is where your character suddenly wakes up in a completely unfamiliar setting and knows nothing about anything - his past, his name, people he knew, etc... This is cheap because it allows you to dodge any sort of actual development in the world, its characters or the relationships that the characters have. This book in particular suffered a lot because Dashner decided to go this way.
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175 of 215 people found the following review helpful By Bookgirl on October 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
After completing the Hunger Games trilogy, I was eager for another great YA dystopian read but did not find it in The Maze Runner. I was initially intrigued by the book's description. I knew there would be boys caught in a maze, with their memories wiped and little hope for escape, and I knew that the appearance of a girl on the scene would change everything. Mazes, games, riddles, and other sorts of non-traditional mysteries attract me, but Dashner's execution of his book did not.

The plot was ill-paced. At times it felt slow, because Dashner introduced the reader to the maze in the same way the main character, Thomas, was introduced to it: both the reader and Thomas learn almost everything through numerous secondary explanations by characters. In more skilled hands, this might be an effective way of immersing a reader in a fictional world. Dashner's exposition, however, felt cumbersome. As a reader, if I'm going to be told about a world rather than shown it, I'd better be told well. When I wasn't slogging through Dashner's writing, I was tumbling head-over-heels down its textual cliffs. Parts of the novel simply moved too quickly for any real character or plot development to occur. Readers are barely introduced to the main protagonist before being introduced to Teresa, the girl who supposedly changes everything. We really have very little sense for what's changing, because this inciting action comes so shortly after our encounter with Thomas.

The plot also felt as if it had been constructed with little forethought. Each step or twist in the plot seemed as if it were generated on the spot as the author wrote his way linearly through this novel. Shazam! Such and such happens out of the blue. A quick patch-up of missing explanation ensues. Shazam!
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