June 18, 2010

Review: The Maze Runner

Every Friday I highlight books and authors that are ones boys might really enjoy. I'm not saying girls wouldn't read these books, but they are clearly "guy" books.

This week my highligh is a review of:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

From Goodreads
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.
My Thoughts
I really really enjoyed this book. It had just the right amount of mystery and action to keep me fully focused on the story.  Thomas was a good main character - although sometimes I did want to tell him to knock it off when he got angry for people not answering his questions.  But that was minor.  I loved how his mind worked as he tried to figure out the maze, the glade and the girl showing up. Even with waking up without any memory he was able to focus and take on the task at hand. He was smart and confident without being cocky.  I think he's someone 7th grade boys could relate to even though he was older. 
As for the story, I will say that throughout the book what I thought was going to happen didn't.  This really hooked me in because I never got bored. One character I didn't trust at all was not what I expected!  He completely did the opposite of what I thought.  And events or clues I thought I had figured out were completely wrong.  All this was why the ending was a complete shock to me! I did not see it coming at all, and I couldn't believe how far off base I was.  It was ok that I was that wrong because it just made the ending even stronger for me.  If it had all ended the way I thought I would've been ho-hum about the book.  After finishing the last page, right away I looked up when the sequel, The Scorch Trials, was coming out (for the record it's October!)
A minor thing, but what I really understood was the attitude of some of the Gladers (boys that also lived there). They didn't want to mess with how things were. Yes they wanted to go home, but they also knew that life in the Glade right now was ok. They were fed, clothed and surviving. Changing anything might force them out of that comfort zone. I think that feeling is something we can all relate to - is the grass really greener? This allowed me to feel more what these boys might be feeling.
Final thought: My mind went through as big of a maze as the one in the book! Many twists and turns!
Best stick-with-you image: The first time Thomas sees the Grievers.
Best for ages: 11+ More higher age middle grade
For more fun check out the website! The Maze Runner


  1. This was one of my favorite read last year and I am hoping it will be on this year book battle list hosted by my school. Like you I kept predicting and finding out I was wrong and the end was totally unexpected. Can't wait for the Scorch Trails to come out so I can find out what happens next.

  2. I liked this book,too. I felt like the end was a little too rushed, but I'm okay with that because it's a series, so the plot will go on. I think that middle school boys will like this read--It's been pretty popular among my ninth grade boys. Thanks for your review.

  3. Offered Maze Runner as a choice during one of my units and the boys (13-14 y.o.) overwhelmingly chose it--and loved it. Best way I know for sure they loved it? They recommended it to their friends.

    Another book they loved was THE COMPOUND by S.A. Bodeen. Male protagonist, domineering father figure and a post-nuclear blast bomb shelter. Very creepy.

  4. Great review. I can't believe I haven't read this yet.

  5. I enjoyed it too...I was a little thrown by the ending. It seemed so...overwhelming. I'm almost scared for what has to happen in the second book!

  6. When Thomas sees the grievers, yes, the perfect "Best stick-with-you moment."

    That scene had me screaming on the inside (and occasionally out loud, too)! I can hardly wait for Book 2. Thankfully, James Dashner is already working on Book 3. :)

  7. I listened to it recently and really loved it, although I also got a bit weary of Thomas' reactions.

  8. I read it last fall and wasn't as much into it at the time, but the mysterious setting and the shock ending will definitely make me pick up book two! I can't wait to discover more of what's going on there!

  9. Great review. I really liked this book too.

  10. I have this on my shelf but still haven't found the time to read it. Think it might have to sneak its way up my TBR pile now!

  11. I thought it was an OK book. I started reading this one because I heard it was like the Hunger Games. It seemed kinda slow to me. And have you noticed it says "bloody" almost every page. I did like how it ended though and I will read the second book.