Series: The Maze Runner #1
Also in this series: The Scorch Trials
Published by Delacorte Press on 10/6/2009
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dystopian, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: YA (Some violence, Only very tiny hints of romance)
Synopsis of The Maze Runner.
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 maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.
Today I’m reviewing The Maze Runner, which is included in the special collector’s edition that releases today. The collector’s edition also includes The Scorch Trials, but I haven’t finished that one yet, mostly because I had trouble prying the book out of my 12-year-old son’s hands (he literally hid it from me sometimes so that I couldn’t take it from him!). My review of The Scorch Trials half of the book will be coming in the next week or two. If you’re curious what my son thought about both books, check out his review over on my other blog – Best Kids’ Reads.
I’d watched The Maze Runner movie with my kids not long ago, so I knew basically what to expect from the book. I enjoyed the movie and was looking forward to reading the original story in book form. It didn’t disappoint!
The story follows Thomas, who finds himself suddenly without his memory and stranded in a strange place filled with other teenage boys. He soon discovers that they are in a glade surrounded by a huge stone maze, which is inhabited by dangerous, seemingly half-live, half-mechanical creatures (mostly at night, but also sometimes during the day). The boys have been trying to discover the secrets of the maze so that they can escape their captivity, but it soon becomes apparent that Thomas’s appearance in the maze (and the appearance of a girl, right after him) has changed things. In fact, the boys may not have long to find their way out before they’re all dead.
What I loved:
- Grievers. The Grievers (in case you haven’t seen the movie) were hideous creatures that roamed the maze, mostly at night. The Grievers had strange, mechanical appendages like razored claws and sharp needles. If a boy got to close to a Griever and got “stung,” they would die unless they received the antidote in time, and even then they would go through something horrible that the boys of the Glade called the Changing. The Grievers played an even bigger role in the book than they did in the movie – and they seemed even more hideous in many ways. Plus, I loved the eventual discovery of the Cliff, the Grievers’ home base. Even though I thought the movie did a great job of portraying the Grievers, I thought that all of the scenes with the Grievers were a lot more intense and exciting in the book!
- Glade society. I loved the idea that the boys in the Glade had worked out their own form of society, where each person had their place and contributed to the group as a whole. I was fascinated by the descriptions of the world that the boys had created for themselves. They even formed their own government of sorts, and most kids seemed happy to abide by the decisions that the government made. While in some ways, a few of their rules seemed brutal, I could see how they would feel the need to have a sense of order in such dangerous circumstances. I could also understand why they didn’t want to take a whole lot of risks – in their world, risks often meant death!
- The mysteries. Even though I had already seen the movie, so I knew SOME of the mysteries of the Glade and the maze, there were enough differences that I still found myself wondering about quite a few mysteries in the book. It seemed like there were a lot more clues in the book to unravel – the mysterious words on the walls of the maze, the word WICKED on the beetle bugs that were watching the Glade, the antidote to being stung – and lots more. These were all elements that didn’t appear in the movie (at least not in the same way), and I found myself really intrigued, wondering how they would all fit in to the overall story.
- Little slow in the middle. There was a point in the middle of the book where things seemed to be moving a little slowly, but I honestly think that this is one case where watching the movie first actually helped me. Since I knew where the book was headed, I could see what Dashner was building toward and I still felt a sense of anticipation to get there, even in the slower parts.
- Few plot holes. There were a few minor plot holes that confused me a bit, but didn’t ruin my overall enjoyment of the book. For instance, supposedly the boys had been coming to the Glade at a regular rate – one boy a month for the past two years. So there should have only been 24 boys there (actually, less since several boys had died). But there were WAY more than that, considering the number of kids who make it out alive in the end and the supposed number of boys who had died or been left behind. I was scratching my head a little at this.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Maze Runner. I thought it had just the right amount of action and suspense for a YA dystopian. And I’m definitely eager to find out what will happen in The Scorch Trials. Watch for my review of that one coming soon! Oh, and I started to read some of the extras that are included in the book (the secret files appear between the first and second books) and they were very intriguing. My son told me to stop reading them, though, because he says they have spoilers. So, I guess I’ll go back to them after I finish the series (though the hints that I did get from the files have me really interested to find out if they mean what I think they do!!). I give this book 4/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Want to know more about the collector’s edition and The Scorch Trials movie?
About the Author
James was born and raised in Georgia but now lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. He has four kids, which some might think is too many but he thinks is just right. Once upon a time, James studied accounting and worked in the field of finance, but has been writing full time for several years. (He doesn’t miss numbers. At all.)
In his free time, James loves to read, watch movies and (good) TV shows, snow ski, and read. (Reading was mentioned twice on purpose.) Most of all, he’s thankful that he gets to make a living writing stories and considers himself pretty much the luckiest guy on the planet.