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The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Review by Katherine

The Maze Runner Book Cover 

“The Maze Runner” is an exciting, gripping dystopian novel full of twists and turns. It follows a teen named Thomas’s adventures through a gargantuan maze to find out why him and his new friends are trapped there, and most importantly, who did it. James Dashner has created an enchanting and dark world that is so unlike our own that we can only wonder what horrors enabled this version of Earth to become so wicked. “The Maze Runner” is an amazing read for anyone who liked “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent”. 


In the beginning of the book, Thomas wakes up inside a strange elevator-like contraption knowing nothing except English and his name. He is pulled out of the box by a large group of teenage boys that are all around his age, and finds himself is a large clearing with houses surrounded by stone walls. The boys tell him that outside the walls there is a maze, and they think that is the only way out. They send “Runners” there every day to try to map it out. After Thomas spends a day inside the clearing with his new friends, the elevator-like “The Box” comes up again. This time, there is a girl inside of it. She appears to be asleep, and she grips a note in her hand. It says: SHE’S THE LAST ONE. EVER. With the rest of the boys in chaos over the note, Thomas knows that this girl is important to their escape, and plans to break everyone out of this strange place soon. Unknown to Thomas, there are many strange and difficult obstacles awaiting him. Will he escape, or will he be stuck inside the Maze forever?


This book is a perfect combination of dystopian and adventure. What caused someone to put so many kids in a maze? Are they expected to escape the maze? And why is the girl so important? These are all questions I was asking myself as I read this book. I admired Thomas’s courage in the face of danger, Teresa’s determination, Minho’s fighting spirit, Newt’s desire to protect, and Chuck’s optimism throughout the entire book. They are such strong characters and so easy to bond with. Except for one. Teresa is so secretive and mysterious that I find myself wondering how Thomas formed a bond with her so quickly. In fact, she rarely shows any emotions and didn’t even really seem to care that she couldn’t remember anything about her past. She is so nonchalant about the gigantic maze that everyone except for Thomas suspects that she knows something they don’t. It’s hard to decipher whether she is being secretive or emotionless. 


I only had one problem with this book, and that was that the beginning is very confusing. Since it is told from a 3rd person point of view, Thomas’s perspective, it’s very hard to understand what is going on. Since Thomas doesn’t know anything, neither do we, and all of the boys are talking like Thomas already knows everything, even though he doesn’t. To make it even harder, the boys use made-up words like “shank” and “klunk”, none of which get explained until a little farther into the book. I was beginning to feel so confused that I almost quit, but I kept reading and was extremely glad I did because this wonderful book was totally worth it. 


Overall, “The Maze Runner” is an exceptional book and definitely worth reading. The characters, the danger, the emotions, and the friendships feel so incredibly real that you almost feel like you are part of the story. The problems I had with the book are easy to overlook, seeing that most of them get explained later on. The other books in the Maze Runner series are amazing too. “The Scorch Trials” and “The Death Cure” are the next two books in the trilogy, and “The Kill Order” and “The Fever Code” are both prequels that help you get an inside look on “The Maze Runner”. I love to recommend books to people, and this one is usually at the top of my recommendation list!

Checkout the Maze Runner at the Newport Beach Public Library.

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