| Spoiler Alert!|
This page contains details about the plot which may lower your enjoyment of the books. Discretion is advised.
|The Maze Runner|
|Publication date||October 2009|
|Published by||Delacorte Press|
| Preceded by|
The Kill Order
| Followed by|
The Scorch Trials
The Maze Runner, a book by James Dashner, is the first book in the Maze Runner Trilogy. It precedes The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure.
Thomas wakes up in a box, only remembering his name. A group of boys (13+) pull him out and tell him he is in the Glade, part of the maze they live in, which is later to be found out as a test to attempt to find a cure. A cure for the flare, which is a disease that makes you zombie-like. He makes a friend, Chuck, and an enemy, Gally, who was undergoing the change, he was scratched or bitten by a griver while he was "running" (mapping the maze). Gally claims that he saw Thomas while he was changing, which makes Thomas an outsider but he is determined to become a runner, so eventually he does. He stays the night in the maze, which is not really recommended, because that is when the grivers come out, he only stays because he tries to help a runner back inside before the wall separates the maze and the Glade. So they endure a night out along with another runner, Minho. Alby, who originally tries to keep safe, gets scratched while Thomas tries to bring him over the wall, but finds out the hard way that grivers can climb, later that night Minho and Thomas "kill" a griver, (they trick it into falling off a cliff) and all three boys survive the night, from that moment on Thomas is a runner.
Then a girl arrives, which is strange considering its an all boys camp, they are introduced to Wicked, her hand reads "WICKED is good" and Thomas recognizes the name, but doesn't say anything. After a run he hears the girl talking to him in his head, he realizes they have a connection, so they can talk telepathically.
The highest members of the Glade judge wether he can stay in the Glade or leave, considering all the trouble he has brought them. They decide he can stay but Gally must leave because of his outburst. All is well until the wall stops closing, and when one person dies a painful death each night, they have to choose between leaving, and entering the maze, or staying and dying. So they make a plan using the maps to spell out something that they must do to a button and go off into the maze! many die, but those few that live jump into the cliff the griever "died" in and everything stops, they then go out into what they think is the real world and meet the scientists, they also find gally, who has gone completely mad and tries to kill Thomas, but instead Chuck only takes the shot, and Thomas knocks out Gally. After that the scientists explain what is happening, and in the middle of their explanation they are attacked, and killed. They escape the lab and see a woman who is expected but run over her in the stormy night, off to safety, at least they think. The second book starts the next day.
"The Maze Runner" refers to one of the jobs in the maze, a Runner. Thomas, Minho, previously Newt, and others, are Runners.
Book retailer Barnes & Noble included the book as part of its showcasing of new writers for the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. Kirkus Reviews wrote, "Hard to put down, this is clearly just a first installment, and it will leave readers dying to find out what comes next".
Jessica Harrison of the Deseret Morning News labeled The Maze Runner as "a thrilling adventurous book for kids ages 13+ that will get readers' hearts pumping and leave them asking for more." She noted that it "starts out a bit slow" but as it matched Thomas's confusion and picked up pace as he became more accustomed, she wrote that "it's almost as if Dashner is easing the reader into what becomes a fast-paced, nonstop action." However, she thought the "only drawback" was the "fictionalized slang" that although it "feels realistic and fits with his characters, it gets old pretty fast. On the plus side, however, it's used so often that the reader almost becomes desensitized and learns to ignore it."