The Maze Runner - by James Dashner
"the suspenseful scenarios kept me reading"
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, is a novel about a teenage boy named Thomas who is dropped into the middle of a jungle called the Glades. His memory has been wiped by some higher up power, and he soon discovers that he's surrounded by other teenagers with no memory and no knowledge of how they came to be in the Glades. The book runs through the adventures that Thomas goes on with his new friends and his new acquaintances commonly known runners, for running into harm's way to try and learn more about what's going on. The novel is very suspenseful and is comparable to The Hunger Games series.
Having read The Hunger Games several times through, I had high expectations for this book from the start. I was hoping for a close rival. However, while this book would also fall under the same category as The Hunger Games, it was a little too close for my likings. Instead of coming out with an atypical plot, Dashner takes a couple elements and plot points, such as the creatures living in the forest attacking the children, and a general survival of the fittest within a group of teenagers.
However, amongst the predictability of the plot were elements such as prose and diction that I loved. For example, the use of words such as klunk, shuck face, and shank. Although these are somewhat immature and the terminology is that of a 3rd grader, I got a laugh out of it. The language was mild and the sexual content was nonexistent in the book. I really like this because nowadays it seems like every book that is published and aimed at teenagers have to be all about romance and honestly, it turned me off to reading modern books for a while.
The Maze Runner was a page turner. It seemed like although I already had an idea of what was going to happen and was disappointed in some places due to the lack of originality, I always wanted to keep reading. If James Dashner did one thing right, it was his use of suspenseful scenarios that kept me reading. While there are far better books out there to be read, I think that this one is worth a shot, especially if you're into science fiction books or enjoyed The Hunger Games. In addition, this book is part of a 4 part series and I look forward to continuing to put a dent in it. It's a decent page-turner and a genuinely good story.
- Jacob D.
"They believe they are put into the maze by scientists as lab rats."
The Maze Runner is a science fiction book written by James Dashner. Reading this book left me on the edge of my seat constantly. I would call this book a thriller for its constant unknowing of what was going to happen next. It forces the reader to try to predict whether the kids will get out the maze alive. The book, in my opinion, is put together perfectly and has to be one of my favorite books that I have ever read. Dashner sets up The Maze Runner as a trilogy by not having a definite ending and forces you to read the next book of the series which is called The Scorch Trails.
The book starts out with Thomas, the main character, coming out of a dark box into the Glade. The Glade is a place where kids in their teenage years are being trapped and forced to escape in order to save their lives. The main part about the maze is that it shifts every single night and monsters come out. This makes the maze nearly impossible to solve.
Kids come to the Glade with no recollection of their past lives. They believe they are put in the maze by scientists as lab rats and they are being tested for their knowledge. In the Glade there are different jobs for all the teenagers. There has to be a cook, farmer, medical staff, people who clean up the Glade, and then there are the runners. The runners are the most important job. They spend most of their day by surveying the maze, trying to find an exit. Once they have spent all day running around the maze, they come back to the glade and copy what they remember in seeing in order to form different maps. By writing down what they see, they notice changes in the maze.
Later in the book Theresa comes to the Glade. She and Thomas have a special bond and they can talk to each other in their heads. They feel like they have known each other their whole life but their memory from their earlier life has been erased by "The Creators."
I would highly suggest people to read The Maze Runner for the action and thrills in the book. I enjoyed it the whole time. I feel that the book had a surprising ending that no one would have seen coming and it will wow the reader. Reading this book is an excellent choice especially for young adult readers.
- Andrew L.
"The unique dialect caused the reader to iive in the shoes of the Gladers"
The Maze Runner is a thrilling book about a boy named Thomas who awakes to find himself encircled by a group of boys, known as Gladers. He knows nothing but his own name, but he later learns later that he is in a place called the Glade surrounded by what seems to be an unsolvable maze and there only way out.
The Maze Runner is a book that will not be easy to put down once someone has started it and until they have finished it. It creates a world that will not only interest and excite but also sadden and anger. I almost stayed up all night reading the book, and I lost a sense of time reading it; two hours flew by with it only feeling like ten minutes. Dashner creates such a descriptive and creative world that he brings the reader into the world of the Gladers and makes all of their fears, the reader's fears. This book is different from other books because it is not very predictable, always making the reader guess on what is going to happen next. Then once it is finally clear what is going to happen, a shocking turn of events completely blows your mind. Also it is different because the feelings the teenage characters have of being scared, home sick, confused, angry, and sad are all feelings that are comparable to feelings that any other teenager would have in this situation. This creates a more real and believable feeling for the book and a greater connection to the characters.
The main characters all mature throughout the story, which I really liked. When the story started, the main character Thomas was extremely immature, annoying, and acted a lot younger than what he should have, based on his age which was sixteen. However, Dashner might have done this on purpose to emphasize Thomas's transformation to a more caring and loving individual as he bonds with others in the Glade and makes a promise to his friend to get him out of the maze.
Something that was not very enjoyable was the repetition of Thomas asking so many questions and being shut down and told no so much in the beginning. It felt a little old after the fourth or so time it happened. Also there was no explanation to why they wouldn't answer his questions, and not knowing any information in the beginning of the book in no way made the suspense build or anything; it just created a very confusing first thirty pages.
However, something very interesting was the dialect that the Gladers spoke. This unique variation of the English language added greatly to the setting and to the Gladers all being teenage boys. For example, some of the words these kids added to their usable vocabulary were "shank" and "klunk" and "shuck-face". All these words greatly resemble words immature teenage boys would create when they first arrived to such a deadly and terrifying place such as the Glade. Dashner's use of this dialect causes the reader to be transported to the maze and to live in the shoes of one of the Gladers, to almost experience firsthand the events of the book. I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone else who likes teenage adventure and thriller books.
- Mark C.
"I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys action or mystery"
"And then something rounded the corner up ahead, and came toward them. Something he'd seen before, but through the safety of thick glass. Something unspeakable. A Griever." In the novel The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Thomas has no memory of anything before this maze that he has been forced into. A group of teenage boys called Gladers have been living there for two years. As he learns the ropes around the place, he learns of creatures called Grievers that hunt humans. The boys live in one section of the maze that is protected at night, which they called the Glade (hence the group name "Gladers"). If one is "stung" by one, they go through a process called the "Changing" which, although very painful, allows that person to gain back some of their memory. The Gladers become desperate after a girl shows up the next day with a message, "Everything is going to change".
The author is very good at not revealing too much at any given time. This kept me hooked throughout the book. When it got slow, there was valuable information that I needed to understand the story, and when there was more action, the danger in the situation kept me reading until a solution had been reached before I could put the book down to go do other homework. Although the conversations between characters seemed a little unrealistic at times, I enjoyed the mystery involved in the story. The author manages to intertwine three different plots into one story: a love story, the story inside the maze, and the story of the rest of the world. Thomas falls for the only girl in the maze, Thomas and the rest of the group need to escape the maze, and then there is the story behind why these kids are in the maze. Most of them have lived in the maze for two years and have already changed from when they first entered. According to the leaders of the camp, most kids, when they first showed up, cried for days before accepting the situation. Then they became seemingly hard and heartless, just going about their business in the maze. Since Thomas has a new environment to learn, and new responsibilities that come along with it, he is one of the more dynamic characters in the story. He becomes more mature and makes new friends that shape him into a more caring and personal individual.
The book was serious for the most part, showing a person's determination and how much someone could achieve if they had the will to do what needed to be done. There was a lot of action, including when Thomas went out into the maze at night, which was not allowed. The author used comic relief at critical points - usually through the character of Chuck, the one person that is nice to Thomas in the beginning of the story. Chuck was the new guy in the maze until Thomas came along, so they had a lot in common.
Overall I felt that this book was very well written and it kept me entertained the whole time I was reading it. James Dashner has written two sequels to this book and is coming out with a prequel soon. I intend on continuing the series and finishing with the prequel. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games or enjoys action and mystery in a novel.
- Joseph H.
"people in bizarre puzzle working together to solve the mystery of the maze"
The Maze Runner by James Dashner is a remarkable book that describes people of many races and many differences in a bizarre puzzle world all working together to solve the mystery of the maze. I really loved the book's mysterious and unique aspects, which set it apart from the run-of-the-mill action books. The characters were dynamic and I felt excitement when they did something good, disappointment when they made a wrong choice, or sadness when something bad happened to them. This allowed for me to really get into the book and kept me from putting it down once I started.
I liked Dashner's style because he includes the slang of the inhabitants of the maze's main section, the Glade, which made me feel like the characters were more human. His writing style also makes many events in the book very emotional, which kept me hooked. The book was well written overall, but had a few plot and setting twists that I did not really get into all that much. Other than this, the book's puzzling aspect kept me guessing at how to solve the mysterious maze and how the glade people were going to escape the confinement, and this kept me stuck to the book like glue.
The conflict of the book is also interesting, as it includes monsters in the maze called Grievers, which act as the teen's fighting conflict, Gally, a character who acts as Thomas's contrast, and the seemingly unsolvable maze itself. A small problem I saw in the book was some of the choices Thomas makes seem to be over the top for the protagonist because he threw himself into danger without thinking twice. I felt a sort of "are you kidding me" attitude towards some of his action-figure like heroic choices. Even with this problem, Thomas is a very relatable protagonist. For example, after he survives a night trapped in the maze he weeps with happiness, showing his emotional and more human side. I loved how you could see Thomas was the superior character, because although he is not liked by many of the Glade, he is made a Runner and is allowed to give his opinion in their council of wise people called keepers.
I liked Chuck's character as a surrogate brother of Thomas and I felt an emotional connection to him. Many times Thomas's conversations with him really provide a strong connection between the two characters. Thomas is described as having very good runner attributes, such as remembering turns of the maze even while in emotional turmoil.
Overall, this book is extremely interesting and is hard to put down once you start reading it. Its mystery and action make for a great combination and is a great thriller novel for any teen that's into science fiction. The Maze Runner is one of my favorite books because I really connected with it and its characters and I loved the ideas present in the novel. Even with some slight plot and character problems, I found the book offered personal interests and emotions and brought these into play throughout the novel.
- Tommy D.
"I was hooked on the book within the first twenty pages."
I have never been an avid reader, but as rumor was passed around about how great The Maze Runner is; I had to read it. I am personally glad I did because James Dashner's writing skill is incredible. I was hooked on the book within the first twenty pages and I could not put it down until my fingers would not flip the pages any longer.
Thomas wakes up alone in what seems to be a lift of some sort and he cannot remember who he is or how he got there. After the not-so-friendly greeting, a group of about fifty boys say that he is in a place called the Glade that is surrounded by maze. A good visual of what the Maze looks like is the title cover. The book starts off with a twist and within the first few pages another twist appears. James Dasher said that The Maze Runner was heavily influenced by Ender's Game and Lord of the Flies, which you will be able to understand once you read it.
All the conflicts the author created really make this book interesting. The way the characters overcome each obstacle gives new meaning to life in the Glade. At first I was disappointed in the end of the book with such a quick climax and resolution, but now thinking about it, it was a solid sixty pages. The plot has so many high points that it was difficult putting the book down for long. The little clues and hints that Dashner throws at you make you second guess all of your different theories on how the boys are going to escape the Glade and go back to the normal world, or that's what he want you to think.
Dashner does a great job creating each of the characters with details about each and also Thomas's opinion of them. Immediately you start feeling connections with them. At some points you would yell at the book out of anger at what just happened, and other times you would be so annoyed with one character that you had to put the book down and take a quick break. I loved how Thomas had more emotion than the other boys. As I am the only male in my family, I can relate to Thomas when he gets this brotherly affection with one of the Gladers. It really keeps you flipping the pages with eagerness.
This book is well written, but the dialect of the boys would get obnoxious with the weird slang terms and the repetition of this jargon. But, Dashner does a good job making sure you understand what each one means. The boys have different ages from twelvish to around seventeen. So it seems weird that the characters all talk very similarly. It's easy to tell that Thomas is the hero in the book because of his actions and his "memories." I guess you have to read the novel to find out what these "memories" are and if the boys can solve the maze.
The plot keeps you guessing until the last few pages, but then it introduces the next large conflict that makes you angry, but joyous at the same time that you will be able to have another experience with these characters. I highly believe that you should read this book. It is fun and easy to read. I cannot wait until I get hold of the next book. I give this book five out of five because it is the first book that has caught my attention since The Giver in the sixth grade.
- Cory C.
"interesting style and design make this book a true original"
The New York Times Bestseller The Maze Runner by James Dashner is far from a boring read and will keep you wanting more for almost the entire book. Dashner writes with a certain style that makes you want to keep reading, to turn the next page, and find out what happens to Thomas next. Apart from being suspenseful, Dashner also writes in a very distinct way that makes this book a very easy read for any young adult interested.
The story follows the life of Thomas from the point when he arrives to the glade, to his learning of his purpose, and all through the events that transpire from this. He arrives in the Glade, which is a large living space surrounded by walls and a dangerous maze, without any recollection of who he is or where he's from, yet he can vaguely remember skills that he learned as a child. After he arrives at the Glade - just like a boy has every thirty days for the past two years - a girl comes the next day bearing a note that strikes fear into the Gladers and is the catalyst for all of the events that happen to Thomas after that point. The Gladers know after this point that they must find a way out, no matter how unsolvable the maze may seem, and that it may require some personal sacrifices from everyone along the way.
This is a very fast paced book that will hook you in within the first few chapters and will not let you go until you read the very last page. At every turn of the page it will make you want more and more, which will make it a very memorable read for the reader. The sequel will surely be just as good as this one if it has anywhere near the same amount of suspense. I think this book is written extremely well. The dialogue seems to be more realistic than some writers come up with which helps the characters become more real to the reader. Character development is a huge part of this book because aspects of a character and knowledge about them are slowly revealed to the reader which also adds to the suspense of the story. It is done like this because the characters in the book were put in the Glade without their memories but sometimes they are able to remember small bits of their old lives, and this helps to add characteristics and pasts to all of the characters in the book.
The varied side plots that Dashner throws in throughout the story add a level to complexity to the story and get the reader interested in more than one story at the same time that are eventually all woven into a single plot. This interesting style and design of the story is really what makes this book a true original. All of these aspects that Dashner uses in his stories also contribute to this book being a very original one; some books that young adults read are not very creative, making them the polar opposites of this book. Overall every aspect of this book makes it the obvious choice next time you are deciding what book to read; you will not be disappointed when you pick this book up, because when you do, you will not be able to put I down.
- Will C.
"I was constantly scared, relieved, anxious or confused for Thomas."
Could you ever imagine waking up in an unfamiliar place and not being able to recall anything about yourself besides your first name? This is the exact situation that the main character Thomas is faced with in James Dashner's exhilarating novel, The Maze Runner. The unexpected twist is that Thomas is not alone. He is welcomed into a large concrete area called the Glade by many teenage boys similar to him. None of them are able to recall anything about how they got there or who they are. The Glade is surrounded by an unending maze that is full of mysterious creatures. The stone doors to the maze open every morning, and close by nighttime which is also when the maze changes. Thomas soon discovers that if one doesn't return to the Glade at night they could get attacked and are involved in what they call "the changing". Every 30 days a new victim is delivered into the Glade.
You may think this will turn into The Hunger Games, but they receive a package full of food once a week. One of the first shocks for me in the novel was when a person comes to the Glade the day after Thomas with a message that will change the Glade forever. Thomas finds out that he is more valuable than anyone could have ever thought. This thrilling story has never-ending twists and turns.
Dashner includes plenty of action, as well as drama in the novel. I never wanted to put the masterpiece down! I loved how complex the plot was. The setting of the story gives a sense of mystery and uncertainty to the plot. The area seems completely normal but is filled with so many unthinkable events. The reader is never quite sure what could appear from the maze, or if something will completely change. From the initiation of the climax to the resolution, the reader is hooked.
The story is filled with characters backstabbing, betraying, and even uncovering unrealistic gifts. The reader follows Thomas on his journeys and feels what he feels; I was constantly scared, relieved, anxious, or confused for him. This book is like an emotional roller coaster. Dashner also includes many subplots in the book. As the story unfolds, new problems with the Glades are also added. There is constantly conflict between the characters, who are so trapped and confused. All of the characters are relatable which makes it even harder to choose sides between them. Their determination to survive trials while also trying to remember their past make them even more interesting to follow.
This novel is different from any other novel because of its unique plotline. It's not the typical forbidden love story. The dialogue is easy to understand, without being elementary. The voice of the novel makes you feel like you are actually in the maze, or the Glade. It's eerie how realistic it seems. The pacing keeps the reader always interested and involved. Dashner does a really good job of only giving enough information to answer a few questions, which then put even more questions in our heads. This way of writing always keeps the reader wanting more.
The only criticism I can give on the book is the lack of character development. I felt like the characters were somewhat flat, and weren't even trying to figure out the science behind the maze. They were mainly trying to get out the whole time, which does make sense. I will say that because it is a trilogy, the other books go more in depth. The other books in the series are: The Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure. The Maze Runner is expected to come out as a movie soon. Overall, I found the book well worth the read, and definitely recommend it.
- Laurel C.
"Dashner's creation of this environment is entire sensory perfection."
Before reading James Dashner's book The Maze Runner, I found out that this would be a great novel to read if you're a fan of The Hunger Games. Seeing that The Hunger Games trilogy is one of my favorite groups of books, I was ecstatic to get to read something that might even be remotely like it. I found this book to be thrilling and mysterious; it will keep you on the edge of your seat for hours. It literally gets to the point that you don't even want to put the book away. Considering these opinions, I suggest this book to kids of all ages.
The book begins with the main character Thomas awaking in an elevator. He has no memories except of his first name. When the lift stops moving, Thomas is forced into a world known as the Glade. The dystopian society that is set up by a group of teenage kids is full of a one of a kind dialect that Thomas can't understand. After being dropped into this world, Thomas attempts to discover answers but he is finding that the people he now has to live with are less forthcoming with answers to his plethora of questions. Eventually, Thomas is able to befriend a couple of the local leaders as he becomes accustomed to his life in the Glade.
The Glade is enclosed by a large wall. These aren't just any walls, though; they are designed to open and close based on a schedule set by an unknown government. The kids have come to rely on these changing walls for food and other critical supplies to keep them alive. Conforming to a rigidly structured schedule, the boys have the timing of when the doors rotate and when each new product is to arrive. As time progresses, Thomas realizes his desire to be accepted into the elite society known as the Maze Runners. If they are able to find a pattern to the ever changing maze, they could possibly find their way out. The Maze Runner is Thomas' story of attempting to do this.
Dashner did an exceptional job; his style is unique. It's not so much funny or serious, but it has an abnormal way of always introducing some new aspect. This trait of the author's writing style sets it apart from most other books and keeps the reader interested. It also has very interesting and original dialogue throughout the book. The development of the characters is very good. As time progresses, you truly get more and more attached to Thomas's search for freedom. You gain a growing respect for a number of the characters in this book. As described above, the plot of this book has the perfect mesh of rising action, incredible conflict, climax, and an awesome ending.
I think Dashner's greatest achievement throughout this book is his creation of this incredibly awesome environment. He was able to depict it in such a manner that you can literally see the world known as the Glade. It is entire sensory perfection. It allows us to experience every painful moment of Thomas's life. One thing I am sure of is that this book is very entertaining and I cannot wait to read the sequel to this great novel.
- Sam M.
"the perfect balance of drama and comedy to make us laugh and think at the same time"
You wake up in the dark being lifted in a cold dark elevator. You remember nothing, but your first name and there is no way to tell where you are. Then all of a sudden bright sunlight bursts through and you find yourself in a field full of other teenagers. Then you realize, you're in a maze. This is the reality of Thomas in James Dashner's The Maze Runner. We follow Thomas in his journey to escape not only the Maze, but he mystery of his past.
I went into this book wondering what in the world a "Maze Runner" is. The beginning was slow as you are introduced to a slew of characters, although, this is to be expected at the beginning of the first book of a series. I was dreading having to read this book. I just wanted to get it over with, but then Dashner drew me in with the perfect amount a mystery - not too little where the reader doesn't care, and not too much as in the show "Lost." This lighted a flame in me to want to read this book and finish it NOW. I wanted to know the answers to the questions about Thomas's past and why he was in this maze full of mutant cows. Yeah, that's right; there are mutant cows in the Maze. Not scared of cows? After this book you will be. So I finished this book about 2 days after I started it. I got to the climax of the book and had to go to sleep. It drove me nuts. I had to finish this book. Don't tell anyone, but I finished it in my math class first thing in the morning.
Although, it isn't just the mystery that I loved about this book; there were several other items that set Dashner apart from many authors. The first and foremost in my mind is his descriptions. He is able to describe how characters look and how the environment is formed. He describes places that vary from the peaceful trees to the foreboding and somber graveyard. Honestly, reading about the graveyard gave me the willies. He also uses excellent dialogue. It isn't like some other books that have Dialogue such as, "Hey let's go to school." "Ok that sounds cool because school is cool, don't do drugs, crack is whack, stay in school kids." I digress, but you get my point. Dashner gives the reader actual dialogue. It sounds just like what teenagers would say to each other. This allows to not only us to have a better feel of the story, but also a good feel of the characters. With Dashner's dialogue the reader feels the characters emotions as they say it. This is a wonderful quality that not all authors can pull off.
I felt like I knew these characters because of this. I really felt sad about Thomas not knowing very much about his past life and I was rooting for him the whole time. There are also characters that have haunted pasts that make the reader feel sad when they fail and cheer when they succeed. Unlike some authors, Dashner allows us to not only root for the protagonist, but also the characters that help them through their journey. I felt like I knew each and every character and was in this Giant Maze with them through trials and tribulations - and sometimes having fun.
This 'fun' was another major thing I liked about the book. When a sad or depressing part came up, there was always at least one character that came in at the perfect time with some comic relief. Several times I would be upset about something, then a character would put a big old smile on my face. You know those books that just put a big old frown on your face. Then there are the books that are always annoyingly upbeat. This isn't either one of those books. Dashner finds the perfect balance of drama and comedy to make us laugh and think at the same time.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. Guess what? The fun doesn't have to end because this is the first in a series. Yeah, that's right, a series. So what are you waiting for? Go read this book. I don't even know why you are still reading, stop, get up and get the book right now.
- Sanders P.
"The new world that Dashner as come up with in the Glade is uniqe and mystifying."
When choosing a book to read, I noticed that a lot of people were choosing this one. The book seemed to interest many people by only hearing a short synopsis. I decided why not give it a shot. While reading the book I felt a strange mix of emotions, from hate to love to excitement to anxiousness. The plot changed so many times and had so many twists and turns that I almost couldn't keep up. The one thing I did find difficult was that the pace of the book was so choppy it almost seemed like you had to be in a good spot to really get into the book. The plot would slow down and settle at a leisurely pace, then all of a sudden speed up and before you knew it, you would have so many events pass by that you didn't know what happened.
Dashner uses many descriptive words to portray his characters and his descriptions make them seem so lifelike. The way that Thomas is described throughout the book really makes you feel like you have met him in conversation and know who he is. Dashner also does a good job of describing the setting for the book. This new world that Dashner has come up with in the Glade is one that is very unique and mystifying. The Glades are described with so much intricate detail that it's hard to not see what Dashner pictures.
The book reminded me of some other great thrillers that I have read and heard about before. Specifically, the way that Dashner describes the journey that Thomas takes during the book. The way the plot unfolds and keeps you guessing is one reason that the book is so successful. I thought that the way that Dashner would play up a part in the story and then explain it later in the book worked really well. He would make you guess about what is going to happen next, but while it is in the back of your mind, boom he tells you what happens and you are entangled in the plot even more than before. The book was really a great read, and one of the best books I've read for school. I would highly recommend reading this book to any young reader or those that do not read much.
- Hudson M.
"It grabbed my attention from the first word"
Suspense. Thrill-catchers. Pure art. All of these can easily describe James Dashner's bookThe Maze Runner. The author kept my attention riveted to the pages every moment I read. Dashner created a world that I was transported to and it felt like I was in the same world as the characters. The novel has every aspect that an action- loving reader would like. The author develops his characters slowly and thoroughly and gives the reader the sense of knowing the characters on a personal level. With his use of multiple small climaxes and events, the reader keeps wanting to go on and on, page by page until they are finished.
As intriguing as the summary may be, I felt the flow of the action was kind of slow in the first half while Thomas was just trying to get his bearings. But after the mysterious girl that no one knew about (even though no one knew anything really) woke up, more and more action seemed to come. Suddenly, things changed for the Gladers and they had to figure out how to get out of the Glade much sooner because of the "Ending" and all the new "Variables". The rest of the book is great –much better paced than the first half.
Unfortunately, I also found that the characters were lacking in personality and depth. Everyone was kind of the same - for the most part, a bunch of characters having dialogue, interacting with one another, teenagers stuck someplace. Aside from the desire to see what the big mystery is, what kept me flipping pages was Dashner's style of ending a chapter. All chapters are pretty short and Dashner has a way of building up something then leave you hanging. So, you're left wondering what just happened. If you do want to know what happens you have to turn to the next page. As for Dashner's made up words, it was okay. I didn't think it was annoying but it wasn't really creative either. It did not add or take away anything from the plot.
In conclusion, I do not think that James Dashner could have done anything to make this novel any better. It grabbed my attention from the first word and I strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in this kind of writing. I am looking forward to reading his entire series including the second and third book. Hopefully they are just as intriguing as this and are just as fun to read. Great book filled with action and suspense and everything that a teen likes.
- Seth H.
"absolutely astounding plot"
Imagine waking up in an elevator, with no doors, and no lights, with no memories of anything before that point. Imagine a half-hour ride upward into the unknown, only to be released into a giant stone maze. What would you do, what would you think? Thomas, the protagonist of The Maze Runner by James Dashner, wakes up in this fashion, and finds himself in this location.
The book is fairly well written and is difficult to put down. I started the book with high hope, but it follows the same stereotype as many other young adult novels before it. A group of teens is faced with impossible odds in impossible circumstances, which only serve to push them closer together. The overuse of made up profanity was rather annoying. Thomas emerges into a society of other teen boys, who have developed their own offensive words, like "shuck" and "slint" to name a few. Dashner may as well have used normal profanity, because the way the boys used these words left little to the imagination as to their meanings. Also, the book took a leaf out of Lord of the Flies, putting the characters in a do or die situation, and it never really explains the psychic powers that some of the characters have. Dashner also tried to create mystery by having other characters tell Thomas just to wait. This was okay to use once, but it was a recurring theme in the book. The story was interesting, but Dashner put the characters through a lot of unnecessary hardship, and the book would have been as good, if not better without some of the over complications. The running joke with Game of Thrones is, don't get to like any character too much, because they will probably die. Well, Maze Runner was similar, if everything seems to be going pretty good, something really, really bad is about to happen.
Even throughout all this, one single thing brings it back up; the plot. The plot was the only reason I kept reading this book; it was genius, and nearly outweighs all the many flaws. The secondary characters were another great thing. The book continually reminded the reader that Thomas is only human, but because the book reinforces this so often, Thomas seems less and less of a hero. However, the other characters, like Chuck and Teresa, fit the bill of the hero more closely.
As for the rest of the series, as the books progress, it is clear that the plot for The Maze Runner is to Hunger Game what the plot of the Hangover is to Hangover 2; the creative process largely consisted of copy and paste. Dystopian future, multiple love interests, the works. Also, as the books progressed, I almost began to hate Thomas simply because of how stupid he acted sometimes.
If you just skipped to the end of this review to see if there was an overview of the rest, here it is: absolutely astounding plot, lots of flaws, great secondary characters, unnecessary hardships, well written, too much like Hunger Games. If you still want to read these books, which I still recommend doing, then you have an amazing journey ahead of you.
- Ethan F.
"For a few days after finishing, I was speaking the Glader language."
Imagine waking up in a maze and only knowing what your name is. The is the basic idea in James Dashner's novel The Maze Runner, in which Thomas, the main character, must solve the maze that surrounds his new home, the Glade. Before he even has a time to adjust to the new life-style in the Glade, which is full of teenage boys, WICKED sends a girl to the Glade with an ominous message. Thomas believes that they have a connection. The readers learns in this book that things are not always as they seem.
It was a great book. I loved how easy it was to relate to Thomas, since I closely resemble him. I also liked how Dashner kept the answers to their problems just out of reach, plus the idea of the maze and the ever changing walls really kept it intense. The story, while a little slow at the beginning, was quite well written and I enjoyed his style. He was able to pin that 'teen-stuck-in-a-maze-trying-to-get-out' emotion, as well as making a very believable boy who also happens to be a bit of a romantic, but is always 'manly' enough when he needs to be. In the book, the sentences in the slow parts were long, drawn out, and descriptive, while in the intense sequences, it was almost like though-reaction based: short and to the point.
As for the characters, they were done fantastically. Thomas' shoot-now-ask-later attitude was kept quite clear throughout the how novel and it really sounded like it came from a teenager. Newt's difference of accent and Alby's skin color added to the diversity, Chuck's annoying, yet cute, persona made for a little-brother type character, and Gally's mean, stuck-up nature kept things tense. And Teresa's nature and 'ability' that she shares with Thomas keep things mysterious about her, which leads into the second book (which is very good and I recommend it as well).
The diction in the book was quite original, as Dashner used onomatopoeia for words like 'clunk' and 'shank.' He also talked a bit like a gamer, using 'Greenie' and 'Noob' a lot. It was quite original, and for a few days after finishing the series, I was speaking the 'Glader' language.
James Dashner also kept the book somewhat progressive with a bit of romance between Thomas and Teresa, who had known each other pre-Glade, but neither remembers how. But, as the story moves on, the two seem to be drawn together, and the other boys get a little jealous and even begin to hate her 'I-know-everything-attitude.'
The monsters in the book, also known as the Grievers, are a bit shaky and unbelievable, though they were enough to scare me. They're big hulking masses with long poles, points, and probes that float around in the maze. They have seem to have no eyes, no noses, no ears, no mouth, and are literally a big floating ball of ooze that is being protruded with by weapons. While seeming docile, they are actually vicious to the point of ripping, to shreds one of the Gladers. And their sting can be deadly, though the Gladers can cure that.
Some draw-backs were, as stated earlier, the beginning of the book. It was very descriptive of the Glade and really set up the story, but it took a long time, as Dashner also with-held valuable information that could have progressed the story faster. It also left some chapters in a sort of trance state, where the book could have ended there and I could have been perfectly happy. Another thing was that he would sometimes include an element, but then never return to it.
Over-all, I loved the book and would recommend it to anyone who would lend an ear. I would give it 4.5 stars out of 5.
- Matthew S.
"the fast-paced, unrelenting action after about Chapter 10 was incredibly gripping"
Imagine all of your personal experiences and the life you live now being wiped from your memory when you find yourself inside a dark box in the middle of a strange new world. In James Dashner's novel, The Maze Runner, you are immediately hooked by the suspenseful and mysterious opening where a young boy, Thomas, wakes up inside of a moving box that then opens into an unfamiliar landscape full of other teenage boys who ignore all of his curiosities.
The boys have named the area "The Glade" and they have developed their own culture and vernacular. You follow the exciting and never ending adventures of the main character, Thomas, as he tries to find out about his new home and his new life. It is almost immediately indicated that there is something special about Thomas, although Dashner takes all the time in the world to reveal what it may be. Dashner tries, maybe a little too hard, to build suspense around the happenings in and around Thomas and The Glade. He spends ten chapters not revealing much of anything about the life the boys lead.
Dashner develops the characters well and they are all very believable; they all have built defenses realistic to the unrealistic circumstances they have all found themselves in with no recollection of their personal pasts. I believe that teenage boys would act the standoffish and impatient way that all of these characters do towards a newcomer who is unrelenting in his questioning of them.
When the Thomas is informed that The Glade is placed in the center of a large maze that is explored daily by a group of boys called Runners, the plot becomes more enticing, but is still too secretive for too long. Usually a detailed character and setting description and development is important to me in a book, but these characters were not too complex, at least not at this point in Thomas' knowledge of this place, so the ten chapters spent on them was almost pointless.
Dashner's writing style is not the most advanced, but once the action begins to pick up, the story becomes a bit addicting to read. Thomas makes a bold and rule breaking move to save a boy who Thomas could not yet even call his friend, and in the process discovers he is stronger than he could ever imagine. The fast paced and unrelenting action after about chapter ten was incredibly gripping; it kept me turning pages, anxious to see what would come next. After that point the pace kept up. I found myself emotionally involved in the characters' struggles and pains.
By about halfway through the novel I began to understand the strange slang, unique to The Glade. Words like "klunk" and "shank" and "griever" became easier to read right through and feel comfortable knowing what the character was saying. I even found myself using the unusual words in my everyday life once or twice and finding a real connection with other students who had read the book as well.
Despite the fast moving and enticing plot twists that kept me interested, I believe Dashner either underestimated young adults' reading levels or he was simply aiming at a younger crowd while writing it than the editors published it for. There were times where I felt that if he knew he was writing it for someone my age, he must really think our generation has taken a step backwards in scholastic capability.
- Claire Q.
"I would recommend it to another young adult in a heartbeat."
I have mixed feelings about The Maze Runner. The plotline begins slow but rapidly escalates towards the end of the novel. In many ways, I think this mirrors the feeling of Thomas. He is confused at the beginning of the novel, but eventually becomes more aware of the puzzle and starts piecing things together. This confuses the reader at first, naturally, but it makes sense at the end. The characters themselves are for the most part likeable and are very intuitive. They seem to act like normal teenagers in all but their speech. The "Gladers", as they call themselves, have a strange lingo. This lingo involves made-up words such as, "Shuck", "Shank", "Buggin'", or "Klunk". This lingo at first is very distracting and takes away from the novel. But after a few chapters the reader becomes desensitized to the words and doesn't notice them. Not only is the lingo distracting, but the context and diction of the teenagers seems awkward at times. This for the most part is not that bad, though.
There are many characters besides Thomas that contribute significantly to the book. To start with, Chuck, Thomas's best friend in the Glade acts as a foil to Thomas. Chuck is awkward and is often annoying. He appears young and is a little chubby. Chuck often talks to Thomas of what he hopes his life is like back in the real world. In one particular scene Thomas makes a promise that he will return Chuck to his old life. Besides Thomas's quality of friendship, Chuck also brings out the adventurous and brave attitude of Thomas. Newt, Alby, and Minho, the leaders of the Glade, show the almost numbing quality that the Glade gives off. They are often referred to as the oldest kids there. Together they exemplify what the Maze does to people. They are often desensitized to seemingly obvious clues, and are also major advocates of order in the Glade. They also never give up trying to escape which shows their leadership potential. Teresa, the only girl in the Glade, is almost too good of a companion for Thomas. She can telepathically communicate with him, and she often gets him through hard times in the book.
In the end,The Maze Runner was pretty enjoyable read. I would recommend it to another young adult in a heartbeat. The dystopian novel became a fast-paced and adventuring read. If you like The Hunger Games, then this is definitely a book for you. Being a New York Times Bestseller, the book speaks for itself; it is definitely an book worth reading.
- Clay P.
"several scenes made my pulse pound and my heart race."
"My name is Thomas, he thought That…that was the only thing he could remember about his life….he didn't know where he came from or how he'd gotten inside the dark lift, or who his parents were. He didn't even know his last name." In The Maze Runner James Dashner throws young boys into a world where they are given little help from the outside world and must rely on their own skills and knowledge to escape from the maze that they are forced to call home.
When boys are sent into the glade, they have no specific memories of people or places. It is interesting to see how all of the boys in the glade can remember what objects are called and how to perform basic tasks; like tying a shoe or reading, but they know not where or how they learned it, this is a good mystery technique.
The protagonist of this story, Thomas, feels like he remembers more about the outside world than most of the other boys and even feels like the glade itself is familiar, but he doesn't reveal this early on for the fear of being treated differently. This fact leaves a lot of suspense of whether Thomas will be punished for an unknown reason or if this vague familiarity will save his life. Thomas is somehow able to perform special feats and even save some lives early on, almost like he knows what to do despite being a newbie. The whole idea of having specified memory loss in all of the characters creates the feel of mystery and excitement.
The Maze is cool and unknown but it isn't completely original, which can't be helped since there are so many books it is impossible to have nothing in common with another book. Many other books use the same kind of thing, for example The Hunger Games and its arena. The Maze is a scary place where monsters lurk, at night the walls move and the doors leading into the glade close until morning. "The walls slammed shut behind him, the echo of its boom bouncing off the ivy-covered stone like mad laughter." This fact makes it nearly impossible to survive over the night. The fear factor of the maze really adds character to the book and makes you really wonder if the characters will make it or not. There were several scenes that made my heart pound and my pulse race; I found myself hearing the creatures coming for me. I enjoyed how the boys set up their community. It was very smart to appoint a different leader per job type, and then have a council to make sure they agree. Dashner really made the boys and their arguments seem real. He does a great job giving distinct personalities to each individual boy.
This book is entertaining and exciting but also has its letdowns. The book is very similar to books like The Hunger Games, it is the same general plot of children against nature, beasts and sometimes even each other. The location is also similar, the idea of the maze itself was interesting but it's still about the kids trying to find a way to escape with their lives and the lives of their friends. This book also loses much momentum in the end. It spends the whole book building up this awesome story and plot, so I personally expected the ending to be amazing, but it was more of just a filler and left me feeling unsatisfied.
I still greatly enjoyed the story, and recommend for others to read it. If you are looking for an intense story filled with good characters to brighten up your day, The Maze Runnerby Ja mes Dashner is the way to go.