Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Maze Runner: James Dashner


When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade---a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they've closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up---the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.


Phenomenal. That pretty much sums up this book because it is one that is just an all around hit from the characters to the writing to the plot. I completely enjoyed this book, falling into it easily. Though it is written it in third person perspective, it focuses on Thomas and if he doesn't know it, we don't know it. We even get inside his head without it actually being in his point of view which is a unique way to write the book.

Thomas’ character was an enjoyable one- he starts out confused but quickly pushes past it to try to make things work, find answers, and find his memories. The almost immediate assaults on him only add to his frustration and I think Dashner did a perfect job showing how Thomas fielded all that. He easily could have given up but didn’t, even when he was terrified and scared klunkless. Even when he was being completely idiotic, there was still a clear rationale behind his decisions and I was rooting for this character from the start.

The rest of the characters are diverse and entertaining. From sweet, kind hearted, talkative Chuck to irrational, hateful Gally and back to temperamental and egotistical Alby, many of the various personalities show through. Despite there being a fairly large number of important players, Dashner wrote each one with enough detail that I never had to try to figure out who was who. It was all clear and easily to take in, even with several being introduced from the start.

The plot itself was brilliant and astounding. There was hardly anything that I was able to see coming in this book and even when I had some ideas, they were easily wrong. Things were revealed at a great pace, keeping me interested without ever dragging things out or taking away the mystery appeal. I wanted to find out the truth and some answers as much as Thomas did. The world created is original but I could picture much of it easily since it is so based on the world we know now. Even the Grievers themselves were something that I could envision thanks to Dashner’s writing and great use of imagery.

If all that wasn’t enough, the ending was a perfect cliff hanger to leave me salivating for the next book in this trilogy, coming out this fall. I can’t even imagine where things are going to go from here- this book has left innumerable possibilities for where things are going to go. Other than knowing there’s more to come, I simply cannot think of what Dashner has in store for his readers and his characters.

This one gets 5 stars easily and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes action type books. It is intriguing, extremely well written, with some strong characters. Even at the end of this book, there is still a large amount we don’t know even about the characters which is something I think is fantastic in books- it just isn’t the same when you learn everything in the first book of a set. This is a book that would make for a great movie with plenty of action to keep it paced.

After reading this book, I have a new appreciation for the cover. It isn’t immediately grabbing, but it shows the Doors that close every night to lock the Gladers in with the Maze extending behind it. This isn’t just some hedge maze- it is massive in size with extremely high walls and the cover helps reinforce its size. The title is also very perfect for this and if I am correct, the next book is called The Scorch which seems just as simplistically fitting.

Source: Purchased from

Hardcover, 384 pages
Random House Children's Books
October 06, 2009
ISBN13: 9780385737944

ISBN: 0385737947

The Maze Runner Website
James Dashner's Blog

Other Reviews:
Steph Su Reads
The Book Smugglers
Pure Imagination
Reverie Book Reviews


  1. I keeping picking this up and then saying next time, I just need to read it.

    BTW I have an Award for you here.

  2. Great review! I can't wait to read this.

  3. It sounds like its a great book, but I'm still not sure if I would personally enjoy it. Great review, glad you loved it :)

  4. This was my absolute favorite book of 2009. Dashner has me hook, line, and sinker! If you haven't already, be sure to read his 13th Reality series. It's hugely different from Maze, but very good.

    I hopped over from Amber Skye's blog to say hi and congratulate you on your award. So glad I did! :-)

  5. I'm so glad you loved this book! It was one of my favourites and I gave it five stars, as well :)

  6. Great review! I really loved this book! I can't wait for book two!

  7. Ok this is officially getting moved up in the tbr pile! I can't wait and now i'm even more excited to read it. Great review!! :)

  8. Kari, you won an award from me:

  9. Great review! I felt a bit of a disconnect from Thomas, but I definitely agree that James Dashner created clearly distinguishable characters and an extremely vivid setting. He definitely has a way with words. *shivers at the thought of the Grievers* And a bit Lord of the Flies, don't you think? :)

  10. I've seen this book quite a few times online and in the store. It looks interesting. I might give it a try. Great review!

    This book has a pretty cool trailer.

  11. oh this sounds interesting - adding it to TBR! Thanks for the review!

  12. Great review, I really wanna read this book, I should bump it up my TBR pile :)

  13. I really want to get my hands on this one. Great review!

  14. Great summary, I will try to read the whole book and then see if I will recommend to our book club. Thanks!

  15. I'd read this book based on your review - here's mine!

  16. I'm quite happy I decided to pick this one up from the library. :D