Sunday, December 18, 2011

Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Series: Maze Runner #1
Rating: ✮✮✮
Book Depository | Goodreads

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. 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, open expanse surrounded 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 the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.


This is a little different from my usual fare, in that it focuses on a young boy trapped in a hellish maze with other boys, and romance is non-existent. Thomas is new, and we learn of the world of the Glade and the maze through his eyes.

What works for this book is that it throws us straight into the mystery without trying to build up a true dystopian future. Hints and guesses are all we get of the world outside the maze, and we spend the entire time learning its terrifying secrets with Thomas. And holy crap, is this book terrifying in parts. Dashner doesn't skimp on the horror, creating half robot, half slug-like creatures that patrol the maze every night and kill every kid who gets stuck outside the Glade. I was genuinely creeped out at the description of them, and the tension only gets worse as the book goes on into the epic end.

However, most of the characters other than Thomas are very thinly drawn. There were only about five boys we really get to know, and I still have no real idea of who they were except for Thomas's friend Chuck. As for the girl, she shows up, is a catalyst, and things happen.

That's pretty much all The Maze Runner is, but I think Dashner has an amazing hand at driving up tension and creating such a terrifying, mindless villains that it overshadows the major lack of characterization for the supporting cast.

And the cliffhanger was excruciating. Totally checking out book two, The Scorch Trials, once I have time to fit it into my reading schedule.


  1. Characterization is always the most important thing for me when reading, but I do think the premise of this one is kind of horrifyingly fascinating, so that might make the lack of fully fleshed out characters a touch less noticeable. Especially if I know that going in. Thanks for the review Chantaal!

  2. Thanks for reading it!

    I think the action and tension really works to overshadow the lack of characterization, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)

  3. I loved this one - it's a favorite of mine.