Mini Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner
James Dashner

Delacorte Press
Released October 9, 2009
374 pages
YA / Sci-Fi / Dystopian

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"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.

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.

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

This book is a mess. It went from uncompelling bordering on boring to eye-rollingly ridiculous to general WTFery by the end. It reads much like Dashner came up with a half-formed world and continued to get additional ideas as he wrote that he crammed into the novel whether these new things fit or not. He spends more time coming up with incredibly annoying alternative curse words and slang than he does fitting together a cohesive plot, which instilled a fear in me that my eyes might permanently roll into the back of my head.

It doesn’t help that I wanted to punch all of the characters. Male members of my book club said teenage boys act as these boys do, not asking questions and blindly accepting what’s in front of them, but I can’t buy that not one person in two years had any type of curiosity to question the status quo before savior Thomas wandered into the maze. By the time a female shows up, she’s a comatose prop until she becomes a girlfriend prop, lending nothing to the story whatsoever besides an ominous message of doom.

Then the final act comes swooping in like it was ripped from the middle of another book and the characters from The Maze Runner were drawn in on top. Nothing makes sense, nothing is answered, and I still want to punch these boys in the face. The final page hints at something bigger and planted a seed of intrigue, though I don’t know if I’m confident enough based on this book that the future volumes in the series are any more cohesive to provide a satisfying payoff.


While I was just meh on this when I finished it a few weeks ago, it seems time has caused my disdain for this book to grow. I have no idea if that says more about me or the book.