Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

mazerunnerTitle: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from publisher
First line: He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is a mind-blowing dystopian novel. I sped through the last hundred pages, reading as fast as I could to find out how it ended. And then the ending was astonishing, and now I can’t stand the fact that I have to wait a whole year for book two in the trilogy.

In The Maze Runner, Thomas wakes up on an elevator. He knows his name is Thomas, but that’s all he knows – his memory has been wiped. The elevator opens in to a place called the Glade, a square piece of property that exists at the center of a huge maze of stone walls. The Glade has four doors in the walls that surround it; the doors open onto the maze during the day and shut every night. Every thirty days, another teenage boy is delivered to the Glade. The boys are trying to solve the maze, a feat that seems impossible, because every night, the walls in the maze move.

Thomas has no memory of life before the maze, but for some reason the Glade feels familiar to him. He also knows that he’s supposed to be a Runner, one of the boys charged with exploring the Maze each day while the doors are open – and before the Grievers come out.

James Dashner has created a unique vision of the future, one that is as terrifying as it is mystifying. This world is full of interesting characters: Thomas, our hero who can’t follow the rules when it means leaving someone to die; Alby, the leader of the Gladers, who is more afraid of going back to the real world than staying in the Glade; Chuck, who just wants to go home to a family who loves him; Newt, the one who believes Thomas may be the answer to it all.

The Maze Runner is a very visual book – the images of the Maze, the Glade, the Homestead are all well-drawn. The Grievers are disgusting and horrifying. This book would make a fantastic film. I absolutely can’t wait to read the second – and third – installments in this trilogy.

Highly recommended.

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60 Responses to Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

  1. Wendy says:

    I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of The Maze Runner and couldn’t agree more with your review. It was an awesome book, and I am very excited to read the next ones in the series.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Wendy – I know! I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long for the second book.

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  3. I was just over at another blog where someone had this on their wish list and was thinking this sounded good. I am glad to hear that it actually is! Thanks for your great review, Carrie.
    .-= Literary Feline´s last blog ..TGIF: Random Fun. Not so Bookish Thoughts. Well, Mostly Not. =-.

  4. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    I love dystopian fiction. Is this suitable for the tween crowd? I’m thinking we might need to hunt it down on audio.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..The Best of…Kevin Demetroff’s Top 10 Books (Part I) =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Sandy – I’m going to let my tweens read it – it doesn’t have any sexual content, but there is definitely violence and a bit of blood.

  5. Oh I have to mark this review and come back! I’m about half-way through now, so I don’t want to read your review, but I’m sure I’ll be finished by the end of the day! I even had dreams about it all last night!
    .-= rhapsodyinbooks´s last blog ..Sunday Salon – Review of The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson =-.

  6. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads

    Uh oh. I feel a book buying expedition on the horizon. This sounds great.
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Review: Fishing Journals by Louis Gary Lamit =-.

  7. Andreea says:

    This book sounds interesting. Thanks for your great review!

  8. I’m so happy to see that you think this is a winner! I’m thrilled to have received an ARC, but just haven’t got to it yet. You have encouraged me. 🙂

  9. Kathy says:

    Wow! Everyone seems to be loving this one. I think I need to add it to my wish list.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Review and Giveaway: Blame =-.

  10. Meghan says:

    I’m thrilled that this is so good! I have an ARC and I’m reading it very soon. Now I can’t wait!
    .-= Meghan´s last blog ..The Sunday Salon: Free Time! =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Meghan – just make sure you have lots of uninterrupted reading time – you won’t want to put it down!

  11. I have this one in Mt. TBR… Glad to see you enjoyed it! Thanks for the great review!
    .-= Melissa @ Melissa’s Bookshelf´s last blog ..Audiobook Review: A Wizard of Earthsea =-.

  12. Melody says:

    This sounds good!! I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the review! 🙂
    .-= Melody´s last blog ..Mailbox Monday =-.

  13. stacybuckeye says:

    This one sounds good!
    .-= stacybuckeye´s last blog ..The Xibalba Murders, by Lyn Hamilton =-.

  14. Ladybug says:

    This sounds like an exiting book! I’ve just opened my mind to dystopian fiction this year, The Hunger Games was my first.
    .-= Ladybug´s last blog ..It’s all about Monday =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Ladybug – If you want to try a dystopian novel for grown-ups, my favorite is Children of Men by P.D. James. (It’s very different from the film adaptation.)

  15. Donna says:

    I read the ARC also – could not put it down. I liked it even better than the Hunger Games, and I loved the Hunger Games. This is going to be another fantastic trilogy.

  16. S. Krishna
    Twitter: skrishna

    I’ve been hearing so much about this book all of a sudden! Your review has definitely made me want to read it.
    .-= S. Krishna´s last blog ..BBAW: My Posts =-.

  17. Pingback: Review of the YA book “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner « Rhapsodyinbooks’s Weblog

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  19. lisa says:


  20. lisa says:


  21. Great review!!! I so agree with you that it would make an excellent movie.
    .-= Bookfool, aka Nancy´s last blog ..The Maze Runner by James Dashner -YA Dystopian Challenge read #2 =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Nancy – he’s a very visual writer – I could see everything in my mind as I read. I think the Grievers would be horrifying on screen!

  22. Pingback: The Sunday Salon – November 29, 2009 (The “buy-books-for-the-holidays” edition) | BOOKS AND MOVIES

  23. Derrik says:

    can someone please tell me where can I find some pictures about the Glade? Maze? Grievers? I really want to see it for myself. Thanks!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Derrik – I haven’t seen any pictures like that, but if I come across some, I’ll let you know.

  24. Rob says:

    hello all i I am the father of a 9 year old boy who loves to read and came home from his 9 year old friends house a girl . she gave it to him to read saying she has read it is this a book for 9 year old children? thanks in advance

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Rob – this book is definitely written for an older age group than that. I’m letting my 12 year old read it, but it is a bit violent in parts for a 9 year old, in my opinion.

  25. Anna says:

    I absolutely loved the book. It was unpredictable, very visual and it was unique. Although I find the author a little bit odd, (He blogs about the weirdest things) The Maze Runner was amazing.

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  30. rosa says:

    i love this book and the second book comes out october 2010 idk what day but am waiting for it 🙂

  31. nicholas says:

    I just read this book im 11 and love it i am on scorch trials now and it is just as good so far

  32. Violet says:

    I loved this book. im using it for my school book report, and I cant wait for my classmates to read it. The scenes are so visual! I couldnt put it down. A true page turner! I cannot wait untill the next on!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Violet – number two is already out – it’s called The Scorch Trials. 🙂

  33. Violet says:

    next one* sorry

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