The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Goodreads: The Maze Runner
Series: Maze Runner Trilogy #1

Summary: Thomas wakes up in an elevator remembering nothing but his first name.  When the doors open, he finds himself surrounded by a pack of boys who call themselves the Gladers, and who all arrived in the same place just as he did.  They formed a community within the four walls that protect them from the surrounding Maze and the monsters it contains—giant mechanical horrors known as Grievers. Each day the boys send out a series of runners into the Maze in the hopes that they will find a way out.  When a girl arrives in the elevator, however, bearing the message that she is the very last, the boys realize that they only have a few days to decode the secret of the Maze and find their way home—or they will all perish.

Review: The Maze Runner clearly markets itself as a “boy book” with its emphasis on action and minimal attention to characterization.  Each of the characters falls fairly neatly into a type, allowing readers to feel acquainted with them without the need for drawn-out interactions or analyses.  This allows the author to focus on the mystery of the Glade and the surrounding Maze, which he does superbly by immersing the readers in the same confusion felt by Thomas.  Readers see events unfold through his eyes with no accompanying explanations by the narrator.  They feel the same disorientation by being thrown into a strange place, the same feeling of being an outsider when they struggle to understand the slang used by the Gladers.  The experience can prove frustrating at times, but it does keep suspense up.  In the end, even readers not strictly in love with Dashner’s writing will probably continue the series just to learn how it all ends.

Published: 2009

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