The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Reviewed by S. Cox, September 2021

Sixteen year old Thomas wakes up in a dark underground elevator with no memory of his life before that moment, and arrives at what the other boys there call ‘the Glade’. No one remembers how they got there, why they’re there, or who they used to be. They just know that once every month the lift doors open and a new boy is dumped into their midst, with no memories other than his first name. Supplies are sent up every two weeks and there are livestock, so they won’t starve. 

Surrounding the Glade is the Maze, a labyrinth of gigantic proportions, filled with deadly, terrifying beasts. The Gladers believe that if the Maze can be solved, they can find a way out. Smart, right? Just one problem: the eldest Gladers have been there for two years, and they haven’t found anything but literal dead ends. The patterns never change. Everything has stayed the same for as long as anyone can remember. Until now. 

The patterns have broken. 

The day after Thomas joins the Gladers, someone else is unexpectedly sent up. A girl. There have never been any girls in the Glade, only boys, and this particular girl carries a message that changes everything. Her message makes it clear that death is both imminent and inevitable - unless the Maze can be solved. 


I loved The Maze Runner for several reasons. I loved the characters, I loved the plot, I loved the setting (or the initial apparent lack of one), I loved the danger, the action, the strange names (ex. Minho); I loved everything about it. 

It’s a mix of sci-fi and dystopia, with an action-packed, fast-paced plot and surprises around every corner. Just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, BAM! Dashner throws you something new and totally unexpected, just to keep you on your toes. 

I loved it, and if you like survival, dystopian, science fiction, and/or post-apocalyptic novels, I’m sure that you’ll love this too. Look for the next two books as well! 

**NOTE: Not for children or anyone below middle school age level; more of a high school book**