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The Maze Runner (Book 1) Paperback – August 24, 2010
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Praise for the Maze Runner series:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling Series
A USA Today Bestseller
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
[STAR] “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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Top customer reviews
At the very end of the book the small pack of battle survivors discovers one written memo which describes the world government leaders coming together to release the virus as a form of population control in order to conserve resources...yet probably 90% or more of the population had been wiped out by the sun flares and the survivors were existing just fine in separate small settlements and not stealing or bothering anyone else so the idea of the virus being released for population control by the collective world governments was really not believable. If a group of militia had released it to further wipe out the human race and keep all remaining resources for themselves, I could have bought that. Even Alien invasion or mad scientists would have been more believable.
The characters were completely different and all...with the exception of maybe Alec,...were, in my opinion, forgettable. The original characters from the first 3 books were well developed and memorable which made the books so engaging. I'd hoped that the original characters would have been woven into the prequel to tell the tale of how the past brought forth these characters but there was only a short mention of them in the very beginning. The book focused so much on the survival battles that you got to know very little about these new characters themselves and my heart didn't break when any of them died. You know Mark and Trina were friends and neighbors before the flares and Mark has the uncanny ability to dream in sequential order but aside from that, not much depth to either. You know that Alec and Lana were ex-military and severed together but nothing more about them or their relationship. So much was focused on fight after fight after fight with a lot of repeated dialogue and not enough time spent developing these characters that you're only going to have appear in one book.
Then all the really unbelievable moments,...like how many times can Mark hang out of a window with an infected clinging to him...not to mention from a fast moving air ship....and never fall or get ripped off by the wind/weight...and hanging by his feet??? I think not. And, how can we find it believable that a crazed infected who doesn't even know their own name can grab a highly sophisticated vaporizing weapon and figure out how to use it within seconds when Alec had to teach Mark how to use it? Even the story of their NY struggles and escape following the sun flares also could have been told in a much better way than sequential dreams by one character...seriously, Mark dreamt one episode a night until the whole story was told...? There were times that it became so hokey that I was actually rolling my eyes and yelling at the CD player! Sad but true...
All in all, I found the book to be well written and narrated in general but found the storyline boring and frustrating with the exception of the first and last chapter and a couple of moments in between. I could have easily skipped this one and one on to book 5 (which I'm already into) and have never missed a thing.
I downloaded the complete collection and read all the books at once. Each book picks up right where the last one left off, so there is not much repetition when you read one right after the next. I definitely thought the first book (The Maze Runner) was the most enjoyable. While there was plenty of action, the characters seemed to do the most thinking in this book. The pacing was pretty good, revealing little bits at a time--enough that you felt it was moving and that there'd be some resolution at the end of it.
The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure shed more light on the mystery of the maze, as well as what life is like in the real world. Dashner did a great job creating a really creepy and scary feeling of life outside of the maze, making some characters almost wish they were back there. There were a lot of very suspenseful scenes, however, I thought there was too much action. It seemed they just kept running from one fight to the next and it got tiresome. I know this book is really targeted to a younger audience, so that might not be a problem for them.
The fourth book was not what I expected at all. I was hoping for more of the story of Thomas and Teresa before the maze. The Kill Order, however, is set several years before Thomas and Teresa ever enter the picture. Instead, it describes how the world got to the state it did. Again I thought there was too much running around and not enough information on why things happened. I don't want to give anything away, but I felt the motivation of those in charge left me with many questions.
I would recommend to anyone who likes sci-fi with a lot of action.