The Maze Runner by James Dashner, paperback novel, 371 pages, first published by Delacorte Press in 2010, this edition published by The Chicken House in 2011.
All that Thomas can remember is his first name. There are brief images from his past life, but no details, no faces, no context. He quickly discovers he is not the only boy to enter the Glade with his memories curiously removed. The Glade is situated in the middle of a vast and complicated stone maze, trapping the boys there, with no idea who sent them and why, or how to escape. The Maze crawls with horrible and deadly creatures, called grievers, by night, and sometimes during the day, preying on the boys, making it even harder to find the solution. They can’t give up though, there must be a way to escape their imprisonment, a way to make it home, even if they can’t remember where or what home is anymore. Things in the Glade have been the same day in, day out for two years, but after Thomas arrives, things begin to change. Is Thomas the cause or is he there to help them? Even Thomas doesn’t have an answer to that yet, but he will give it his all to find out.
James Dashner has created a whole new and terrifying world in The Maze Runner. It is an excellent read most suitable for upper primary and high school students, though adults are sure to enjoy it as well. I found it to be an exciting page-turner that I stayed up late to finish reading, something I don’t do much any more with three young children, but I just couldn’t put it down until I discovered what became of Thomas and the Gladers.
The world of the Gladers developed around me as I read, with the different parts of the Glade becoming clear, and the characters so life-like. The characters were easily envisioned, with Chuck’s constant chatter, Alby’s temper, Newt’s determination, and Minho’s hope. Thomas is a little different to the other boys, but very likeable, I really wanted him to find the truth and be the one that lead the boys to victory. Theresa, the only girl in the story is a bit of an enigma, but I thought her roughness and pluck were perfectly suited to her role in the story. A wonderful cast of characters, in a truly well told tale of adventure, mystery, danger and excitement.
I bought this book thinking it was a stand-alone novel, so I was very excited to discover that it is just the first book in a series! I will be getting my hands on the sequel as soon as possible :)