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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
11,272
The Maze Runner (Book 1)
Format: Paperback|Change
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on October 13, 2016
I have really struggled with this review as I wanted SO badly to love this book as I did the first three in the series...but just couldn't! Of course it was well written and the narration was once again excellent but the story completely fell short...for me at least. Having read and LOVED all of the first 3 books in the Maze Runner series, I was hoping that this prequel would provide answers...how, why, when...but I got nothing but chapter after chapter after chapter of survival fight moments that were, at best, repetitive. I felt like very little thought went into this prequel and much of the book revolves around survival battles rather than painting a picture of what caused the sun flares and a believable reason as to why the flare virus was released.
***SPOILERS***
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.
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on October 15, 2016
I just couldn't get through this book. I LOVED the Maze Runner series and couldn't wait to get started on this one, but after struggling through the first 100 pages, I gave up. It's not that the book is badly written or that the story is bad. It's just that I picked this up expecting it to shed some light on the events in the Maze Runner trilogy and the only elements it has in common to those books are the Flare and the Cranks. None of the characters from TMR are in it. After I realized this, I lost interest. That being said, I can't wait to read "The Fever Code" which is the REAL Maze Runner prequel that just came out! This wouldn't be a bad read if you went into it not expecting anything from it, but if you're looking for an extension of the Maze Runner trilogy, don't waste your time.
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on June 6, 2017
I got this book shortly after having watched the first film. The movie really drew me in and I had to have it. Now, altogether, I think I like the film much better than the book, but the novel has its merits too without a doubt.

I see a lot of reviews talking about how the characters were without personality, boring, unreadable, flat. In some ways I do understand the frustration. At times it's near impossible to read what is going on exactly, BUT I think I've found purpose to what so many deem madness. I mean, these are kids who woke up in a strange place with no memory of who they are, where they came from. To top it all off, they're trapped in a maze crawling with monsters at night. And no matter how much they try to escape, they can't. They have lived in a place with no idea of what they were, who they were supposed to be, or what they ARE supposed to be now. For me, it would only make sense for a stagnant environment to produce stagnation in the people occupying it. I know that may be reaching a little bit - but it's what has helped me to manage through the book with a peaked interest.

I couldn't put the novel down. Overall, I find the concept of the story good. And despite the blank slates of many characters, they are still fairly likable (except for Alby. Book Alby worked my absolute last nerve. He was a complete 360 from his movie self and I have never hated a character so much so quickly. I disliked him more than Gally >:( ). All in all, the movie made me want to dive directly into The Scorch Trials, so it definitely did something right. Honestly, I think the biggest issue that most people can agree with is the lack of personality in the characters. But in my perspective, I can kind of make it work in my head! I look forward to continuing these books.
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on April 3, 2016
The Maze Runner series was strong only because the characters were interesting. Those characters are not present in this book. This book adds almost nothing to the backstory behind another tired plot about the world being turned over the teakettle and becoming inhabited by zombies. It's as if he wrote a backstory to the non-story part of the story. If he really wants to make more cash, he could spend a dozen books worth of pages telling the bios of Newt and Thomas and Minho and Gally (not the girls, they were two-dimensional wastes of ink in the first place) or the inside workings of the people who built WICKED. Dr. Page's bio would be an interesting read. Generally, if it's interesting, it will be somewhere other than this book.
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on June 30, 2015
*WARNING: I DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU TO START READING THIS SERIES, HERE'S WHY:*

This review will encounter the whole series, but the stars are for the actual book.

Ok, here's the thing: I LOVED THE FIRST BOOK. It was such a mystery: Thomas wakes up in a terrible state in a black box, terrified and confused, experiencing how his memory has been wiped out; he has a lot of references, but the references leads up to nothing. Out of the box, he discover a young boys community within a giant maze. The goal: how to get out of there. I thought through the whole first book "how clever, how imaginative".The ending and the solution was a bit questionable (i would maybe have imagined another solution?), but still good, and after reading the ending, you're like "I HAVE TO READ THE SEQUELS".

BUT it was such a disappointment when I discovered that the sequels did not live up to the first book's standards. It all got too much, too crazy. It felt like the author was running loose, forgetting about the cleverness, and just adding everything he could think of. I found myself not enjoying the books after a while, just reading it because I bought the whole series and felt obliged because of an excellent first book and because i wanted to know why all this happened. I read the prequel last, and it was actually better than the second and third book, but not as good as the first, so I ended my reading of The Maze Runner series on a better note than I thought I would after reading the other prequels.

The books will leave you with some haunting, sick and creepy scenes I would rather not think of, and a horror of what might actually happen if the world actually encountered a big catastrophe, what would happen to the humanity: will what's seen upon as human to day, disappear to the "survival of the fittest"? At last I was left with: "what on earth did I just read?"

I can not figure out if I regret reading the series or not. Fortunately, the decision of reading these books are up to you; is it worth it or not?

The series' score: 3/5
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(3.5)
If you’ve been around my blog for a bit, you know I have a soft spot for YA dystopian novels. I’ve been wanting to read The Maze Runner since I first saw the preview of the movie. I refused to see the movie though, until I read the book, so I figured it was about time. Especially after my roommate read the whole series in about a week and the book is $1.99 on Amazon. Nothing to lose right?

This is very much a book for the intended YA audience. I don’t mean that in a negative way at all either. The style, the verbiage…while I don’t read a ton of YA, this is one of the first I felt was suited mainly for the age group, whereas I think Hunger Games and Potter reach beyond their intended market. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, although there were a few things that irritated me (like how people initially treated Thomas), but I could notice the difference. The plot was a mix of Lord of the Flies (I blame that one the fact that all I remember about that book is there’s a group of young boys surviving in a jungle, a total jerk and a sad ending of Piggy), rather gruesome deaths, an apocalyptic world, mystery of the Creators and toss on a scoop of the Dharma initiative.

There were some parts of the plot I figured out or expected and other twists I didn’t see coming. Yet, the twists and still elusive overall plot are enough for me to pick up the rest of the series, especially after reading the epilogue. Who are these people?! If you follow my blog, this might be a good point of reference: I’m much more interested in finishing this series than Divergent.

I have the movie waiting for me and am looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. While no Hunger Games, if you enjoy YA dystopian, I think this will fit the bill of a quick and enjoyable read.

Have you read this series or seen the movies? What are your thoughts on it?

Originally posted at http://booksandbeverages.org/2015/04/23/the-maze-runner-by-james-dashner-book-review/
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on April 11, 2015
Just ripped through Kill Order and Maze Runner and I believe the story line is a fresh approach to the apocalypse genre, sans zombies. I realize that this story was written YA but I read all of Brian Jacques's Redwall series (also YA) and enjoyed them immensely. That being said, the story left a lot to be desired. To begin with the sequel did not seem to sinc with the rest of the trilogy. Thomas the main character could have been fleshed out better in the prequel as well as Teresa he life long friend. How the apocalypse came about was well explained but dropped the characters in to Maze Runner abruptly with out any memory leaving to many questions to be answered. The maze itself was understood to be a test but the author in his haste did little to set the scene for the story like how the occupants decided to set up and run themselves in such an orderly fashion (food, housing etc.) instead of "Lord of the Flys" existence, they were kids after all. You are given a hint in the prequel about who built the thing but nothing to help understand why the the "Cube" type of entry, sans memory, the maze, or the purpose of the test or why there were monsters thrown in with them when none were mentioned as part of their lives prior to entry to the maze. Also one of the peripheral characters Minho seemed to steal the spotlight from Thomas all the way through the book making it seem he should be the lead character. All in all I feel the writer needs more time to hone his skills before he will become a noted author.
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on June 29, 2015
this book was so hyped up over the years that I guess I was left with pretty high expectations that were unfortunately not met. The writing style was just not for me. It was extremely repetitive at times, especially the beginning (which is where good writing SHOULD be in my opinion, because how else are you supposed to hook your readers?). The amount of times 'Thomas could have screamed in frustration' almost left ME wanting to scream in frustration...

Obviously there is a huge mystery element in the story, and the answers don't get revealed till nearly the end. Finding out these answers is the only thing that kept me reading, because it certainly wasn't for the characters. None of them are really fleshed out, not even the main character. We get that he wants to do the right thing, which is great, but no one really stands out as terribly different with unique character traits.

I'm sure by this point everyone has a vague notion of what the plot is, but here is your basic description: Thomas is dropped into a maze, and has no memories of the past. After him, a girl arrives- the only girl to ever be dropped into the maze. There are many questions and rarely any answers. If you can stick it out to the end, you'll find your dystopian answers in one long exposition chapter. [taken from my review at Goodreads]
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on February 12, 2015
An Adventurous Story that will keep you Reading!

The Maze Runner has been recommended by tons of my friends, and I have been wanting to see the movie ever since I have heard about it. What has also interested me was the other book the author James Dasher wrote, which was the Eye of Minds. I really enjoyed that book, and I enjoyed this one just as much. It is full of adventure, mystery, and science technology. All of my favorite things in one! All of the mystery keeps you turning the page, and the adventure keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Thomas is just a 16 year old boy, who has been thrown into this huge place, and he has no idea what has happened to him. He has completely lost his memory, but he only knows his name. When he gets to this mysterious place, only one person befriends him, which is Chuck. Chuck is younger than Thomas, but he knows a lot more and has seen a lot more. After a couple of days and weeks, Thomas gets the hang of everything, and kind of knows what goes on around the place. He learned that what he lives in now, is called the Glade, and what is surrounding him is called the Maze. He has also learned that Runners go out in the Maze, and face whatever is out there. Thomas has had the feeling that he needs to be a Runner, and that he needs to go out in the Maze since the beginning. Do you think that Thomas can face the Maze?

I absolutely loved this book! My favorite genres are adventure, and mystery, and this has plenty of it! I think I finished this book in less than a couple of days because I needed to know what would happen next. I think James Dasher is my new favorite author because of his amazing writing skills and his adventure filled books!
Written by Carmen, 7th grade
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on September 21, 2015
As a book, The Maze Runner ends up a mixed bag. It's an intriguing story that ends on a cliff-hanger with very little reveal; I'm writing this review after reading Book 2: The Scorch Trials, and (SPOILER ALERT) there still isn't much backstory revealed at the end of Book 2. In some ways, the books are a frustrating read. There's plenty of action with an original idea: A group of boys (and one girl) living in a community (the Glade) surrounded by a maze that shifts from day to day, with doors that close at night as man-made monsters (Grievers) crawl through the corridors and prey on any Gladers caught outside the doors. None of them has any memory of life before the Glade. Who put them there, and for what purpose?

As I say, the premise is intriguing and it hooked me. The story moves quickly enough; it skimps a bit on character development, but this is a series; we can expect characters to be fleshed out later. The problem is the execution. Dashner has a tendency to throw in a sentence that looks back at the last sentence and simply rewrites it (think of it as a "yeah, what he said" sentence). Paragraphs end up saying less than they could have said with some tighter editing. I found myself skimming through portions (something I rarely do) because, well, I wasn't really missing anything new. And, frankly, by the end of the second book, I think I ought to know far more of what's really going on than the book gives. I've put in the effort; I want the payoff.

The YA dystopian category has some books that will be classics (The Hunger Games trilogy) and some that will make their authors money. I don't expect The Maze Runner to be one of the classics, but time will tell. That said, I think there's a place for the series as an undemanding thriller for those times when you want nothing more than that.
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