The Maze Runner is one of a long string of dystopian novels that have been translated into film. First published in 2009, the book was adapted into a movie in 2014. The novel centers around Thomas, who must survive in a dystopian world.
Written by James Dashner, The Maze Runner is particularly popular among young adults. But is it any good? Let’s find out!
Set in a dark future, The Maze Runner follows the narrative of a boy called Thomas. Awakening in an elevator, Thomas has little memory of who he is. Like others, Thomas is teleported to the Glade, a large stone maze.
Thomas and other Gladers, such as Theresa and Alby, must learn to survive in this mysterious maze. These teenagers must work together to figure out a way to escape this maleficent maze.
The Runners and the Gladers have an even tougher job since the maze is constantly changing. But the arrival of Thomas marks a turning point that could lead to freedom. The Maze Runner launched a book series of the same name.
This series also consists of two sequels, namely The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. There are also prequel series that broaden the horizons of this world.
Now that you know a little bit about Dashner’s The Maze Runner, let’s dive into the review!
One cannot deny that the story of The Maze Runner is compelling. When you are first introduced to Thomas, the reader has no idea who he is. Therefore, you want to find out more about this mysterious protagonist.
The plot is made even more compelling thanks to the peculiar connection between Thomas and Theresa. By using Thomas as the protagonist, Dashner leaves the reader in the dark. Therefore, they will be driven to find the answers to these mysteries.
Dashner also ensures that the book’s stakes are particularly high. We particularly adore how the reader is introduced to a large number of characters in the maze. Like Thomas, the reader has to work out whether or not these characters are trustworthy.
Another way in which Dashner raises the stakes is through the introduction of monsters that roam through the maze at night. Referred to as Grievers, the characters not only have to escape the maze but avoid these deadly creatures.
The disadvantage of all these mysteries is that sometimes The Maze Runner can feel a little slow. Readers must be patient if they wish to make it through the book. The good news is that your patience will be rewarded by the conclusion.
One element of Dashner’s writing that is less effective is the use of slang. This is a common trope in young adult fiction. Often, this is an attempt for older writers to appeal to a younger audience by using slang words.
Sadly, very few authors manage to successfully capture the essence of slang. Dashner’s use of slang is not necessarily bad. It’s just a little jarring when you first start reading.
The novel’s teenagers have formed their own slang, some of which feel like terms that no real teenager would use. This includes the term “shuck face.” On the plus side, you will quickly become familiar with these slang words, as they are used regularly.
It mirrors the fact that, like Thomas, we are new to this group. Once he understands the slang, so does the reader. On a positive note, we appreciate how action-packed this book is. Sometimes, reading The Maze Runner makes you feel as though you are watching a film.
One of the main downfalls of this book is that bookshelves are now lined with dystopian novels. In particular, more and more of these novels are aimed at young adults. This is thanks to books such as The Hunger Games (2008) and Divergent (2011).
This has meant that The Maze Runner doesn’t feel overly original. Instead, it conforms to many of the tropes already established in young adult dystopian fiction. It’s worth noting that some of these books were released after The Maze Runner, so it’s not entirely Dashner’s fault.
But in an oversaturated market, this book doesn’t stand out as much as it could. Yet, it remains one of the best books in this niche genre. So if you enjoy books set in dystopian futures, you cannot go wrong with this novel.
There are lots of different characters introduced in this book, which can seem a bit overwhelming at first. However, this is likely intentional on Dasher’s part. As a protagonist, Thomas is dumped into a strange and mind-boggling situation. He wakes up in a totally strange location to him, surrounded by people he also does not recognize.
Dashner’s writing places the reader in the same position, whereby we are unsure as to whether or not the characters are trustworthy people. On the other hand, the large cast of characters means that many of the characters are underdeveloped.
This is because there simply isn’t enough time to focus on them in a story-driven novel. Of course, Thomas is quite well-fleshed out as the protagonist. Aside from him, the only characters that the reader gets to know are Newt, Teresa, and Minho.
Alby is also somewhat developed, though nowhere near as much as these other characters. One form of character development that we do appreciate is the friendships that develop.
Friendship is a theme that is not often explored in dystopian texts, so this adds a unique element to the genre. We are particularly captivated by the relationship between Teresa and Thomas, who develop an intimate bond.
There is a romantic bond between these two characters that will likely be fleshed out in future installments.
Overall, The Maze Runner is an amazing piece of literature. Though the young adult dystopian fiction genre is overflowing with new additions, The Maze Runner is easily one of the most complex and compelling books in this space.
Though this book is aimed at young adults, more mature adults can still enjoy it. This is because the themes are far from childish and the story has high stakes. The result is an intense book that’s guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat.
The Maze Runner is particularly well suited to people who love science fiction, action, and, of course, dystopian books. If you enjoyed Lord of The Flies (1954) by William Golding or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, you will find this to be a captivating read.
We give The Maze Runner 4 out of 5 stars.
James Dashner’s The Maze Runner is a thrilling read that we recommend dipping into. So if this review has intrigued you, why not give this book a try? Who knows, you could fall in love with it!
The first edition of the Maze Runner was Published in 2009
It was written by author James Dashner
The Maze Runner Movie was first released in 2014
It is estimated that Dashner has made around 4 million US Dollars on Royalties from both selling copies of his Maze Runner books as well as royalties from the movies.