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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
11,303
The Maze Runner (Book 1)
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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 December 10, 2015
Most sets only have the 1st 3 books, it's nice this set has all 4 books. However this is NOT a Boxed set . This is a set of 4 books that are shrink wrapped together with a paper wrapper around the ends & back. It is not in a box, so the books are loose when the wrap is removed.
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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 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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on January 20, 2018
Showed up in great shape! Got these for my daughter who is in middle school. I used to teach middle school. She is starting with Prequels 1st (Kill Order then Fever Code, the Maze Runner series). I have two recommendations. First, make sure the reader is mature enough for the content (parents may need to read reviews prior and make that call for themselves). Second, make sure the reader is at an appropriate reading level so comprehension accompanies the story. Previous students of mine that enjoyed the series and prequel books were all very neat grade level or above and remained engaged with the series. Those well below grade level attempted to read the first book, but either would not finish or not move pas the first book. A well written series that keeps kids engaged in reading.
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on May 3, 2018
Contains very mild spoiler, at the very end. Zero spoilers if you watched movies.

I read the Series chronologically because I watched movies first and thought would be good idea to start with completely new source material. As it turned out, everything was new source material but that's different story altogether. :)

Anyway... 'Kill Order' proved to be strangely anticlimactic. General storyline is interesting enough but writing style is very sloppy at best. Author is not in full command of his characters (unlike the characters from original trilogy). Pacing is uneven and overall text is plagued by expositions, annoying, repeated instructions to reader what he or she should think and feel and better part of the story feels somehow disjointed. 'Kill Order' leaves the impression of a draft, two to three versions and good editing away from final novel. It made me suspicious toward quality of original trilogy and wonder how it gained all that traction.

Quality of the 'Fever Code' is immeasurably superior to 'Kill Order'. Storyline is good, if a bit drawn-out at times. Occasional exposition still pops up here and there but virtually non-existent compared to first prequel. Author is obviously familiar with both characters and general storyline. There are minor inconsistencies with original trilogy but I'm really nitpicking now. I'd say 'Fever Code' is only one version away from really good novel.

The original trilogy (Maze Runner, Scorch Trials and Death Cure) is downright excellent. (Hence four stars.) Well written, strong narrative, well developed characters, distinctive voices, excellent world building. Story gripped me instantaneously and I basically put everything on back burner until I inhaled all three novels. Minor complaint goes toward keeping readers and characters in the dark as at times unnecessarily protracted. Another complaint goes towards disturbing ease with which Tomas switches from Teresa to Brenda, especially at the end. It feels neither genuine nor organic. The rest is just excellent story well told.

Let me just finish with a bit of dry humor - it is strangely comforting to know bacon and eggs will be readily available even after the apocalypse. :)
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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 August 13, 2015
The Maze Runner? (Rolls eyes so hard she can see her brain) Meh, it was forgettable...and aggravating! In fact, I can distinctly remember the day-to-day struggle I had with the book! Days where I would dread the fact that I had to pick up The Maze Runner and suffer reading through the endless chapters that give you no answers, no purpose to The Maze, no clear objective, annoying and pointless characters that you feel no connection to, and hopelessness.

Hmm, okay, have you ever played Monkey in the Middle? Well, imagine you are the monkey in the middle, you have Thomas (the lead character) on one end, and James Dashner (the author) on the other end. Okay, now imagine James Dashner holding a mysterious black velvet drawstring which holds all the answers you are dying to get your hands on. Okay, now picture Thomas and Dashner cackling as they toss the drawstring back and forth over your head. At first, you chuckle and say something like, "Oh, come on guys," then 30 chapters later, while they continue to play their silly game, you give up on the attempt to intercept the drawstring, and crossing your arms you say something like, "Okay, this is getting really annoying."

Finally, after 60 chapters, you decide to walk up to Dashner and rashly kick him right on the chin and you shout, "ENOUGH!" And in your disgraceful moment of defeat and frustration, Dashner "thoughtfully" hands over the black velvet drawstring, so as to say, "All right, I'm sorry." You gasp, and then squeal, AT LAST! YOU HAVE THE ANSWERS! You fall to your knees and madly begin to open up the black velvet drawstring, "This is it! This is it!" you exclaim to yourself, only to uncover....complete and utter darkness; yep, nothing. The bag was empty the entire time.

Then, as your gaze moves steadily up at Dashner, you take notice that he is frowning, and smiling, and laughing all while staring at Thomas, who is responding in the same manner. And then it hits you, they are able to converse telepathically! What in the world!? Argh!

So you get up, take a deep breath, sweep whatever Dashner dust-bunnies have settled onto your jeans and shoulders, and begin to walk away from their wicked scheme; who needs those guys anyway? Rude! But just as you are storming off, Dashner runs up to you, laughing irritatingly while trying to catch his breath and says, "Okay, okay," his arms up in surrender, "I'm done, here take this, you'll want to read this," and just like that, he walks over to Thomas (who is laughing hysterically by the way), they pat themselves on the back, as to congratulate each other, and they walk away.

You shake your head in utter confusion and look down at the single sheet of paper resting on the palm of your hand, you unfold it, it's an epilogue. The best darn thing Dashner wrote in the entire book!
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on October 26, 2016
First I would like to say I love James Dashner and the maze runner series. This specific entry into the series was not my favorite, although it did keep me glued to the pages and wanting more. The things that bothered me the most were the repetition of the conflict scenes between the multiple antagonist and the main character. It was the exact same to many times. In fact I believe even the character mentions "this is happening again?" many times. Still 3 stars though cause I like the story of how the things in maze runner came to be. For real fans of series only IMO
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on December 16, 2017
I didn't feel this was written nearly as well as the first Maze Runner series. The thing that bothered me was there seemed to be too many places where the author had the characters do something uncharacteristically/inexplicably stupid/clumsy/thoughtless etc. to drive the plot along or create suspense. After awhile I could see it coming a mile away (he's going to fall down. he's going to forget the thing. he's going to lose the other thing. they're going to leave the door open. he's going to stand and stare too long. etc.). Seemed to lack some of the character depth of the Maze Runner books as well. I had to make myself finish it because I wanted to know the back-story for the Maze Runner books. It was kind of a slog. Not the worst book I've ever read but I'm glad I'm done with it. Hope Fever Code is better.
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