The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner

There are alternate cover editions for this ASIN here and here.If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing ma...

Title:The Maze Runner
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0385737947
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:384 pages

The Maze Runner Reviews

  • Tatiana
    Oct 10, 2009

    This book would have been great IF:

    1) the characters had some personality

    2) the main character - Thomas - weren't such a Gary Stu and showed some character development and growth instead of conveniently "remembering" important information to advance the plot

    3) the book weren't filled with atrocious made-up slang - "shuck-face," really, is this supposed to be cool?

    4) the villains - Grievers - were actually scary or dangerous

    5) the maze had some kind of mystery about it and not limited to moving w

    This book would have been great IF:

    1) the characters had some personality

    2) the main character - Thomas - weren't such a Gary Stu and showed some character development and growth instead of conveniently "remembering" important information to advance the plot

    3) the book weren't filled with atrocious made-up slang - "shuck-face," really, is this supposed to be cool?

    4) the villains - Grievers - were actually scary or dangerous

    5) the maze had some kind of mystery about it and not limited to moving walls and un-threatening prickly Grievers

    6) the plot weren't based on constant withholding of information by everyone and releasing it 200 pages later than it should have been

    7) the smartest of the smartest kids actually did something smart and uncovered some mysteries of the maze during the 2 years spent there

    8) the death of main characters evoked any feeling in readers

    9) the book weren't so slow-moving (thanks to constant withholding of info) and BORING!

    In the present form "The Maze Runner" deserves nothing more than an OK rating for moderately interesting premise. The hype and comparisons to "The Hunger Games" are unwarranted.

  • Izzy
    Mar 04, 2010

    This book was recommended for fans of the Hunger Games series, a series that has become one of my favorites. I began The Maze Runner excitedly, hoping for an equally enjoyable, dystopian adventure. I didn't find it.

    The plot was intriguing and kept me reading; in fact, it was probably the

    reason why I kept reading. Some writers are able to seamlessly integrate characterization and good writing with a fast-moving plot; James Dashner is not one of them. The pacing is strange, and Dashner's use

    This book was recommended for fans of the Hunger Games series, a series that has become one of my favorites. I began The Maze Runner excitedly, hoping for an equally enjoyable, dystopian adventure. I didn't find it.

    The plot was intriguing and kept me reading; in fact, it was probably the

    reason why I kept reading. Some writers are able to seamlessly integrate characterization and good writing with a fast-moving plot; James Dashner is not one of them. The pacing is strange, and Dashner's use of cliches became very irritating.

    The main character, Thomas, was annoying. Rather than allowing his readers to

    what Thomas feels, Dashner chooses to

    . We are told many times how "frustrated" and "confused" Thomas is, but we can't identify with him. Some of the supporting characters, such as Minho and Newt, could be interesting, but they remain secondary to Thomas. In addition, I was frustrated with the character Teresa. Teresa is the only female main character; instead of making her an intriguing, powerful female, she is christened with flimsy adjectives such as "very pretty" and "smart", becoming yet another 1-dimensional character. I realize that this is a plot-driven story and not a character-driven one, but I would hope that the characters would at least be appealing to the reader.

    Criticism aside, I found the book enjoyable, and the plot kept me hooked. I felt that the epilogue was well-written and I might seek out the rest of the series when it is published. Ultimately, it's unfortunate that Dashner's poor writing takes away from a good story line; in the hands of a writing master, I believe that The Maze Runner could have been something extraordinary.

    2.5/5

    EDIT: More than a year later, I have not procured any other books in the series, nor do I intend to. Personally speaking, this is one series better left alone.

  • Cara
    Oct 17, 2010

    . Oh more like my brain was blown into freaking little bits. I kept thinking about it after I was done. I finished it into the late hours of the night and I kept circling in my head what was going to happen next. The point is moot but I am

    going to read the sequel

    .

    From the start as the reader we have

    idea what is happening. All Thomas can remember is his name. Not where he came from or any specific details of his life. Ne

    . Oh more like my brain was blown into freaking little bits. I kept thinking about it after I was done. I finished it into the late hours of the night and I kept circling in my head what was going to happen next. The point is moot but I am

    going to read the sequel

    .

    From the start as the reader we have

    idea what is happening. All Thomas can remember is his name. Not where he came from or any specific details of his life. Neither do any of the other Gladers who he meets in the beginning of the book. The place is filled with boys whose sole purpose is to try to get out of this place by solving the maze. They haven't had any luck in two years, but that may all change with Thomas's arrival. Strange things start to happen, and people are pointing fingers at Thomas. Will he be the one to get them out, or the boy who will bring them down?

    At first I was having a hard time getting into this book. Nobody wants to answer Thomas's questions, and I got just as frustrated as he did. I actually still don't completely understand why they didn't want to answer all his questions right away. The plot does pick up speed though and you get to meet Newt, Chuck, Minho, and Alby (all important characters in their own right). The world building is good because I got the creeps just

    about the grievers, and I can feel the desperation but at the same time the camaraderie the guys have with each other. There is also a unique language setup that was a tad-bit confusing at first but you pick it up as Thomas does. The ending certainly is gonna give the series a big shakeup. I

    want to see what Dashner has up his sleeve this time.

    I read this because of the good reception it was getting, but also because of a display at Barnes & Nobles. They had all these books that were hugely popular within the young adult realm and I had read all of them except, you guessed it, this one. I couldn't have any of that!

    Great news guys, there are making this into a movie!

    is a link to the little info that is out about the movie. Basically nothing but hopefully in the coming months that will change!

    Okay the

    is out! I am officially excited guys.

  • Emily May
    Dec 22, 2010

    2 1/2 stars.

    It's funny how just a few years can change everything - your reading tastes, your expectations, your standards... because when I read

    in early 2011, I enjoyed it a lot. It seemed fast-paced, exciting and a little scary. Plus, I thought the slang was a nice touch.

    Three years and a million dystopian/sci-fi books later and everything about me has outgrown this book. It's not

    . I can still see why someon

    2 1/2 stars.

    It's funny how just a few years can change everything - your reading tastes, your expectations, your standards... because when I read

    in early 2011, I enjoyed it a lot. It seemed fast-paced, exciting and a little scary. Plus, I thought the slang was a nice touch.

    Three years and a million dystopian/sci-fi books later and everything about me has outgrown this book. It's not

    . I can still see why someone who is new to YA dystopias might get caught up in the loosely-plotted (read: nothing happens) drama and think that "shuck" amounts to a clever invention of a new language. But as I was rereading this before seeing the new movie, I realised just how much it pales in comparison to many others in the genre.

    The thing about this book is that it is so simplistic and... immature, I guess. I'm not here to simply piss off the book's fans - I enjoyed it too, remember! - and I can still see why it might provide some light entertainment. But... the characters and plot are so underdeveloped. The language seems silly now. The scary Grievers no longer seem scary, but cartoon comical instead.

    Dashner uses that tiresome old writing technique called "withholding information" to propel the non-existent plot along. The whole book is built around a single mystery - that of the maze - and our supposedly intelligent-beyond-belief characters keep the novel going by standing around and scratching their heads. It's so lacking in any depth, layers or complexity.

    Comparisons to

    are frankly quite hilarious when you consider Collins' intricate world, complex characters and clever plot... then consider what Dashner offers up next to it. Not to mention that Thomas is an extremely boring, self-sacrificing MC.

    In its defense, though, I was still affected by what happens near the end. I would recommend the book - with some hesitation - for younger readers or those who are new to YA dystopian fiction.

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  • Joe
    Mar 13, 2012

    You know how sometimes you're running really fast from a horrible creature and, in a moment of panic, you turn around to see how close it is only to run straight into a brick wall?

    No?

    I don't know what that's like either.

    But that inattention to detail would probably totally screw you over because

    now you're knocked unconscious and

    the creature is going to devour you. Good job.

    I guess this is kind of like Lot's wife looking back on Sodom only to be turned into a pillar of salt.

    And it is

    You know how sometimes you're running really fast from a horrible creature and, in a moment of panic, you turn around to see how close it is only to run straight into a brick wall?

    No?

    I don't know what that's like either.

    But that inattention to detail would probably totally screw you over because

    now you're knocked unconscious and

    the creature is going to devour you. Good job.

    I guess this is kind of like Lot's wife looking back on Sodom only to be turned into a pillar of salt.

    And it is also kind of like reading

    .

    Stick with me.

    The first half of James Dashner's

    maintains a superbly frantic pace. Thomas, our empty-shell-of-a-protagonist is thrust, via the Box, into a curious and unfriendly world populated by dozens of teenage boys. He remembers nothing, and the boys are uncooperative, refusing to reveal any details regarding their home, the Glade. The Glade is surrounded by stupendously tall walls, outside of which lays the Maze. During the day, the Maze is (kinda sorta) safe. But at night, the Grievers emerge. These are half slug/half woodshop tools that enjoy slicing and dicing apart anyone unfortunate to encounter them. They can also sting you, which causes much mayhem and requires the administering of Grief Serum, which triggers the Changing.

    What Is It With Authors Of Dystopian Novels Capitalizing Really Important Words? It's Annoying. Find A New Stylistic Approach That I Can Later Become Exasperated With.

    Anyway, Thomas' situation is bleak, made bleaker when a number of unfortunate coincidences causes him to bear witness to some truly awful acts of violence. Let's just say one untrustworthy soul is unwittingly tossed into the Maze at night and then a girl (not a boy!!!!!!!!) suspiciously arrives the day after Thomas.

    All of this, despite the Unnecessary Capitalization and the boys using completely pointless terminology like

    and

    , is totally kitty fantastico. The constant psychological mystery keeps nagging doubts at bay and the variety of personalities that populate the Glade is totally believable. They talk like teenagers, they (generally) act like teenagers, and they form cliques and factions the way teenagers would.

    (From here on I'm covering up "spoilers", even though I think they're total nonsense and hilariously awful. And because I advise you

    to read this book, you should click them. Just keeping the haters at bay.)

    Then Thomas

    the Maze.

    And the book falls apart.

    For those of you paying attention, here's where the running into a brick wall metaphor arrives full gale.

    Dashner, whose prose has heretofore been mediocre but serviceable, completely fails his audience. He writes himself into a corner. He knows it,

    know it. Thomas, who has always been slightly unlikeable and jerky becomes even

    unlikeable and jerky, and the plot holes start opening up like the really bad similes peppered throughout the narrative. How does Dashner patch them up?

    Seriously.

    Yup. The girl who mysteriously appeared

    and tells him

    . It doesn't. It just creates a frustrating deus ex machina that

    have been avoided, but isn't.

    As Thomas's character stumbles upon more and more unbelievable clues, like

    the book loses its momentum significantly.

    In fact, despite tearing through the first half of the book, I had to put it down. Afterwards, every time I looked at that stupid green cover, I found myself filled with dread - knowing full well that what remained would irritate me.

    And it did.

    Sometimes when the first book of a trilogy ends on a cliffhanger, I feel compelled to continue. I don't care what happens to Thomas and the rest of the characters. Maybe they'll smoke lots of pot, form a commune, and grow daisies. Maybe they'll turn into Grievers. Maybe they'll run into Katniss and Peeta and become BFFs.

    But I will let you, gentle reader, find that out for yourself.

  • Sparrow
    Mar 15, 2012

    Q: if you could edit this book, what would you take out?

    A: the words.

    . . .

    Have you ever had an eight-year-old kid try to describe to you winning a level of a video game? Have you ever had a middle-aged man try to describe to you completing the games section of the New York Times? Did those experiences involve multiple conversations like this:

    “What is the maze?”

    “Stop asking so many questions!”

    I have to say that this book was more boring than having someone tell you in painful detail about winnin

    Q: if you could edit this book, what would you take out?

    A: the words.

    . . .

    Have you ever had an eight-year-old kid try to describe to you winning a level of a video game? Have you ever had a middle-aged man try to describe to you completing the games section of the New York Times? Did those experiences involve multiple conversations like this:

    “What is the maze?”

    “Stop asking so many questions!”

    I have to say that this book was more boring than having someone tell you in painful detail about winning a video game or finishing a crossword puzzle. It is more boring if only for the constant, "What are you talking about?" "No! I won't tell you!" This book is astonishingly boring. I know that I am predisposed not to like it because there are no female characters (no, I do not count the leggy, blue-eyed girlfriend as a female character), but, really, I ask you: are there any male characters either? If you say, yes, then I challenge you to prove it. Are Mario and Luigi and Princess Toadstool characters in Mario Kart? What about the ducks in Duck Hunt? Are they

    ? We have to draw the line somewhere. And I submit to you that there are no characters in this book. Or, at least, there are fewer characters in this book than there are in Duck Hunt.

    Also, a couple of things that bothered me throughout:

    1. What famous scientist was Minho named after? Okay, I just googled that and apparently Dashner “purposely” named a few characters after scientists who will supposedly exist in the future. Like the only Asian kid in the book. Because there are no Asian scientists today that he could name someone after. *facedesk* And like Zart. Zart and the Asian kid were not named after scientists. *double facedesk*

    2. Why can’t the grievers climb over the wall? They obviously can climb. But not over the wall? Did I miss this? At first I thought the kids were in some kind of dome, but then it seemed like it was just a really tall wall. . . . That it was impossible to climb? WHYYY?????

    3. What purpose does the telepathy serve? None is the answer. It serves no purpose.

    4. Why is this book so, so, so long and boring?

    So, maybe a third of the way through the book, I developed this false hope that this book would be some kind of pretty metaphor for children going through the grieving process and supporting each other in loss. I thought, “Oh, grievers! Maybe the challenges of the maze and the bonding of the boys in the glade will have some larger message.” No. This book is not about that. It is about doing the NYT games section and then maybe vague talk of zombies later. Total bullshit.

    I have to think this book came out while

    was still on and before its terrible conclusion, which forced millions of Americans to face the fact that when it looks like a story will have no purpose, it probably has no purpose. I have to think Dashner thought he could bank on the millions of us willing to suspend our skepticism and keep watching a show whose writers clearly had no plan. I am hoping that in the wake of that disaster, we will have grown up a little and be less willing to stand for bullshit like this.

    I googled it, and, yes, I was right. Cashing in on gullible

    audience. Unacceptable.

  • Etnik
    Sep 11, 2014

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  • Nataliya
    Dec 30, 2014

    The last page is turned and all I have to say is this:

    ...Aaaaand ..... rant!

    -----

    When I'm sick - the snotty phlegmy febrile kind of sick - and my brain feels sizzlingly fried, I sometimes turn to easy reading "fluff" to give my neurons a break. Sometimes this strategy backfires and the 'fluffy' book actually tries to break my long-suffering brain cells with its sheer stupidity.

    It's not even mediocre; mediocrity would be elevat

    The last page is turned and all I have to say is this:

    ...Aaaaand ..... rant!

    -----

    When I'm sick - the snotty phlegmy febrile kind of sick - and my brain feels sizzlingly fried, I sometimes turn to easy reading "fluff" to give my neurons a break. Sometimes this strategy backfires and the 'fluffy' book actually tries to break my long-suffering brain cells with its sheer stupidity.

    It's not even mediocre; mediocrity would be elevating this book to the undeserved heights. It's simply boring, uninspired, ridiculous and poorly executed.

    ------

    Let me sum up the things that I thought were awful, stupid or just plain ridiculous (apparently my febrile brain likes making lists):

    Seriously. When there is no reason for keeping the characters in the dark, all suspense goes out of the window. There was no reason why nobody could tell Thomas what was going on when he showed up in the Glade or when he saw the Doors or the Maze.

    The frustrating to me approach of never discussing what happened with those who went through the Changing. The lack of curiosity about the only potential exit from the Maze that the boys have found in two (!) years. The pointless doing the same thing over and over again just to come up with the same results, relishing in the special status of the Runners instead of just sitting down to discuss the situation and their findings.

    Replacing 'fuck' with 'shuck' and 'shit' with 'klank' for PG purposes does not work when you shove it unto the readers' faces every sentence or so. At least be inventive or make it sound organic, but all that's achieved is sounding like a five-year-old complaining to her Mummy.

    I rest my case in the face of this nonsense.

    Because Thomas is so special at fragging everything. He doesn't even need to try. Instead, when we need a proof of his awesomeness, the get the

    impulses and urges that are never wrong, or if that fails, simply a quasi-recollection that saves the day. Which segues into my next frustration point:

    The author knows what he wants to happen in this book, and he moves the characters along like checkers pieces, just to make plot happen. The characters are just sorta there, are static, and therefore I could never get invested in them enough to care even when some of them died. Especially when the death of at least one of them was pointless.

    . Yes, the Grievers and the strangely non-menacing way they were portrayed. The Maze that is anything but intimidating (that effect is due to the non-spectacular writing, really). The Changing - oh so scary of experience! - that does not really affect Thomas the Special Snowflake, not even a minor inconvenience.

    It's poor Gally, who's labeled as a "bully" before he's had a chance to do anything even remotely bully-ish except for staring at Thomas with dislike. To cement his unlikeability, Gally is described as physically unattractive - because in shallow books like this one if you look like a villain, you must be one. Gally, whose distrust of Thomas is perfectly logical (if any of the characters would take any time to think about it instead of singing accolades to the Special Snowflake).

    Seriously. Every few pages my reaction was - really? You guys haven't tried

    ? You haven't thought of

    ?? You haven't talked about

    ??? Ugh.

    This does not work in real life - even the kind of 'real life' that involves a few dozen of teen boys stranded in a few square miles area where they successfully run a farm, a slaughterhouse and an industrial-size kitchen.

    No, the characters do not work hard just to get the pay-off; they get told all that's happening, like a cheap trick.

    No, everything is simplistic, childish and therefore strangely light and unconcerning. There is no depth, no real substance, and no complexity. It's page-filler, easy to read, easy to forget.

    Yawn. A frustrated yawn, at that.


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