The Maze Runner by James Dashner
(Maze Runner Series #1)

74%

67 Critic Reviews

I highly recommend this book to absolutely everyone, you have to read this. It's exciting, adventurous and scary.
-Guardian

Synopsis

The first book in the blockbuster phenomenon The Maze Runner series now features chapters from the highly-anticipated series conclusion, The Fever Code, the book that finally reveals the story of how the maze was built!
 
   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 them 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.
   Remember. Survive. Run.

   The Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials are now major motion pictures featuring the star of MTV's Teen Wolf, Dylan O’Brien; Kaya Scodelario; Aml Ameen; Will Poulter; and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. The third movie, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, will hit screens in 2018.
 
   Also look for James Dashner’s edge-of-your-seat MORTALITY DOCTRINE series!

Praise for the Maze Runner series:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling Series
A USA Today Bestseller
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year
An ALA-YASLA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
An ALA-YALSA Quick Pick
 
"[A] mysterious survival saga that passionate fans describe as a fusion of Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and Lost."—EW.com
 
“Wonderful action writing—fast-paced…but smart and well observed.”—Newsday
 
“[A] nail-biting must-read.”—Seventeen.com
 
“Breathless, cinematic action.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Heart pounding to the very last moment.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Exclamation-worthy.”—Romantic Times
 
“James Dashner’s illuminating prequel [The Kill Order] will thrill fans of this Maze Runner [series] and prove just as exciting for readers new to the series.”—Shelf Awareness, Starred

"Take a deep breath before you start any James Dashner book."-Deseret News
 

About James Dashner

See more books from this Author
JAMES DASHNER is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series as well as the books in the 13th Reality series and Infinity Ring Book 1: A Mutiny in Time. He was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. To learn more about him and his books, visit JamesDashner.com.
 
Published September 25, 2009 by Delacorte Press. 386 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult, Children's Books, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Horror. Fiction
Bookmark Counts:
2
Want to Read
1
Have Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Maze Runner
All: 67 | Positive: 50 | Negative: 17

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Sep 21 2009

With a fast-paced narrative steadily answering the myriad questions that arise and an ever-increasing air of tension, Dashner's suspenseful adventure will keep readers guessing until the very end, which paves the way for the inevitable continuation.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by booklover24 on Mar 29 2015

I highly recommend this book to absolutely everyone, you have to read this. It's exciting, adventurous and scary.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by jboo1698 on Mar 08 2015

This is a really interesting book to read. I find it quite interesting as well that compared to other books, the destroyed community of the Gladers actually have a good community going on, and even a democratic system. This isn't something you tend to find in books that have these sorts of themes.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by ShazzSharingan on Nov 19 2014

This is another fantastic novel which will be remembered alongside The Hunger Games as one of the modern classics of the century...Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone, be it teens or adults (although I would advise children to wait until older), as it keeps you entertained until the end.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Rosa.Reader on Sep 15 2014

...Dashner created the perfect mystery, but in a dystopian, futuristic setting with added telepathy, brain alteration and experiments. So yeah, a pretty brilliant book there.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Readr on Aug 25 2014

...in comparison to The Hunger Games The Maze Runner doesn't feel as realistic and serious, thus isn't as engaging and shocking.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by dewdrop on Aug 06 2014

All in all if you particularly love dystopian thriller/adventure themed stories and are perhaps just looking for an OK book to flick through in your spare time then, although I wouldn't highly recommend it, it's worth a look through.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ... | See more reviews from Guardian

Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Leslie Wright on Aug 29 2014

This is a great work full of danger, fear, and riddled with suspense. While a great YA novel, adults will also be interested in the depth of the story.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ... | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Rebecca Danielle on Nov 15 2012

Overall, this can be a really good book if you are interested in adventure stories that always have something going on. Flaws in the writing and the way the book is executed might disappoint some, but despite that, I think The Maze Runner is another great book to curl up with on a rainy day and enjoy.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ... | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by Rebecca Danielle on Nov 15 2012

The writing in this book is a little primitive. It lacks the flow that I have seen with other young adult books before, and when there isn’t action going on, it can be hard to enjoy the book.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ... | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Pajiba

Good
Reviewed by Melissa on Jul 31 2013

The story was strong as well, with a good consistency throughout, and a reveal that didn’t completely destroy the continuity of it...This book did struggle a bit in pacing. The first day seemed to last at least a year, while the escape was over and done practically before it started.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Teen Reads

Good
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on Oct 06 2009

THE MAZE RUNNER is an irresistible page-turner of a thriller that should appeal to any fan of suspense and adventure stories.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

About.com Bestsellers

Good
Reviewed by Erin Collazo Miller on Oct 02 2014

For my part, I couldn't put The Maze Runner down. I was very interested in the world Dashner created. I have not, however, decided whether I will read the next two books in the series. While the ride through this first book was fun, I don't have enough of a sense of where the series is going to feel sure I'll like the rest of the books.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Seattle PI

Good
Reviewed by Leslie Wright on Aug 28 2014

This is a great work full of danger, fear, and riddled with suspense. While a great YA novel, adults will also be interested in the depth of the story.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

SF Signal

Above average
Reviewed by Jessica Strider on Nov 01 2010

...when people started dying at the end, I didn’t care. That always disturbs me. Fictional or not, if the author is doing a good job I should feel something when someone dies. Still, the book had enough positives that I’d recommend it for teen readers...

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Book Buzz

Good
Reviewed by Helen Zeidman on Oct 13 2014

There is little romance, so the action and mystery are free to be the center of focus. The action in the book will rival your favorite video game.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Book Buzz

Below average
Reviewed by Sarah Chain on Nov 22 2012

...I didn’t finish with a good impression overall — I felt like I had too many questions, as if Dashner didn’t develop the dystopia enough to explain it clearly to the reader.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

A Book and a Hug

Above average
Reviewed by Joleen Waltman on Sep 24 2012

The story is very fast paced and keeps the reader going. The story is mainly based on the actual sun flares and what happens to the world and its people but you also get a better understanding of how the “Maze” was started and how Teresa and Thomas came about.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

The Hindu

Good
on Aug 03 2016

Once opened, you will find it extremely hard to put down the book as each page reveals something new and adds to the mystery and thrill. The concept is unique and has the potential to be something refreshingly and deliciously dark.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Break Point

Below average
Reviewed by Gina Dalfonzo on Sep 19 2014

The real issues with “The Maze Runner” are the sloppy writing, the punishingly harsh worldview, and the ever-increasing levels of violence. The books may have profited from copycatting better-written, more complex Young Adult thrillers, but other than genre, it has little in common with them.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Read a Good Book Jackson County

Above average
Reviewed by Kathi on Aug 11 2013

It took a few pages, but not too many, for me to become attached to Thomas, to empathize with his confusion, anger, and fear. It also doesn't take very long for the world as it is first given to change in large and dramatic ways.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by Ben M. on Feb 07 2017

I think the book is so popular because of the dramatic tone and twisted plot and for all the unique futuristic situations that you don’t expect.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by lucap on Jan 14 2017

If you are looking for a great book to read and many hours to be fully engaged and entertained then be prepared for the Maze Runner

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Perrynomalactivity on Jan 14 2017

I feel this is an overused theme since I always find the hero/heroine has to take a risk that results in something better, but Dashner makes The Maze Runner different from other stories. And although it may seem a bit confusing, I promise if you spend the time to read this book, you will not be ­disappointed.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by RickyPost on Dec 31 2016

Suspense, friendship, and depression were big elements in The Maze Runner. James Dashner connects the reader and these factors in an excellent way. A majority of the readers that read the book believe that others should read it too.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by damjenniferr on Dec 31 2016

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a sci-fi thriller. The suspenseful story and plot line is evenly spaced with mystery in every page.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Zehra13 on Dec 30 2016

The Maze Runner is a master of dystopian worlds. You’ll join Thomas and his fellow Gladers as they desperately try to solve the Maze. The clever development of this tale matches no other.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by crazyzm on Dec 05 2016

If I could promote this book myself, I would because I loved it so much and I can't wait to read the next book since this is a series. I encourage you to read this, right now!

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by AlaNova on Dec 05 2016

Practically every page held new twists in the plot, and by each page you begin to fall in love with the dimensional, relatable characters. Cliffhangers to make you wail. And the writing? Clear and concise, descriptive at its balanced peak.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Perrynomalactivity on Dec 05 2016

...Dashner makes The Maze Runner different from other stories. And although it may seem a bit confusing, I promise if you spend the time to read this book, you will not be ­disappointed.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Fantasy Book Review

Good
Reviewed by Ceimone Kercher on Oct 02 2014

Apart from the slang, the narration of the book is simple and easy to read, meaning that you can still enjoy it even when busy. What lets this book down is the character development.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

That's What She Read

Above average
Reviewed by Michelle on May 09 2011

...answers lead to more questions. While this could be disheartening for the reader, instead it adds a level of intrigue and desire to continue. While one could argue that The Maze Runner does have a stand-alone story line, it ends in such a way that this reader cannot wait to get to the next book in the series!

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Story Snoops

Good
Reviewed by Jen on Aug 12 2013

The Maze Runner is a gripping dystopian read from the get go. The story's intriguing premise and many unanswered questions keep the reader guessing and the pages turning.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

All the Books I Can Read

Good
Reviewed by 1GIRL2MANYBOOKS on Oct 15 2014

I actually enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would – it’s a fast paced book most of the way through, barring the first part which is just Thomas trying to ask questions and not getting answers.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

The Book Smugglers

Good
on Nov 12 2009

...I don’t think you can get any more compelling or infuriating than the end of The Maze Runner (I’d put it on the level of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness). I need the next shankin’ book. NOW.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Once Upon a Twilight

Good
Reviewed by YARA SANTOS on Oct 02 2014

Halfway through the book my 12 year old daughter checked it out from her school library and read it with me, we ended up finishing the book together and we both loved it.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Geeky Bloggers Book Blog

Good
Reviewed by Felicia S on Sep 08 2014

I enjoyed The Maze Runner by James Dashner so much that I ended up buying the series because I didn’t think the Library wanted me to keep it. Who says the Library doesn’t sale books!

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Book Journey

Above average
Reviewed by Sheila on May 12 2013

I can not say I absolutely loved the book, I did however like it very much and think it would make an interesting movie.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Beth Fish Reads

Below average
Reviewed by Beth F on Sep 12 2011

Most annoying, however, was despite the fact that Thomas had no memories, he was constantly sure that he'd never felt or done [fill in the blank] before. How could he be sure, when he doesn't remember anything specific about his life before the Glade? I'm not sure why the The Maze Runner was a miss for me...

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Pretty Books

Excellent
on Aug 10 2011

I enjoyed The Maze Runner much more than I thought I would. I was thoroughly impressed and so I’m giving it a five star rating, which means “I loved this book”. The end is…interesting. That’s all I’ll say about it.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

From the TBR Pile

Below average
Reviewed by Kari Boardman on Mar 19 2015

I hated the beginning of the book. The slang was annoying...I did end up liking the book. I didn't love it, but I think that the younger YA crowd will find this one exciting.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Guys Lit Wire

Good
Reviewed by Shelf Elf on Dec 18 2009

...this is a survival story, with intrigue and nonstop action. This is a downright frightening read, backed up with strong themes exploring justice, freedom, ingenuity and hope.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Annette's Book Spot

Good
Reviewed by Annette on Jun 14 2011

This is one you don’t want to miss. The Death Cure, the third book, comes out in October, so don’t wait too long! I think for teens, it may have more boy appeal, although there is a kick-ass female character who comes into play before it all ends. I think with some selling, girls will pick this one up and enjoy it.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

The Overflowing Library

Above average
Reviewed by kirsty at the overflowing library on Dec 13 2010

I did like the idea behind the story...Certainly a series I will be looking to continue to read through but I am hoping the pace picks up and I start to understand what is going on!

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Booking in Heels

Below average
Reviewed by Kayleigh on Feb 08 2017

I did get more into it towards the end, but I was still looking forward to finishing the book and moving on to something (anything) else. It's just incredibly generic.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Peace Love Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Jessica on Aug 05 2014

I definitely wish I had read this book so much sooner. The story is definitely unique and I loved how all of the little details about the maze and where the boys lived all added up and fit together at the end.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Confessions of a Bibliophile

Good
Reviewed by Jaime on Nov 01 2009

The ending is incredible, because just when you think you know what is going on, you find out that you’re completely wrong. Can’t wait for the next one.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

https://www.sfsite.com

Above average
Reviewed by Dan Shade on Feb 06 2017

Although the world may be sparse, the characters are rich. I could easily see myself in the glade wondering what I would do to survive.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Having Said That

Above average
on Dec 05 2016

Then again, the dialog isn’t even the worst part, nor is the inner monologue, per se. It’s when the author fills in the conversations with descriptors and physical responses that everything gets rather ridiculous...Oh well. Even with all the writing problems in mind, my excitement to see the film adaptation of this novel has not waned.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

My Friend Amy

Good
Reviewed by Amy on Oct 06 2009

It's possible that the emotional landscape of the characters could have been more fully developed, but overall this is the perfect book to lose yourself in!

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Books And Movies

Good
Reviewed by CarrieK on Sep 05 2009

The Maze Runner is a very visual book – the images of the Maze, the Glade, the Homestead are all well-drawn. The Grievers are disgusting and horrifying. This book would make a fantastic film.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Parental Book Reviews

Below average
Reviewed by Andye on Dec 05 2016

I thought this book was pretty boring. It took me half the book to even care what was happening, and then was disappointed at the end when I found out it was only the end of Book One. The middle and end were relatively interesting and suspenseful...

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Serendipity Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Vivienne Dacosta on Sep 29 2014

I think the best way I could describe this book is perhaps as a futuristic version of The Lord of the Flies. If you are looking for a new dystopian world to enter, then this book is definitely for you.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

My Book Retreat

Good
Reviewed by Julie on Jan 20 2015

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is an action-packed dystopian young adult novel that kept the suspense going to the end.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Nerdy Book Club

Good
Reviewed by SARAH KRAJEWSKI on Oct 02 2014

Like my student, I finished the book in two days and was not disappointed. It wasn’t just good; it was great!

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Muggle-Born

Excellent
on Dec 11 2010

...THE MAZE RUNNER isn’t predictable. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. You’ll be guessing chapter after chapter until the very end. Now I understand what the hype is all about…

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Reading Addict

Above average
Reviewed by ccplteenunderground on Jul 01 2014

The characters are truly gripping, especially the protagonist. Thomas...I do have one teeny tiny nitpick. Much of Dashner's series centers around elements that I consider to be pretty far fetched.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

https://1girl2manybooks.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by 1GIRL2MANYBOOKS on Oct 13 2014

The great thing about being so late to join the party here is that the two sequels, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure are already out. And given the way The Maze Runner ends I can’t wait to go onto the next book and find out what happens next and hopefully learn more about the wider world.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Obsession with Books

Good
Reviewed by Sharon ObsessionwithBooks on Sep 20 2014

Overall, The Maze Runner is a great start to the series with an intriguing cast of characters, a dangerous setting and filled with action, manipulation, adventure and mystery, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. This was a book I couldn’t put down.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

http://www.clashentertainment.com

Below average
Reviewed by Shawna on Jan 23 2010

...just when I thought the author would ease up on his characters, he threw a bit more brutality at me. I was left to wonder what other horrible obstacles the characters would face in the sequels. I recommend caution on choosing this one.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

https://bfgb.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by Neil on Feb 12 2015

Dashner unspools a twisting plot rapidly after the opening setup, and readers will find it hard to guess what is coming next. The arrival of the next person to the Glade changes all the rules and raises the stakes for Thomas, his friends, and his rivals.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Genre Reviews

Below average
Reviewed by Debbie on Oct 31 2010

The characters were varied, and they had their strengths and weaknesses and their emotional ups and downs...There was a very minor amount of explicit bad language and a lot of totally made-up bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this novel.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Beckoned by Books

Good
Reviewed by Sherre on May 26 2013

I think the hype surrounding this book messed it up for me. If I had just picked it up with no expectations, I would probably have given it 5 stars. It was certainly good, just not as good as I’d hoped.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

A Novel Toybox

Above average
Reviewed by Lilian on Jul 13 2012

Overall, I did like the suspense, the world-building. But I am disappointed that my curiosity wasn’t quenched...

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Lauren Reads YA

Excellent
on Dec 05 2016

It’s an understatement to say that I’m glad I read this. I’m like, Really Fucking Super Glad I read this. It absolutely lives up to the hype.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

La Femme Readers

Good
on Jun 02 2014

All in all, this was a great start to the Maze Runner series. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the installments, along with watching the book come to life in a few months.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

http://www.chooseya.com

Above average
Reviewed by CHOOSEYABOOKS on Oct 07 2014

The Maze Runner started a little slow for me, however due to its premise and potential I kept reading and soon was sucked into the world.

Read Full Review of The Maze Runner (Maze Runner ...

Reader Rating for The Maze Runner
84%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 12465 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

User Review

Beata 26 Apr 2013

Rated the book as 3 out of 5

User Review

Samantha Heber 5 Feb 2015

This book is great. The writing style makes it a quick and easy read that kept me on my toes. There was never a dull moment through this book. I really felt like I was connecting with the character...

Full Review
User Review

Veronica 4 May 2015

Rated the book as 2.5 out of 5

Samantha Heber

Samantha Heber 5 Feb 2015

Has read the book

Rachel Mary Bernth

Rachel Mary Bernth 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Nicole

Nicole 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

×