Maze Runner

Editorial Review (School Library Journal)

Grade 6–10—Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in “the glade” for two years, trying to find a way to escape through a maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change. There are some great, fast-paced action scenes, particularly those involving the nightmarish Grievers who plague the boys. Thomas is a likable protagonist who uses the information available to him and his relationships (including his ties to the girl, Teresa) to lead the Gladers. Unfortunately, the question of whether the teens will escape the maze is answered 30 pages before the book ends, and the intervening chapter loses momentum.

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Science fiction for young adults and teens and older children: "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Review by “zoeish ‘Curiouser and curiouser'” [giving it two stars out of five]

Others have compared this novel to Lord of the Flies because it is a survival-mode group of boys, trying to figure how to live together . . . I think that Lord of the Flies was less about survival-mode, and more about how humans relate to one-another, a much more complex story told, based on a premise /backdrop built to illuminate same.

This is more about circumstance, and survival and the unraveling of this mystery. It drags us blind, kicking and screaming to its “revelations”.

. . . pretty much foretelling what and why these young people are here. And, as expected, the answer leaves this book open-ended enough for a #2 to come. Yes it’s a “dark” book, but that doesn’t necessarily make it good.

I think this could translate better as a film script, with exciting visuals and foreboding music and special effects, as the humanity of these characters are never truly explored to any satisfaction, nor are they very likable.

Review by K. Hernandez “DailyReadz – One Great Book . . .” [giving it five stars]

I actually read the first books of James Dashner’s “13th Reality” series, The Journal of Curious Letters, a couple of years ago and was quite impressed. Then my library never got the 2nd book, so I sorta forgot about him for a while, until everyone in the whole world started talking about The Maze Runner. And…. Whoohoo! What a story. Imagine you wake up in a dark elevator-type thing, rising slowly for a long long time (like, half an hour) and you have no idea where you are… or WHO you are. Thomas has zero memory when the elevator (The Box) deposits him in The Glade, a large area enclosed between 4 hundred-foot-high stone walls. It is large enough for a few rough buildings, a small forest and a farm, of sorts. And living there are about 50 or 60 other boys, all who arrived at The Glade via the box, with an equal lack of memories. Outside the walls is an enormous, ivy-covered maze, which appears to have no exit. Every night the doors in the walls close to enclose the boys in The Glade, and protect them from terrible creatures that lurk in the Maze. Why are they there? How did they get there? And more importantly, how do they get out? No one knows.

Review by Craig Everett [giving it five stars]

The Maze Runner is a tremendously gripping work of young adult science fiction. Dashner pulled me into it in chapter one and never let go. In terms of literary parallels, I would say that The Maze Runner could best be described as Ender’s Game meets Lord of the Flies.

The character arc of the protagonist Thomas was brilliant. The story begins with Thomas entering a dystopian civilization (called “The Glade”) populated by unsupervised teenage boys. Thomas has no memory of anything prior to that moment. He soon learns that each of the other boys had arrived the same way over a two year period. The Glade sits at the center of a massive and unsolvable maze filled with horrifying and deadly creatures called grievers.

Throughout the story, Thomas’ character is slowly revealed to the reader as it is being revealed to himself. It was very effective. Throughout most of the book, neither the reader nor the character himself really know whether he is the hero or the villain.

The story moves at a blistering pace, barely leaving the reader time to breathe. Dashner has a very crisp and enjoyable writing style, filled with vivid description that puts the reader directly in the middle of the sights, sounds and action. The plot twist at the end took me by surprise. I had thought I had it all figured out…

Parents will like the fact that there was no sexual content and the violence did not achieve the level of gore. The fake profanity was somewhat excessive, though. Instead of using real swear words (which of course would have been worse), Dashner made up a brand new lexicon of fake profanity. He then used it fairly gratuitously, which was a bit distracting at times.

The Maze Runner is a truly great work of YA science fiction – the best I’ve read in a while. I would be very surprised if this book does not become an instant classic of the genre.

Throughout the story, Thomas’ character is slowly revealed to the reader as it is being revealed to himself. It was very effective. Throughout most of the book, neither the reader nor the character himself really know whether he is the hero or the villain.

The story moves at a blistering pace, barely leaving the reader time to breathe. Dashner has a very crisp and enjoyable writing style, filled with vivid description that puts the reader directly in the middle of the sights, sounds and action. The plot twist at the end took me by surprise. I had thought I had it all figured out…

Parents will like the fact that there was no sexual content and the violence did not achieve the level of gore. The fake profanity was somewhat excessive, though. Instead of using real swear words (which of course would have been worse), Dashner made up a brand new lexicon of fake profanity. He then used it fairly gratuitously, which was a bit distracting at times.

The Maze Runner is a truly great work of YA science fiction – the best I’ve read in a while. I would be very surprised if this book does not become an instant classic of the genre.

Science Fiction for young adults, teens, and older children, especially males

ISBN-13:  978-0385737951

Amazon ranking for books in print: #787 on May 17, 2013

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