Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

About the book

  Title: The Maze Runner
  Author: James Dashner
  Edition: E-Book, 329 pages
  Published: Delacorte Press for Young Readers, 2009
  Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Series
  My Rating: 4/5
  Challenge(s): COYER
  Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon | IMDb
Blurb: 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.


I have been meaning to read this book for AGES. I remember after reading The Hunger Games many years ago when YA dystopian had blown up, so many people were talking about this book! It has been on my TBR list since then, and I finally got around to reading it. Let's see what I thought!

The Good

I liked the world building and setting of the Glade and the Maze. Despite there being so many dystopian YAs out there, I thought this concept was quite original. The setting was painted really clearly and the Maze felt very ominous, dangerous and unpredictable. Very cool.

Furthermore, I thought Dashner did a good job at describing what it would feel like to be in Thomas's or any of the other characters' position. Though there was conflict between parties, with some characterised more unlikeable than others, as a reader you can still see where both sides are coming from. None of the characters can truly be labelled as the "antagonist" of the novel as they are all just fighting the real antagonists outside the maze who put them there in the first place. At the start I didn't couldn't really relate to them because I didn't understand were all their confusion and anger was coming from but once I got over this initial hurdle, I found myself liking many more of the characters.

I really liked how the potential romance was not a major portion of this book. One of my biggest pet peeves is a YA fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi, adventure whatever genre (other than romance of course) getting overshadowed by the love interest, or triangle or hexagon or what ever. Of course I don't mind at all if there is a relationship that develops, but I want it to seem natural and not just shoved in because the author felt like the book should have one. The relationship in the Maze Runner was definitely hinted but it wasn't pushy in any way and I'm actually genuinely interested to see how it progresses. I thought the moments that were shared between the two characters (kind of obvious who they are, but still I won't say it) were quite cute as well (:

This book was filled with mystery, by filled I mean FILLED, up to the brim from start to finish. There were so many things I was dying to find out about and it kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the book. Not that much was actually given away in The Maze Runner, so it definitely sets the rest of the series up. For that reason, I will definitely be checking out the sequels.

The Not So Good

Though the mystery kept my interested, it was frustrating at times having so many loose ends that weren't getting answered. To be honest, though the ending was a bit of a cliffhanger, it still left A LOT of things very ambiguous, if not bringing up even more things to question.

One of the things that kept on bothering me was why girls weren't sent to the Glade before Teresa (the first and only girl set there)? Maybe they were afraid they'd procreate or something? And why, did the last person sent to the Glade have to be female? Did Dashner just decide on that to create a potential love interest in the book? Personally, I believe so, and if that's the case I think it was a bit of strange move. I don't know, something about just throwing a girl in there to create more of a "wow" factor didn't sit well with me. But hopefully, like many other questions, these get answered in future books.

Though the introduction of Teresa was a big game changer she didn't really play much of a role. I felt for the majority of the book she was just following Thomas around, giving him a smile and hopeful message when he needed it. You didn't really get to see her personality. It was disappointing and I hope she plays a bigger role in the rest of the series.

So Why Four Stars? 

Despite being a bit slow to start up it was a mysterious and page turning read. Though there was a lot of unanswered questions you eventually realise that it wasn't because the other characters didn't want Thomas to know, it was because they themselves didn't understand anything either. It totally makes sense, and made the book more realistic, seeing as they've all been blocked off from the "real world". This really set a bleak and almost frightening tone to the book, and allowed me to connect with the characters more. After finishing The Maze Runner I wanted my questions answered so badly I immediately started reading the Scorch Trials, but forced myself to stop and go read some books from my review pile...I will be back!

Movie Adaptation 

I'm sure most of you already know this, but the movie adaptation of The Maze Runner came out last year. I finished watching it recently and it was a decent movie. Thomas was played by Dylan O'Brien and I think he did a great job. There were a couple of other familiar faces as well, I thought all performances were good but like I said for the book, I wish Teresa got a bigger role. The Maze and most of the Glade was pretty much exactly how I pictured it but they changed A LOT of the facts and events of the book. I understand that there are necessary changes that need to be made to turn a book into a good movie, so I'm okay with most of them but when a movie ends up being really different from a book, and this bothers you, I doubt you will like this adaptation. Ignoring the fact it was adapted from a book though, I think it was a thrilling and fun movie and I can see a lot of people enjoying it. Box office wise the movie must have done well enough as the sequel, The Scorch Trials, is due for release sometime this year. I do plan to watch it after I've read the sequel.

My Recommendation 

I gave The Maze Runner by James Dashner 4 out of 5 stars. I would recommend The Maze Runner to fans of young adult dystopians. This is definitely right up their alley. People who are tired of YA romances dominating the world building in books will probably find this a refreshing read as well. This book is appropriate for a wide range of ages. There is moderate bloody violence. 

Let's Discuss!

I really enjoy watching book to movie adaptations, especially whilst the book is still fresh in my mind. I love seeing parts of the book come to life on screen, it's amazing! Sometimes I do get let down though, either when things aren't as I hoped them to be, or when too much of the book is changed. How do you feel about watching movie adaptations of books? Are you let down, or just enjoy watching them regardless? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: Photos  are linked to their original sources. They are not mine. I created the header for this review myself. The background image is the movie poster of The Maze Runner. 


  1. Don't worry, all of your questions will be answered! The entire series is like a maze, you are constantly turning a corner thinking you know what you are going to get next only to find that it's a dead end! That's the best bit about it in my opinion!
    I am also glad that romance is not a big deal in this book, its refreshing in a YA dystopian :)

  2. As Hannah said, your questions will be answered if you continue the series! However... if you're like me, you won't be satisfied! Hahaha!! I felt the exact same way when I read The Maze Runner. I had so many questions and a lot of what I read made zero sense to me, but I just kept turning the page because I was so interested in finding the answers to all of my "why's". (:

  3. I'm torn about this series. It does sound intriguing but I'm not a huge fan of YA dystopian (or dystopian in general for that matter) so I'm thinking I'd get frustrated with it more easily because it's not something I'm naturally drawn too. Great review!

  4. I actually enjoyed the film a whole lot more than I did the novel. I didn't really enjoy The Maze Runner, it was frustrating on so many levels ha ha! But I was fully engrossed with The Scorch Trials :) Will you be reading it?

    I still need to get to The Death Cure and The Kill Order!

  5. I really enjoyed both the film and the novel. Plus, I'm a huge Dylan O'Brien fan.

    I'm also fairly knew to the book blogging community so it would mean a lot to me if you could visit and follow my blog I'd love to return the favour!

  6. I read this story a while back, and I really liked it! I thought it was a good book, but the prequel was the one I liked the most. It seems like you had a good experience with it too. The girl didn't frustrate me though, it seems to make sense later on as to why there were no girls sent. I liked the movie, and thought the acting was great, but there were lots of parts of the book missing, and I think the beginning was slow....

    Check out my latest post:

  7. I know how you feel, sometimes I end up reading a book just because it's super popular but I'm not actually a massive fan of the genre. Then I end up feeling bad that I didn't like it and giving it an average review... book blogger problems!

  8. I loveeeeeee Dylan O'Brien omg hahaha, he did do a really good job!

  9. Awww I hope all my questions get answered, so much is in the air right now. Thank you for commenting!

  10. Cannot wait to read the rest of the books in this series! And yeah the romance was definitely something new (:

  11. Lots were missing! It was crazy, but excited to continue both reading and watching the series. Thanks so much for commenting (: Will check out your post, sorry I'm a few days late!

  12. I'm trying to juggle it with another book at the moment, failing a bit though, I'm horrible at reading more than one book at once. The movie helped clear up a lot of things for me actually! They did a good job with the adaptation. Let me know when you continue with the series!

  13. Yeah omg I really wish I had my questions answered because I really hate being left in the dark ugh. Unfortunately I wasn't a fan of this one, Thomas was such a Gary Stu for me :|

  14. Totally see where you're coming from, I remember reading your review on Goodreads! I hate being left in the dark as well, so annoying hahaha - Thanks for commenting (: x

  15. Glad you liked it so much! Welcome to the community (: