Monday, April 26, 2010

Review of The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Pages: 374
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Pub. Date: October 6, 2009
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is black. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark. The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl springs up—the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might be able to find their way home . . . wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable. And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers—if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind."

You know the moment you are reading a book and you are hooked? You NEED to know what is going are desperate.  Your heart starts pounding, you can't breathe easily, you are gasping for air, anxiety takes hold of you, and you are on the edge of your seat?  Please tell me that I am not the only one....although that does sound mildly reminsicent of my asthma attack last year at kickboxing class...but I digress.  This crazy edge of my seat, NEED TO KNOW NOW experience was how I felt about this book. I was enthralled. I lost an entire day and night to this incredible book.  James Dashner's The Maze Runner was truly addicting and an unforgettable read.

Thomas can't remember where he came from, his parents, or his life before the Glade.  He finds himself in this bizarre world surrounded by walls and a maze.  There are other boys in his situation (think Lord of the Flies) and they have learned to make this place "home."  What is even more disturbing is the fact that there are crazy animal-monsters called Grievers that surround the Glade's walls and come out at night with basically one mission: To destroy humans.  I'm going to be honest. The Grievers are the stuff of my own personal nightmares. Seriously. I have an irrational fear of needles and I also don't enjoy slugs. at. all.  The description of these Grievers included both needles and slugs; needless to say, I vomited in my mouth a little just reading/imagining these volatile creatures.  

Anyway, Thomas is learning the ropes and becomes friends Chuck and Minho, who both happen to be my favorite characters.  Chuck is just simply endearing.  Thomas really wants to be a runner and work with Minho, but he isn't sure why he is drawn to the job.  There are various jobs and the way the Glade functioned I thought was pretty interesting. These boys even have their own slang/vernacular (klunk-love it!)  as well as laws, which keeps the "order."  Everything seems hunky dory- or as normal as possible if you live in a maze- until one day this all changes.  A girl, the first girl ever, arrives to the Glade delivering an ominous message.  Without giving too much away, the tension increases and their world turns upside down, even more than it already is!  Simply stated......Thomas must find a way to survive.   

I can't remember the last time that I questioned a book so much as I did while reading this novel. I had SO many questions that I wanted answered, but brilliantly, Dashner was holding out on me, which only increased my suspense.  I'm going to get a little nerdy and teacher-eque, but bear with me. I also loved the fact that this book required me to use many comprehension strategies. I would LOVE to discuss this book with my literacy classes, because it really required me to infer, question, synthesize, predict, etc.  It was truly a smart read and a puzzle that I was dying to put together. My poor husband, Mike, had to deal with my one million questions.  Mike, surprisingly, read this book before me, which usually never happens.  He saw the cover, read the synopsis and was hooked.  So, it was pretty cool to be able to discuss and question him as I was reading, because Maze Runner is truly a book to be disected and discussed.  

This story had me guessing the ENTIRE time, which I think is rare when it comes to young adult novels. Ususally you can figure out the plot at some point, but I was always shocked.  Even right up to the end had me guessing.  I'm not kidding- even on the last page I was wondering a few things.  It was a roller coaster ride that never once let me catch my breath.  After my raving review, which I shared with my students, a boy immediately snagged my copy of this book.  I think my students will love it!

Many people are comparing this book to Hunger Games and yes, both are dystopias, but both are extremely different.  For starters, there really isn't a love triangle in Maze Runner and there's a barely there love interest, which I found to be refreshing. I needed a break from the drama-laden love triangles.  Just like Hunger Games, this book focuses on survival of the fittest, but the Maze Runner has a whole different premise.  I must admit, this book had me questioning way more than Hunger Games did.  Don't get me wrong, I still love me some Katniss, but this book definitely gave Hunger Games a run for its money.

With all that said, I hope you pick up a copy of The Maze Runner.  I highly recommend it for fans of science fiction and fans of fast-paced, action packed novels.  I am eagerly anticipating The Scorch Trials, which is the sequel. It comes out October 12th and please excuse me while I go pre-order it now!  :)

Watch The Book Trailer:



  1. I seriously need to read this book! It sounds amazing! The Grievers sound really creepy and just eww... I'm also needing a break from the whole romance drama in YA, so I'll have to read this book.

  2. I loved this book, you're right, Grievers were creepy but awesome! Im glad you liked it :)

  3. Thanks, Adriana and Audrey! Adriana- it's the perfect break from the whole YA love triangle drama!

  4. Oh wow. This sounds exactly like what I need right now.

  5. Um, hello? Is this not the most fab review or what? Geez, thanks Christina, I've now decided I can't wait any longer to read this book and it's officially on hold at my library!

    "Your heart starts pounding, you can't breathe easily, you are gasping for air, anxiety takes hold of you, and you are on the edge of your seat? Please tell me that I am not the only one...." -- Oh, you're not! I felt the exact same way while reading The Dead-Tossed Waves!!

    And the fact that you say that it's right up there with The Hunger Games...I mean, wow. Just wow. I'll let you know what I think of it once I read it!

  6. Ok seriously I need to get this book read! Awesome review. Loved how your excitment for the book came through.

  7. JuJu, Kris, and Jill- Thanks for the comments. :)

    Kris- Dead Tossed Waves is definitely on my TBR list. I'm definitely interested in what you think of MR after you read it! Let me know! :)

  8. Yes, I confess I get book anxiety too and it is like your eyes cannot raed fast enough because you just have to know what happens.

    I loved this review. It is brimming over with book addiction. And I do not like the sound of those Grievers. I have a terrible needle phobia. Even the word makes the back of my neck prickle. I can't wait for the UK release of this now.

  9. Great review! I have heard so many good things about this book and it's been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read...after your description of anxiety ridden tales of what it felt like to read this book I can't wait!
    Thanks for the rec!

  10. Becky- I have a terrible needle phobia as well. I'm such a baby when it comes to needles. I definitely think you would enjoy this one!

    Katelyn- Thanks for visiting my review and for the comment. I appreciate it! :)


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