Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner
James Dashner
Delacorte Press
Published October 6, 2009

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

With limited memories of his previous life, Thomas arrives in a frightening world, trapped in a hostile maze with fifty other boys. Before he is fully acclimated to his new home, an unprecedented event occurs: a girl arrives, claiming she will be the last person to join them before collapsing into a coma. Thomas reels,feeling that this girl is familiar to him. He can’t stop thinking about her or feeling an intense desire to become a Runner, a member of the elite group of boys who set out into the maze daily, attempting to create a map to the exit.

When the group’s leader, and the leader of the Runners become trapped in the maze, Thomas rushes in to rescue them without considering the consequences: a night surrounded by fierce monsters called Grievers. As he struggles to survive the night, Thomas begins to understand what the boys must do in order to escape the maze. When the girl confesses that she has triggered the ending of the way of life the boys endure, Thomas realizes they must make their move now.

Though the opening is clouded with the intense confusion of the protagonist, the story and its world eventually becomes more clear, and readers are able to invest in Thomas and his friends. In addition to the unique dystopian setting, Dashner creates language used by the boys in place of profanity. While cleverly conceived, the words are overused to the point of obnoxiousness. The Maze Runner contains some dark elements. For instance, a Griever’s sting causes its victim to have a mental breakdown and to experience horrible memories from the past. Grievers attack the boys, and sometimes each other. However, the relationships between the characters are touching and the story’s tension builds steadily. The twist ending makes it difficult for readers not to immediately begin the second installment of the series.

The movie based on the book The Maze Runner is expected to hit the big screen in September 2014.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
No profanity. Characters use alternate words in place of swearing.

Sexual Content
When the girl arrives, a few of the boys make comments claiming her. Before anyone can lay a hand on her, the leader makes it clear that harming her in any way will not be tolerated.

Spiritual Content

Half-machine, half-animal creatures called Grievers roam the maze at night, attacking and stinging any boys in their paths. Stings cause a reaction referred to as the Changing, which can cause some mad or violent outbursts.

Drug Content
A serum must be taken to save anyone stung by a Griever.



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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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