I recently stumbled upon an Internet list of ‘books to read before their movies come out.’ One of the books on that list was one that I’d had my eye on for some time, but didn’t ever push myself to check out: The Maze Runner by James Dashner.
With a little more investigating, you’ll quickly realize The Maze Runner is part of a trilogy by Dashner, a trilogy that also has a prequel now added to it. The Maze Runner is the first book in the trio, with The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure rounding out the three. The prequel – titled The Kill Order – is what I’m reading now, after having finished the trilogy.
How to describe this set of books: dystopian, science-fiction, young-adult, catching, enthralling and eye-catching. I’ll start off by giving you the basic premise of book one, but you should definitely check it out for yourself and then read the rest of the trilogy!
The basic plot of The Maze Runner is this: One day, Thomas gets dropped into a box and sent off to live in a maze. Like, a full-blown maze. He has no memories of anything before being in the box, doesn’t know how he got there or why he’s here. Other boys are in the maze, too, some of them having been there for two years already. Every day, the walls of the central part – the ‘glade – open as doors, allowing some of the boys to go out and explore the maze in hopes of finding a way out. Every night, the doors close. The maze is filled with twists and turns and horrible creatures called Grievers that cause you to relive bad memories from the past. Despite everything, the boys have managed to survive well enough.
One day, a girl is dropped into the box. She’s the first girl ever in the glade – and the last person to be dropped in the box. Teresa throws everything out of order, with chaos somehow starting shortly after she arrives. Thomas becomes a ‘Runner,’ one of the boys who goes out into the maze. They go into the maze every day, explore, and then make a map every night upon returning. Thomas somehow feels connected to Teresa, even though he can’t figure out why. He begins to have dreams that seem to be memories, and he and Teresa are able to communicate telepathically.
One night, the doors to the maze don’t close. The sky turns to a dull gray that never changes. One of the boys, Gally, states that one ‘glader’ will die every night until it’s over – whatever it is. As things get worse and people start dying, the maps seemingly get destroyed and things look just about over – Thomas has an idea. He purposely gets stung by a Griever, bringing back memories of his past, which allows him to figure out a way to solve the maze.
But can they do it? Will it work? And even if they solve the maze… what happens after that? I’m not about to spoil everything for you, but let’s just say… it isn’t exactly over, and there’s more to the story than you might think. Keep in mind the science-fiction and dystopian aspects of this book, because what you think you see isn’t exactly what’s really going on.
Make sure you have the rest of the series on hand, because once you start, you’ll want to continue right on with the next title. I couldn’t put these books down as I was extremely interested and anticipating what would happen next, trying to figure out the backstory for myself as things kept happening. It’s an interesting series – I’m starting the prequel, The Kill Order, today – and I’d certainly recommend reading it.
The film version of The Maze Runner starts Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario and many others and is set to be released in February 2014.