Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner
Series: Maze Runner, #1
Publication Date: October 6th 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: StarStarStarStarStar |

Summary: Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You’re in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids — the Runners — venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines.

Thomas is the newest arrival to the Glade in this Truman-meets-Lord of the Flies tale. A motley crew of half a dozen kids is all he has to guide him in this strange world. As soon as he arrives, unusual things begin to happen, and the others grow suspicious of him. Though the Maze seems somehow familiar to Thomas, he’s unable to make sense of the place, despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. What is this place, and does Thomas hold the key to finding a way out?

I cannot believe it took me this long to read. If you have not read this yet, I would like to start of this review by saying that you should not be waiting any longer to read this one.

I found myself unable to truly relate with the main character Thomas, but it did not bother me so much because THE MAZE RUNNER is truly a plot-driven book. There are a variety of characters, each with distinct personalities such as Chuck, Newt, Alby, Frypan, and Minho. Chuck is like an annoying and irritating little brother. You can’t wait to get rid of him by your side, but you also can’t help but feel overprotective of him. I never realized how I formed a soft spot for Chuck until the very end of the book.

While reading the book, it is so easy to forget how old the characters are. I think it’s because the environment they are in is devoid of the usual problems teenagers are facing. They don’t have to worry about girls, sports, and high school. Survival is the only thing in their minds.

At first, the writing style of Dashner irritated me. One of the reasons why it took me so long to pick up the book was because I just couldn’t get into it. It reminded me of Michael Grant’s GONE series which I am not the biggest fan of. However, when I finally picked up THE MAZE RUNNER once more, trying to overlook the writing style, I found that I got used to it very quickly and I could not get enough.

THE MAZE RUNNER is a fast-paced page-turner. I was in conflict with myself the whole time I read. I hated that I could not put the book down because each chapter keeps you in suspense, ending in a cliffhanger. On the other hand, I hated it when I had to stop reading. What I love most about this book is Dashner’s ability to make you think. I was transported into the Glade with Thomas and I was trying to figure out all the puzzles and clues throughout the whole book. I felt like I was part of the “game” too, and I challenged myself to solve the mystery before the characters in the book.

But THE MAZE RUNNER isn’t predictable. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. You’ll be guessing chapter after chapter until the very end. Now I understand what the hype is all about…


  1. “You should not be waiting any longer to read this one.” Argh, but I already have so many books to read with too little time! lol. This one is near the top; I’ll hopefully get to it sooner rather than later. It definitely sounds like my kind of read: plot driven and fast-paced and unpredictable.

    1. For me, I felt satisfied by the end of the book. However, there is an indication that there is more to the story than what is just presented in book one, but if you’ve read the Hunger Games series, there is no crazy cliffhanger like the end of Catching Fire. :)

Leave a Reply