The Maze Runner by James Dashner is a story about a boy whose name is Thomas. He wakes up in the dark of an elevator with no other memories than his name. When the elevator doors open, he finds himself surrounded by about fifty other teenage boys his own age where their leader, a boy named Alby welcomes him to the Glade. The Glade is a large square piece of land surrounded by high stone walls with only a few wood and concrete buildings. Surrounding the Glade is a massive Maze which, contains frightening creatures called Grievers.
‘It looked like an experiment gone terribly wrong – something from a nightmare. Part animal, part machine, the Griever rolled and clicked along the stone pathway. Its body resembled a gigantic slug, sparsely covered in hair and glistening with slime, grotesquely pulsating in and out as it breathed. It had no distinguishable head or tail, but front to end it was at least six feet long, four feet thick.’
He learns that if a Griever stings you, you go through a process called changing, which is a quite traumatic experience. The next day a girl named Theresa arrives at the Glade, the first-ever. Thomas is then attacked by a boy whose name is Ben who recently has gone through changing. He insists that he remembers Thomas from before and knows who he really is. The same day two of the maze runners, Minho and Alby, struggle to get out of the maze before the walls close. Thomas, who is forbidden to enter, joins them and helps them survive the night. After that, Thomas is elected to be a maze explorer, which means running around in the maze trying to draw maps over the maze. He also visits Therese who is still in a coma. As she begins to telepathically communicate with him he becomes afraid and runs off into the maze to try and escape her voice in his head. He eventually returns back to the Glade. She then also reveals to him that the two of them helped the creators with the creation of the maze. When the sun the next day disappears from the sky, Thomas realizes that it is a fabricated place when Theresa tells him that the maze is a code. When Gally willingly throws himself onto the Grievers, telling them that they will kill one of them each night until they are all dead, Thomas determines a new way to analyze the maps. Together with Theresa, he finds a series of letters hidden in the maps which together spells out words that have no associations to each other such as “float”, “bleed” and “death”. In desperation, Thomas then allows himself to be stung by the Grievers in an attempt to retrieve some of his old memories. During his recovery from the changing, he recalls that he and Theresa were forced to help with the creating of the maze. He also recognizes that the way out of the maze is over a cliff, which is an illusion to trick them. After convincing the other Gladers to follow the plan, they end up in a giant facility where they meet the creators of the maze. They congratulate the Gladers but reveal that there’s still one more test. As a fight then breaks out between the Gladers and the creators, a group of men and women storms into the facility and shoots the creators. They then take the Gladers with them onto a bus, explaining that there has been a catastrophic ecological disaster that has caused a widespread outbreak of diseases. The creators of the maze hoped to raise the children in a cruel environment like the maze to prepare them for the challenges of the real world. The leader of the group then tells them that her group fights to save children from their experiments, whereafter they bring the Gladers to a house giving them food and a safe place to sleep.
The book ends with an email by the chief of the Maze, Ava Paige. In the email, she writes that the “rescue” was a good finale and that phase two of the experiment would begin after the group has gotten a good night’s sleep.
The language in the book is quite simple. The author uses a lot of words such as “dirty”, “annoying” etc. to show how the tdifferent characters are. Something that makes it pretty clear who the antagonists and protagonists are. The language is also informal with the residents of the Glade uses “Glader” slang such as “shuck” and “clunk”. The book, overall, is written in a quite serious mood as it is a dystopian novel. However, there is still a sense of humour, for example:
“You’re the shuckiest shuck faced shuck there ever was” – Minho
The book is written in past tense with the exception of flashbacks, which are written in present tense. The book is also written in third person, limited omniscient. The story is told from the viewpoint of Thomas which allows the reader to follow his thoughts, feelings, and emotions, while still maintaining the thrill by not spoiling too much. I think that the author wrote the story mostly for entertainment, however, there are a few things that one can learn from this book. The first being that to grow, you need to step out of your comfort zone. In The Maze Runner Thomas believes that they can’t stay in the Glade forever, while for example, Gally believes that they should to survive. While staying in your comfort zone may provide a false feeling of security, you are not going to grow or progress forward until you take risks and challenges. Another thing you can learn is not letting past failures and bad outcomes discourage you. For example, when Thomas comes to the Glade he gets to learn that no one who ever spent a night in the Maze has survived. However, he still went out there and not only survived but also managed to defeat one of the Grievers that was trying to hunt him down.
Personally I think that The Maze Runner is a really good book. All the characters are easy to relate to due to the face that they are not unrealistically “perfect”. For example, even if Thomas was a person that wanted to fight, he knew that there was a reason for the things that were happening and also were ready to give everything when it came to solving the puzzle. He also had an emotional and scared side. One of the more famous quotes in the book is
“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human” which is very true. The author is also really good at writing gripping scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat with no idea what’s going to happen next. Overall I really enjoyed the book and the cliffhangers really keeps you on edge. I do recommend the book. I think it’s great for both teens as well as young adults, as it’s exciting from cover to cover.