The Maze Runner by James Dashner

11 Dec


Dashner, James. The Maze Runner. Delacorte Press, 2009. 375 pages. ISBN 978-0-385-73794-4

Plot Summary:

Thomas woke up in a black box with no memory as to who he was except for his first name. When the black box finally opens he is surrounded by a bunch of other boys about around the same age, not a girl in site. The other boys eventually explain to him that they have no memories either and woke up in this strange place they call the Glade. Upon inspection, Thomas discovers that the Glade is in the middle of a ginormous maze will walls that tower over the Glade. The Glade has everything they need to live, but they have Runners who go out into the maze every day and draw maps so that they can hopefully solve it and leave. Turns out the walls move every day, so it is really hard to solve and at night grievers come out, deadly creatures that are half mechanical half animal. The day after Thomas arrives the black box brings another person. This has never happened before, things run like clockwork in the Glade. When the doors open and there is a girl inside things start to go downhill from there. The end is near.

Critical Evaluation:

Harrowing yet hopeful, this dystopian novel is packed with thrilling and suspenseful moments that will captivate the minds of young readers. After being thrown into a deathly dangerous maze and made to participate in these trials, Thomas must take action and think quick in order to survive. This is a fast paced thriller with tons of unexpected twists, from things such as the grievers, part mechanical and part animal, to a girl showing up in the Glade spouting that it’s the end. Each character is has their unique task they are appointed throughout the trials, but they don’t necessarily stick and seem to jump around from character to character at will. It is written in a narrative with a focus on Thomas, the main protagonist and hero of this story. Don’t be too quick to fall in love with any character because you never know what might happen to them in this hazardous adventure. This book discusses the age old question of whether it is okay to sacrifice the few for the many and Thomas’s belief on this subject seems to change as the story continues. With a lot of action, intrigue, unanswered questions, and possibly a little love, this story is begging for a sequel.

Reader’s Annotation:

The Gladers live inside a giant maze with moving walls, until Thomas shows up and then everything falls apart. Who is Thomas and how does he fit into it all?


James Dashner is an American author of children’s fantasy series and adult books. His novel The Journal of Curious Letters was chosen for a 2008 Borders Original Voices pick. However, Delacorte is responsible for publishing his new series, The Maze Runner, which came out in the Fall of 2009, the sequels being The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, which just came out a couple months ago.

He recently announced that he will be releasing a prequel to The Maze Runner Trilogy entitled The Kill Order, it is to be released in August 2012. James Dashner was born in Georgia. He went to Brigham Young University. He currently lives in South Jordan City, Utah and is married with four children.


Science Fiction/dystopian

Curriculum Ties:


Booktalking Ideas:

Thomas has lost his memory and woke up inside of a humongous maze.

Reading Level/Interest Level:


Challenge Issues:


Why I included this book:

This book could rival the Hunger Games and I thought it was a good book to add to my collection.

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Posted by on December 11, 2011 in LIBR 265-10 Database Project/Blog


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