Review: The Maze Runner

the maze runnerThis review is spoiler-free!

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.

It feels like I waited YEARS to read this book. In reality, it has been only a couple of months – I saw a trailer for The Maze Runner‘s film adaptation when I was in the theater for Divergent back in March.

This book was published in two thousand and nine. I’ve known about it for a few years. I thought it looked cool. But I wasn’t that interested in reading it until I saw the movie trailer. Since then, I’ve spent the past few weeks anxiously checking the library shelves to see if a copy was available yet. Finally, one was! Whee! I read it in two days because THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. Following are some of my thoughts on it.

The story is so suspenseful!

This review is spoiler-free because… most of mine are, now, but more importantly it’s spoiler-free because I want anyone who hasn’t read it to do so. And it’s just not as much fun if you know about the BIG REVEAL at the end.

And when I say “at the end,” I do mean at the end. Not two-thirds of the way through. Not three-quarters through. At the end. James Dashner created a hellish world, told a fast-paced story, and kept up the suspense until the last possible moment. The Maze is a huge mystery for almost all of the story and yet the story is so good that I didn’t grow bored, didn’t go, “Just hurry up already! Tell me why those kids are there!”

Good job.

There was room for a romance, but the author (thankfully) didn’t include it.

So, that girl shows up. In a lot of books, especially YA books, especially YA dystopian books, this would automatically result in LOTS OF SNOGGING. Well, it didn’t here. I have no idea what happens in books two and three, but in The Maze Runner Thomas and the girl are simply friends. Yay!

Aside: Part of me wonders if this has anything to do with Thomas being a guy. I can’t think of any YA dystopian stories with female protagonists who don’t fall in love with at least one person. Whether or not James Dashner did this intentionally due to Thomas’ gender, it’s certainly food for thought.

Is it bad that I kind of want to visit the Maze?

I don’t want to live there, of course. Agh. No way. But it would be fascinating to wander through for a time, wouldn’t it? Provided that you wouldn’t get eaten or anything? It’s just so surreal, this idea of kids living like rats in a maze.

I love the cover!

Just… wow. It’s creepy and beautiful and mysterious. Very simple, but probably one of my favorites now.

The Maze Runner is one of my favorite dystopian stories. Ever.

It combines many aspects of my other favorites – but without feeling like a copy. Its pacing and violence are similar to that of The Hunger Games. I also like how both stories are about ruthless games played by children. You just can’t stop reading, even when you want to, even late at night when you know you should have been asleep long ago.

The Maze Runner also reminds me of Lord of the Flies, a book I read for school – and complained about. A lot. Eventually I grew to appreciate that book, and I appreciate its echos in this much newer story. In The Maze Runner, OVERALL the kids get along fairly well, with an organized government and job system, but I did like the tensions between certain members.

…and anyway sometimes their government IS a bit nasty. I hated the Banishment scene.

-~-

The Maze Runner is, without a doubt, one of the best books I have read so far this year. It’s horrifying, compelling, and very well written. I can certainly understand why it will be adapted into a movie. I can’t wait to read The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order!

Have you read The Maze Runner? What did you think of it?

Rating: 4/5

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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22 Responses to Review: The Maze Runner

  1. matttblack42 says:

    First!

    This book always did look interesting, but I never knew what it was about. Anyway, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that kept me up late at night reading, and I miss that feeling.
    *adds book to “To-Read” list.*

    • matttblack42 says:

      Slightly off-topic: Have you ever read The Book Thief? Just wondering.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Same here. Before reading it, I’d heard a lot of good things about it and I thought it looked cool but I didn’t actually know anything about it except that it was sci fi.
      Yay!

      And in answer to your second comment, I have not. Yet. I tried and couldn’t get into it. Someday, perhaps…

      • matttblack42 says:

        You haven’t? Looks like we can no longer be friends. Goodbye forever. *unfollows*

        Nah, but seriously, it’s a good book, though you wouldn’t know it from the prologue. The beginning’s a little weird and disjointed, but it improves a lot as you go along. If you do read it, you’re going to need some tissues and a hug, so plan accordingly.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Pfft.

      That may explain why I couldn’t get into it.
      Well, I’ll be sure to request tissues and a hug from you when I start it, then. 😛

  2. Miriam Joy says:

    I’ve heard vaguely of it, but never really knew anything about it. I might check it out.

  3. themagicviolinist says:

    Ugh, you really liked it? I only thought it was okay. 😛 It took me forever to get into it, and I was so annoyed by the slang James Dashner came up with. It sounded to me like he was trying too hard to be “hip and cool.” The concept sounded awesome to me, but I don’t think it delivered.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I’ll admit, the slang was a bit weird. Even towards the end of the book (when I should have been used to those words) I kept misreading “shank” and “klunk” and “shuck” as “skunk.” It was slightly distracting.
      Idk, I think it’s one of the best dystopians. Right up there with THG, miles above Divergent and Matched and that stuff.

  4. My son has been bugging me to read this series and I’d like to before the movie gets out, but I’ve had so many others to read. I think I’ll have to move it up on the list.

  5. Cait says:

    I have this on reserve at the library RIGHT NOW. I borrowed it out once before, buuut…for some reason I never got around to it? I think I read 1 page. But, yessss, I want to read it so bad mostly because the movie *coughwithallthoseawesomeactorscought* and also because it’s dystopian AND looks different to the run of the mill dystopians out there. x) I’m excited!
    Also: I LOVE the way you review. Honestly. It always makes me want to read the book…or burn the book. You know. Whatever works. I just love how you write them (and also that they’re spoiler free.) XD

  6. Bonnie says:

    YES THIS BOOK IS THE BEST. THE SEQUELS ARE ALSO VERY EXCELLENT. SORRY FOR THE CAPS I REALLY LIKE THIS BOOK OKAY

  7. Mom says:

    “….reminds me of Lord of the Flies, a book I read for school – and complained about. A lot. Eventually I grew to appreciate that book, and I appreciate its echos in this much newer story.”

    Good to hear that you appreciate some of what I assigned you to read.

  8. Thomas says:

    Ah, so glad you enjoyed this book! I’m curious about how the film adaptation will go, and I find it interesting how you point out Thomas’s lack of love interest and how it might be related to his gender. I hope you enjoy the second and third installments in the Maze Runner series. (:

    PS: My favorite part of these books still might be Thomas’s name. Not sure why, just because.

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