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Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James DashnerThe Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) on June 5th 2014
Pages: 371

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.Everything is going to change.Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.Remember. Survive. Run.

Book Review: The Maze Runner By James Dashner

The Maze Runner Book Review 

The Maze Runner is a young adult dystopian story and if you haven’t already heard of it, you’re going to be hearing a lot about it soon. The film adaptation of this story has already hit cinema screens in the US and is scheduled for release in the UK on the 10th October 2014. It’s not hard to see why this story was snapped up by 20th Century Fox as it’s a gripping story full of twists and turns set in a world that will no doubt make an impression on the big screen.

This story starts when Thomas arrives at the Glade in the box. Thomas has absolutely no memories about his past or who he is and is very confused by his surroundings, which is to be expected given that the Glade is occupied up of a small group of teenage boys (no adults and no girls) and is enclosed within the confines of massive stone walls.

Thomas soon discovers that these boys are trapped in the Glade, which is surrounded by a huge maze, full of dangerous creatures called Grievers. Everyday, the walls open, revealing the Maze and the Gladers send out ‘runners’ to try and figure out a way out of the Maze. The Gladers have already been trapped for two years but they still haven’t found a way out.


Because every night, once the stone walls close, the walls of the maze change. Escape seems futile. Everyday is the same in the Glade, that is, until Thomas shows up, when everything starts to change. Ordinarily, only one new person arrives at the Glade a month, but the day after Thomas arrives, another person is delivered via the box. A girl. A girl that recognises Thomas, no less. Things are changing in the Glade and it seems like the time to finally escape has come – but only if they can figure out the code – and their escape mission will not be easy.

Although The Maze Runner is written in the third person, it follows Thomas as he tries to figure out what the hell is going on – what happened to him (and the other boys), where they are and what their purpose is. I didn’t connect as much with Thomas as I expected to but he is definitely a strong male lead and a great character to read about. Not all of the characters in the story like Thomas and I think that that feeling rubbed off slightly on me as there were times when I questioned whether I really trusted him. 

With so many character with little to no memory of who they are and where they’ve come from, it can be a little difficult to figure out which characters to trust and the success of this story is probably down the huge amount of suspense that the reader feels. It is not until the very end of the story that anything really becomes clear and when it does, you kinda wish you hadn’t found out what’s really going on.

Dashner has created a unique and terrifying world which will probably haunt me in my dreams tonight. It’s very Hunger Games-esque as you’ve got a group of young kids fighting for survival against what they assume is a system adults created to test them. (Why they are being tested, they have no idea). The difference is however, these kids are working as a group to try to survive so themes of friendship and how a society should function are important.

Although all the main characters are children, if their age was never mentioned, I could very well believe that this was a tale for adults. This is classified as a YA novel, however, there is nothing remotely ‘childish’ about this book. This is a serious tale of survival and I have to be honest, Dashner’s imagination frightens me.

There isn’t much romance in The Maze Runner but you can see that there is something developing between Thomas and Teresa, the only girl in the camp. There are some nice moments between these two but this definitely isn’t one of the main plot points though I look forward to this blossoming in the future books. I am a big fan of romance in YA books, but in this case, I didn’t really care that there wasn’t all that much of it because there was so much going on in terms of friendships and the developing ties between different characters.

All in all, The Maze Runner is definitely up there with top YA titles such as The Hunger Games and The 5th Wave and if you haven’t read it yet, then you absolutely must pick up a copy before the film comes out next month. The cliffhanger at the end of The Maze Runnermakes sure that readers will want to pick up the next book and I cannot wait to see how the plot develops from here. I absolutely tore through this book and finished it in no time, desperate to find out what was going on. Dashner has now been added to my list of favourite authors and I would give this story 5 stars simply for the terrifying world that Dashner has created.

Buy The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Amazon | Book Depository

Check out the trailer for the film adaptation of The Maze Runner, starring Dylan O’Brien, released in UK cinemas on the 10th October 2014.

If you liked this post, check out these:
Divergent Book Review
Divergent Film Review
The Hunger Games Book Review
The Hunger Games Film Review

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Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

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  1. 25th September 2014 / 7:50 PM

    I loved this book too! I agree with you that the author has created an amazing and terrifying world in this book! I loved the twists and characters and can&#39t wait to see the movie and read the rest of this series! Thanks for your comments 🙂

    Suz Reads

    • 4th November 2015 / 12:18 PM

      Love both the books and the films even though they are quite different from each other!

  2. tamalyn
    25th September 2014 / 7:54 PM

    yes please, i just loved all the books and cannot wait to see the movie, already saw the trailer and it looks just like i imagined it x

    • 4th November 2015 / 12:19 PM

      I think the films have been fantastic so far! Shame the second is supposedly completely different to the book version though :/

  3. Alex Sharrock
    28th September 2014 / 12:16 AM

    I loved this book too. the world building is immense. I can't wait to see the film. I think it is going to be one of the best book to movie adaptations of this year. I read that they have already made enough to start a sequel! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂 xxx

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries

    • 4th November 2015 / 12:19 PM

      I definitely think this is one of the best YA book to film adaptions! The first two films have been brilliant – let’s hope they continue that way!

  4. Hungry_Healthy_Happy
    3rd November 2015 / 2:33 PM

    This sounds like a book my husband would like. I will recommend it to him.

  5. raine_hp
    3rd November 2015 / 1:37 PM

    I got this book on kindle and hated it. Couldn’t get into it. Even tried to watch the movie and couldn’t get through it.

  6. Laura
    3rd November 2015 / 3:17 PM

    I haven’t read the book but I have seen the film and I loved it! xxx

  7. 3rd November 2015 / 6:18 PM

    Oh I haven’t read or seen the film but I know this isn’t for me. I know some people who would love this so will show them your review!

  8. 3rd November 2015 / 7:05 PM

    I haven’t seen the film, but my hubby has, not read the book though

  9. Leesha Starr
    3rd November 2015 / 7:18 PM

    I haven’t seen the first film yet but I’ll be waiting it soon and the second one. My friends rave on about the films.

  10. Beautyqueenuk
    3rd November 2015 / 7:39 PM

    I think this is a film I will enjoy more than the book and it is so rare that this happens to me, especially as I am such a book worm x

  11. PrettyLusciousThings
    3rd November 2015 / 8:01 PM

    I need to get on this Maze Runner lark a few people have told me how good it is.

  12. Ickle Pickle
    3rd November 2015 / 8:25 PM

    My son asked me watch the film with him, and I absolutely loved it. We can’t wait to see the second one. Kaz x

    • 4th November 2015 / 12:18 PM

      I’ve seen the second film twice now and think it’s great!

  13. Daniella Abraham
    3rd November 2015 / 9:34 PM

    I loved the first film so much, can’t wait to see the second one.

    • 4th November 2015 / 12:18 PM

      I’ve seen the second film twice now and loved it!

  14. 3rd November 2015 / 9:40 PM

    I’ve been meaning to watch The Maze Runner. Not sure I’d enjoy reading it though as it is a YA and I normally go for more adult titles.

    • Laura @ What's Hot?
      4th November 2015 / 12:17 PM

      Even though this is a young adult title, I feel like if you swapped all the teenagers for adults, this would be a very adult book!

  15. 3rd November 2015 / 10:07 PM

    I was a big fan of the film but found the books lacking in narrative tension. That being said Scorch Trials is meant to be the better books of the franchise.

    • 4th November 2015 / 12:11 PM

      Oh really? I really liked the books and the films! I thought the way the book was written made it even scarier and more gripping than the films

  16. 3rd November 2015 / 11:03 PM

    I have to admit I did enjoy the books – so different from the films though, looking forward to seeing what they have done with the second film. x

    • 4th November 2015 / 12:10 PM

      Apparently the second film is COMPLETELY different to the book (basically a new story)!

  17. 4th November 2015 / 12:08 AM

    I am yet to read this so I will be looking it up on my Kindle. Sounds interesting.

  18. Jessica Dearnley
    4th November 2015 / 9:40 PM

    This sounds really interesting. I need to read more books. I bought one to read on the train but keep forgetting it!

  19. Lina
    4th November 2015 / 10:42 PM

    Sounds interesting and my kind of book – I’ll have to keep an eye out for the film too – I guess it will be on DVD soon.

  20. The Mummy Balancing Act
    4th November 2015 / 10:32 PM

    I’m more of a film girl than books these days, but I find book adaptations to be mostly good.

  21. 6th November 2015 / 9:19 PM

    I loved the movie and would like to read a book too as I was told it’s much better.

  22. Mummy To The Max
    7th November 2015 / 12:50 PM

    This book looks like a great read. I will look out for it so I can download it to my kindle.

  23. bericebaby
    8th November 2015 / 3:39 PM

    You know what I’m like Laura lol – Ive seen the movie but haven’t read the book (yet).
    Thanks for hosting this 😀
    Charlotte x

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