The Maze Runner, written by James Dashner, is the first book of the Maze Runner series. The series consists of six books total and the three main books, The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, have all been adapted into movies, although they are quite different from the books. The book was published by Delacorte Press in 2009 and the genre is Young Adult-Dystopian-Science-Fiction. This 375-page book is jam-packed with adventure and surprises that will have you never wanting to put it down.

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), left, Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), Frypan (Dexter Darden), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) searched for answers in “Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which appeared in theatres in 2018. Photo courtesy of Joe Alblas, Twentieth Century Fox

The book is set in a giant inescapable maze, in the distant future. The story is told from a third-person limited point of view. The mood or tone of the book is suspenseful with some hope here and there. Thomas, the main protagonist of the story, finds himself trapped in a huge maze with absolutely no memories of his past, other than his first name. When he arrives at the Glade, a large field of crops and trees, he is surrounded by 50 teenage boys who also can’t remember their past. Thomas is full of questions. He soon finds out that the boys, who call themselves “the Gladers”, had been there for two years already, trying to find a way out. Thomas discovers that every month, a new boy is sent there. It was like clockwork until the day after Thomas arrives; the first-ever girl is sent to the Glade, and she carries a very strange message: “Everything is going to change” (page 57). As the book goes on, Thomas continues to uncover the terrifying truth of the maze and the reason they were sent there. Now the Gladers need to find a way out before it’s too late.

Thomas is the main character in the book. He, like everyone else in the Glade, is unable to remember the past. He looks about 16 years old (his age is also erased from memory) and he has brown hair and eyes. Thomas is quite courageous and gallant. However, despite being smart, he tends to act irrationally and not think things through before he makes choices. He is also a very curious guy, he likes to ask lots of questions and hates when people don’t answer or don’t tell him the whole truth.

Teresa is another main character, she is the girl that was sent up in the box. She, like Thomas, seems to be about 16 years old. She has raven black hair and piercing blue eyes. She is very smart and analytical; she likes to think things through. She and Thomas become quite close and work together while in the Glade.

There are many secondary characters such as Minho, Newt, Alby, Chuck, Gally and Frypan.

It is very difficult to choose a favourite part of this book, but one of my favourites was when Minho and Gally got into an argument and started acting like 5-year-olds. I like this part because I think it’s funny how they act so childish, despite being around 16 years old.

“‘Gally,’ Minho said in a calmer voice, ‘you’re nothing but a sissy who has never, not once, asked to be a Runner or tried out for it. You don’t have the right to talk about things you don’t understand. So shut your mouth. ‘Gally stood up again, fuming. ‘Say one more thing like that and I’ll break your neck, right here in front of everybody.’ Spit flew from his mouth as he spoke. Minho laughed, then raised the palm of his hand and shoved Gally in the face” (pages 161-162).

The author’s purpose is to entertain the reader with a very interesting story. I do not believe that the purpose was to teach us anything or to inform the reader of anything in particular.

I absolutely love this book! I think that it’s very well written and the plot is super captivating! I love the characters so much, particularly Newt, the second in command of the Glade. It’s so full of action and surprises that there is never a slow or dull moment. Most of the events in the story were quite easy to visualize because the author, James Dashner, uses lots of details and does a good job of describing what was happening. For example, when Thomas first wakes up in Box, the thing that’s bringing him to the Glade, the author used lots of detail so that the reader can feel his panic and fear.

“He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air. Metal ground against metal; a lurching shudder shook the floor beneath him. He fell down at the sudden movement and shuffled backward on his hands and feet, drops of sweat beading on his forehead despite the cool air. His back struck a hard metal wall; he slid along it until he hit the corner of the room. Sinking to the floor, he pulled his legs up tight against his body, hoping his eyes would soon adjust to the darkness. With another jolt, the room jerked upward like an old lift in a mine shaft. Harsh sounds of chains and pulleys, like the workings of an ancient steel factory, echoed through the room, bouncing off the walls with a hollow, tinny whine. The lightless elevator swayed back and forth as it ascended, turning the boy’s stomach sour with nausea; a smell like burnt oil invaded his senses, making him feel worse. He wanted to cry, but no tears came; he could only sit there, alone, waiting” (page 1).

Several parts of this book made me quite emotional, for example, the death of one of Thomas’s friends. I was feeling both sad and angry when I read parts like that. I found it really interesting how the author came up with some of the elements of the story, like the Grievers, the monsters that live in the maze. His description was really good and I thought it was cool how he could come up with things like that. Another thing I thought was interesting was the mysteriousness of who sent the Gladers into the maze “‘We don’t know jack about the stupid Creators” (page 214).

James Dashner, the author of the Maze Runner series, was born November 26, 1972, in Austell, Georgia, USA. He has written and published five book series: The Jimmy Fincher Saga, 13th Reality series, The Maze Runner series, The Infinity Rings series, and The Mortality Doctrine series. He has is married to a woman named Lynette. Dashner has won awards for both The 13th Reality and The Maze Runner. Did you know that he even had a small part in the Maze Runner movie?

I recommend this book to people ages 9 and up. It is a pretty easy read and there isn’t really any difficult vocabulary. The only thing is that some events may be frightening for younger readers, such as large half-animal, half-machine creatures that guard the maze and attack some of the boys. There are also many mentions of death and getting killed. But all the same, this book would entertain a large range of readers and age groups. If you want a book that will keep you on the edge of your chair, this is the book for you.

This story is full of suspense and action and it will definitely have you wanting to read the rest of the series. This book will make you happy, sad, angry, the whole package. I strongly suggest that you read it. Especially if you like a good sci-fi book. I like this book because I think it is well-written, the plot is really good and the characters are described well. It also is super packed with surprises and plot twists; things I didn’t see coming. Overall I think that a lot of people would like this book just as much as I do.

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