Series: The Maze Runner #1
on 1st January 2009
When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrol its corridors, to try and find out.
Thomas doesn’t remember life before arriving in the Glade. Neither do any of the other boys living there. All they know is the Glade and the Maze. Surrounding their little village of sorts is a mammoth labyrinth full of terrible and dangerous creatures. Only the Maze Runners are permitted in the maze and as soon as Thomas learns of their existence, he wants to be one. With the Maze changing day to day, it seems impossible to find a way out. But life in the Glade isn’t as safe as it first seems and the arrival of a girl sends the society into turmoil.
This book starts off with the reader being just as confused as Thomas is. As he learns about the Glade and just how life works there, we get to see more of what is going on. It’s an interesting way to start the book and whilst it does heighten the sense of confusion and mystery, it made it hard to connect with the characters and the story. It wasn’t until the action started to ramp up that I found myself pulled into the story. And when that happened – I was hooked until the very end. This is the kind of book to keep you up all night reading because you just HAVE to know what happens next!
Thomas is a great character to follow as we learn about the Maze and just how it impacts on the boys of the Glade. He’s interesting and copes with arriving in the Glade so much better than anyone could expect. His curiosity about the doors and what lives behind them is infectious. But one of the nicest things about him is despite his intelligence, bravery and quick thinking – he is also vunerable. He was a little lacking in emotion in parts but overall he is a fairly realistic and likeable character.
One of the highlights of this book is the Gladers. They have their own sense of order and community and for a society composed entirely of teenage boys they manage to function incredibly well. The various jobs within their society were interesting to learn about but what I loved most was the characters. From Alby the leader to Newt, runner Minho and effervescent Chuck – these were people I enjoyed getting to know more about. They each have their own stories but at the same time they do a great job at supporting Thomas. The author has managed to put so much into the book! From the slang language the Gladers use to the flaws and also the fears of the boys living there. The pacing is great and easy to follow. I also liked the lack of romance. Many books get hung up on the romantic affairs between characters but this is a book without any of that. It’s action, adventure and friendship. If you are looking for a great YA dystopian without affairs of the heart – I recommend The Maze Runner.
As a life long fan of mazes and puzzles – the concept of the perhaps impossible to solve Maze intrigued me. I liked the idea and found myself more and more impressed with the Maze’s role in the novel and the lives of the Gladers. The plot is well thought out and interesting. You never quite know what to expect.
After a somewhat slow start, I loved the journey The Maze Runner took me on. There’s a lot of action and mystery throughout the book and I wasn’t expecting many of the plot twists and turns. After finishing the book there is no doubt in my mind that I will definitely be reading the next book in the Maze Runner series.
Thanks to Scholastic Australia for the review copy.