YA Dystopia Book Reviews

The Maze Runner

What a fun read, and I don’t say that very often. I read The Maze Runner after I had been in a slump for several months, burned out from reading so many books that I didn’t actually want to read for both school and from review requests. I picked up The Maze Runner on a whim and it reminded me of what I liked about reading, of the joy of immersing myself in a story and enjoying the ride.

The book is a fairly standard set up for a young adult dystopia novel, a bunch of teens find themselves trapped in what seems like a game without a clue as to how they got there. A new kid is dumped into the group each month until one day everything changes. The set up for this novel was intriguing, even with a fairly standard plot, the curiosity surrounding the maze kept me reading. I was invested enough in the ragtag group of Gladers that I wanted to see what would happen to them. It was a little slow and difficult to get into because of the invented language in the novel, which takes a bit of getting used to. It definitely adds some flavor to the dialogue but I can see how it would be extremely hit or miss with readers.

“You are the shuckiest shuck faced shuck in the world!”

There are a few issues that I found with the writing that do need to be noted. The plot is propelled forward by the fact that crucial information is intentionally withheld from the main character, and by extension the reader, for absolutely no reason. While this set up is a commonly used writing tool in order to create suspense it can be incredibly frustrating for readers if executed poorly. The drama in the book relies heavily on the old amnesia trick, where the plot can only advance when the main character remembers things, making them unique and special.

On the other hand, I really liked the fact that the romantic elements, while they exist and there is a love interest, it isn’t the central focus of the story. It feels sometimes that this is all the dystopian genre has devolved into, so running into an adventure novel not bogged down by pages full of dating drama was refreshing. I found The Maze Runner to be a treat that I can honestly recommend for a non-serious, pure fun read. If you’ve seen the movie and are like me and hate it, consider giving the book a second chance, the movie was trash compared to the book.

Title: The Maze Runner
Series: The Maze Runner #1
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: September 25, 2009
Number of Pages: 386
Format: Ebook
Source: Purchased

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.


  1. I am finding I have to balance books I read because of review requests with books I read for myself. I’m fortunate when/if those books I’m reading for requests are ones I’m really looking forward to (e.g. because I stalked the catalogs or they’re reprints of a novel I’ve been wanting to read for a while now) with ones I read “just because”. Keeping You a Secret is one of those books for me! XD (Request-wise, a sequel to a novel I read last year is on its to me. :D)

    I’ve seen all the released TMZ movies. Reading the books is actually on my to-do list. It’s probz backwards, especially since I know and understand much of the story already, but I want to understand more of it—and don’t want the life of the series to end after the last movie comes out! Ugh, so sad! (I admit the first movie was frustrating, but have you seen the second?? It’s better, methinks.)

    1. I haven’t watched the other movies or read the other books yet, and I made the mistake of watching the first movie immediately after finishing the book. If I had watched the movie on it’s own I probably would have enjoyed it more, but the book was just so much *better* that I was really let down. Definitely give the books a shot especially since you like the movies, it’s well worth it and there are a lot of details that were left out.

  2. Great review! I was skeptical on reading the books after watching, and loving, the movies, but your review has my interest renewed! <3

    1. I’m glad, and if you loved the movies then definitely read the books. 🙂 I feel like not a lot was explained and characters weren’t as developed in the first movie, which is understandably more difficult for the medium.

  3. Awesome review!

    I really love the Maze Runner films so I need to get round to reading this – glad to hear you liked it makes me less worried about diving in 😀

    1. Aw thanks Luchia, and you definitely should! The books add so much more to the characters and explain things a bit better. 🙂

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