The Maze Runner by James Dashner

July 29, 2014
The Maze Runner by James DashnerThe Maze Runner #1 by James Dashner
Narrator: Mark Deakins
Published by Delacorte Press on October 6th 2009
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 375
Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library

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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.

The premise of this book is quite intriguing. A boy wakes up, no memories of who is, where he came from much less where he is now. Perplexed by the nature of memory loss that allows him to remember mundane details, but not important things, he has to just go on, and figure out a way to live in the bizarre world he has found himself a part of. Sounds cool. Then you learn a bit about the world he lives in, and it sounds promising. But then you read, and nothing just ever seems quite as exciting as you think it should.

So what is this world like that he wakes up in? It seems to consist of pretty much just teenage boys. They have broken themselves into group to perform all the tasks that need to be done to keep their society running. Oh, and everyone here suffers from the same type of memory loss he has. They wake up one day in what they call The Glades, and its like their life starts fresh from that moment.

I also expected to be more taken by The Maze or the monsters (Grievers) that roam it, but honestly, I just wasn’t. Once again, the concepts are great, but somehow the maze never seemed as ominous or mysterious as I expected. I anticipated high suspense when grievers showed up, but I think I was detached enough from the story, that I just never really cared.

Also, the characters in this book are all supposed to be quite intelligent. I have a hard time with books where characters are supposed to be intelligent, but just come across as clueless lemmings that go with the norm. Whatever. This review is so hard to write because I cared so little about the characters, and eventually the story, that I just want to be done and quit thinking about it. The book is not horrible, but I did feel like my time could have been much better spent reading or listening to something different.

And finally, this is one book where I suspect I will enjoy the movie more, because surely they will give a little more personality to these characters than I got during my read. I don’t feel this competes with Hunger Games, which it’s often compared to. If you want another dystopian read, I say go try  Red Rising by Pierce Brown instead.


Side note: This is the second “memory loss” book I have read in the past couple of months, and given my rating of the first was about the same, it may be a while before I give that particular plot line a chance again.



  • Bibliotropic July 29, 2014 at 1:05 am

    I recall enjoying this book when I read it. But then, I did read it a few years ago, and my taste in books has changed a lot since then. Back then, I was a lot less picky about my reading material and rated books more highly than I would now. Since the movie’s coming out soon, I’m tempted to give it a reread and see if it stands up to my memories. And if so, continue on with the rest of the series, because it’s another in which I’ve only read the first book and have just let the others languish.

    Excellent review, and even if our opinions differ a bit, I think you made some really good points here! 🙂
    Bibliotropic recently posted…Red Rising, by Pierce BrownMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) July 29, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      I often wonder if I would still enjoy some of the books I read a couple of years ago if I read them now. Sometimes ,I think my mood has a lot to do with it as well. In this case though, I think I would react the same at any point.
      Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…The Maze Runner by James DashnerMy Profile

  • Nathan (@reviewbarn) July 29, 2014 at 8:49 am

    YA Dystopia? Fool me once…
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…YA Review: ‘Ruin and Rising’ by Leigh BardugoMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) July 29, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Meh …. yeah, I know you would have known better than to read this one. But there are some dystopian novels I have enjoyed. This one definitely makes see your stance on the sub-genre a bit clearer 🙂
      Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…The Maze Runner by James DashnerMy Profile

  • Tabitha (Not Yet Read) July 29, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Alright now I’m really disappointed – I had been wanting to read this in prep for watching the movie but now the lackluster delivery that it seems to have given you doesn’t make me want to pick it up and I’m pretty sure I trust your judgement on this one (cause otherwise wouldn’t I have already read it by now? LOL) I have to admit the whole memory loss line I didn’t even realize was there but then I haven’t read the synopsis in a while. I’ll probably continue to push it to the side for now.
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) July 29, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Sometimes I’m just a grumpkin, so you never know. Lots of people find things to like about this. But honestly, I just don’t get the love for this book at all. I’ll still watch the movie, but I almost think I’d be better off not having read the book (now I’ll now how the movie ends, but I’m not taking much else from my read of the book). And I *always* prefer to read before watching, so this is quite an unusual stance from me.
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  • Mogsy July 29, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I wanted to read James Dashner for a long time, but instead of this one I read The Eye of Minds because it was newer and had a video game angle, even though The Maze Runner was probably better known. To be honest, I wasn’t too impressed with it either!

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) July 30, 2014 at 8:02 am

      Well, at least I know I’m not the only one who was disappointed. 🙂 I honestly didn’t have high expectations, just wanted to be some what entertained and engaged by the story. Meh.
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  • Danya @ Fine Print July 29, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Honestly Lisa…book one was the best book in the series. I won’t lie – I really liked it when I read it, but I wasn’t a very critical reader back then. I didn’t read books two and three until I was in university and believe me when I say that they are not worth your time. No one becomes more interesting, nothing gets resolved, and none of the questions that I had (& those dwindled as I ran out of the will to care) were ever answered.
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) July 30, 2014 at 8:03 am

      Well, at least I am glad to hear that there’s no argument to be made to read further! Not that I would, but still glad to not hear that I am “missing out” or should give the series “another chance”.
      Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – Age of IronMy Profile

  • Lynn July 30, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I read this recently for a readalong and it felt like a VERY LONG READALONG! I found the book frustrating and annoying in equal measure to be honest. I finished it because it was a readalong but I can genuinely say this was one of my most disappointing reads! Too much trying to keep the suspense at any cost – I wanted some information. The way the boys acted half of the time was just frankly dumb – Thomas got on my nerves. Whenever he had the opportunity to find out any answers he just ran away and hid… very annoying!
    Rant over.
    Lynn 😀
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) July 30, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      While nothing can reclaim the time I lost to reading this book, misery loves company, so I’m glad to hear others complain they were frustrated and let down by this book as well.
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