Updated: Dec 26, 2019
'When the lift cranks open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone - an army of boys welcomes him to the Glade, an encampment at the center of a terrible maze. The Gladers have no idea why they're 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 to find out.'
There are murderous creatures in the maze, but the maze is your only way home.
Although there is power in numbers, no one in the Glade knows how they got there or why they're there. Everyone has a job, either making food or running the maze, hoping to find an exit, but they've been at it for two years.
Then there's the 'changing.' Anyone who has seen the creatures in the maze knows they can be stung instead of killed (which one is worse is hard to tell), it brings back unwanted memories of their life before the maze. All can agree, that have been stung, it's better to live with the Maze than with what's outside in the world.
In 'The Maze Runner,' James Dashner writes an action filled mystery that keeps the readers on their toes. Although the film is already out and has been viewed by millions, the book is well worth a read just because the movie kept out crucial parts that happened in the book!
The reader gets to follow Thomas from the very moment he enters the Glade; everything is new for him and for us. Thomas quickly wants to be a Runner (someone who runs the maze every day, from sun up to sun down), but the leaders of the Glade think he's a greenie (new person in the Glade) that thinks he's too good for hard labor: "Listen, trust me on this, Tommy. Start stompin' around this place yappin' about how you're too good to work like a peasant, how you're all nice and ready to be a Runner - you'll make plenty of enemies. Drop it for now." Thomas' fast friend, Newt, gives him sound advice.
Later in the book, Thomas ends up becoming a Runner after saving the leader of the Glade from the maze and its creatures. The maze's openings close at sundown every night, which means if you get caught in the maze afterwards, you are stuck out there until sun rise, and this is exactly what happened with leader, Alby and lead Runner, Minho.
As the walls were closing, Thomas and Newt saw the forms of Alby and Minho appear,but they both knew they wouldn't make it in time - Thomas runs inside just as the walls shut behind him. "Greenie,' Minho said, 'if you think that was brave comin' out here, listen up. You're the shuckiest shuck-faced shuck there ever was. You're as good as dead, just like us." Thomas also broke the biggest rule of the Glade : DO NOT ENTER THE MAZE IF YOU'RE NOT A RUNNER.
This entire night is the most important part of the book.
All of the characters in Dashner's first book of the series are interesting and diverse, even down to Newt's accent. My biggest complaint of this book was the author's over use of the words meters and centimeters; there are plenty of words out there that are used to describe how big or how small something is,but Dashner decided to only use those two words repeatedly. Also, all of the Gladers use code words for curse words, but this is never explained why they do this (such as shuck face instead of fuck face).
Then there's the telepathy that Thomas has with Teresa (the only girl to ever show up at the Glade) - this may be explained later on in the other books,but having only read this one so far - this is never explained. They use this ability quite a bit after Teresa wakes up from her 'coma,' that it almost seems like an afterthought that was just added to make the story more interesting.
I also don't have patience for characters that make a decision then suddenly change their mind the very next page. At one point, when Thomas and Teresa learn that there is a code for the maze, they agree that they shouldn't tell anyone about it,yet,suddenly, like right after Thomas states he doesn't need to tell anyone, he's thinking he MUST tell someone about the code.
But,the entire book isn't like this. Dashner is very fluid in his writing,and keeps the reader interested with really no downtime in between chapters - there just always seems to be something happening or going wrong!
Also, Dashner made Thomas into an emotional character, something that is odd in writing for a male character. He isn't afraid to show his emotions, and this is something that is very welcomed and written quite well throughout the book.
Yet, the other characters aren't written as well as our main character. A majority of the characters just seem angry all the time, walking around with a chip on their shoulder. Any other character that is mentioned, such as Zart, is a blank slate except for the slight description of what they look like.
The Glade and the maze are wonderfully described that even a light reader can imagine it. The creatures inside seem to take the cake when it comes to description, seeming that Dashner took more time out to describe these nightmarish beings.
I think the fact that the movie left out important parts of the book did a dishonor to Dashner's work. The book's version of events may not make more sense than the film's, but it made for a more interesting story. I do like the movies, but you MUST read the book if you like them. You missed out on quite a few things.
I certainly recommend this book. Most people don't categorize 'The Maze Runner' as a horror- genre book,but I ask you: if you woke up in an isolated community, where you can only get out if you solve the maze, which is covered in creatures that want to hunt you down and kill you, wouldn't you consider that a horrific problem?