Dashner (the 13th Reality series) offers up a dark and gripping tale of survival set in a world where teenagers fight for their lives on a daily basis. It starts when Thomas, a teenage amnesiac, wakes up in the Glade, a fragile oasis in the middle of an enormous maze. Here, a group of teenage boys eke out a hazardous existence, exploring the Maze by day and retreating to the Glade at night. No one knows how they got there; no one has ever found a way out (“Old life's over, new life's begun. Learn the rules quick,” the group's leader tells Thomas). Bizarre technological monsters called Grievers patrol the Maze's corridors, almost certain death for any who encounter them. Thomas struggles to regain his memories, but the arrival of a young woman with an ominous message changes the rules of the game. 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. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
VOYA - Susan Hampe
Thomas wakes up in a box with no memory of who he is or where he comes from beyond his name. When the doors open, he is tossed into the disorienting world of the glade, a place built by the mysterious Creators with unknown intentions, where survival and escape are the goal and no one can remember how they got there. Surrounding the glade is the maze, into which runners race everyday searching for an exit, and where horrible creatures called grievers roam to hunt the boys. As he learns the ropes of life in the glade, Thomas finds himself drawn toward the maze and being a runner, while he tries to remember anything he can about his past, certain that the answers are locked away in his head. When a girl arrives in the glade, everything changes and a desperate end game begins for everyone. Dashner creates a dangerously captivating world filled with riveting action and suspense, leaving the reader anxious for more. Thrilling twists and turns make this superb plot even better as it moves at a steady but enticing pace. The various clues hidden in the maze and glade will pique readers' curiosity as they search alongside the characters for the answers to the many questions of the glade. The dynamic characters Dashner creates round off this incredible story, making it as bright as the trilogy it has begun. Reviewer: Susan Hampe
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in "the glade" for two years, trying to find a way to escape through a maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change. There are some great, fast-paced action scenes, particularly those involving the nightmarish Grievers who plague the boys. Thomas is a likable protagonist who uses the information available to him and his relationships (including his ties to the girl, Teresa) to lead the Gladers. Unfortunately, the question of whether the teens will escape the maze is answered 30 pages before the book ends, and the intervening chapter loses momentum. The epilogue, which would be deliciously creepy coming immediately after the plot resolves, fails to pack a punch as a result. That said, The Maze Runner has a great hook, and fans of dystopian literature, particularly older fans of Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember (Random, 2003), will likely enjoy this title and ask for the inevitable sequel.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
Boys come to the Glade via an empty freight elevator with no memory of how they got there or of their prior lives. This disorientation is made more frightening when they realize that to survive they must lock themselves in every night to avoid the horrors of the Grievers, beings that are part machine, part animal-and altogether deadly. The boys in the Glade send out Runners each day to find a way out through the Maze that surrounds their one patch of safety, with no success. Life goes on until one day the elevator delivers a girl. She brings a message: She is the last child to be sent, and there will be no more deliveries of food or supplies. Now the Glade is cut off, and as the Grievers gather for an all-out attack it's clear that it's now or never-the Maze must be solved. Dashner knows how to spin a tale and make the unbelievable realistic. Hard to put down, this is clearly just a first installment, and it will leave readers dying to find out what comes next. (Science fiction. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
Praise for the Maze Runner series:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling Series
A USA Today Bestseller
A Book Sense Bestseller
An Indie Next List Selection
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
• “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
Children's Literature - Brandon West
Welcome to the Glade, a homestead for boys who no longer have memories of their former lives, that happens to be inconveniently located in the center of a giant and deadly maze. Sixteen-year-old Thomas awakens with no memory of who he is or why he ended up in this Glade. As Thomas orients to his new survivalist lifestyle, he learns that the key to escaping might be to solve the maze. The only problem is that the maze is guarded by Grievers, techno-organic beasts with a hunger for human flesh. Thomas breaks the rules of the boys’ society by running into the maze and surviving. He quickly becomes lauded by some for this ability to navigate the maze and chastised by others, most notably by his rival Gally. One day, Teresa, the first and only female inhabitant, is delivered to the Glade with a message that she is the last person who will be joining them and that food supplies are no longer going to be sent. Along with this news, Grievers begin congregating for a full scale attack on the Glade. Without any other options, the inhabitants of the Glade only hope is to solve the maze. The Maze Runner was originally published in 2006 and is Dashner’s first entry into his science fiction, post-apocalyptic trilogy. This particular title has lauded much praise since its original debut and is now a major motion picture film. This edition of the book pays homage to the film by sporting a new dust jacket and features eight pages of full-color photos from the movie. This book stands the test of time and will continue to interest teens who enjoy dystopian fiction, making it a worthwhile addition to book collections. Reviewer: Brandon West; Ages 12 up.
Read an Excerpt
WICKED Memorandum, Date 220.6.24, Time 0936
FROM: Kevin Anderson, Chancellor
Welcome, colleagues, to the beginning of the greatest collaborative human effort in the history of our planet. I would not dare suggest that this is a time for excitement. The world has never known such dark times as these, and celebration is far from appropriate. What I would like to establish, however, is that we can feel hope and pride that we are a part of something that is working to save the human race. To succeed, we must hit the ground running.
Those of you in charge of the search parties in the designated Twelve Sectors are to report back to the Council each time a suitable subject is discovered. It is far too early to know what percentage of the population meets our needs, but it has become obvious that the number will be small. We need to test each subject immediately so we can choose Candidates with the greatest potential to last until the very end.
The design team for the Maze will be presenting their latest plans to us tomorrow morning at 0900 hours at command center 1. Building a structure of this sophistication is an ambitious project during the best of times, and given the current state of the world, we anticipate that implementing phase 1 will take the next several years. We will spare no expense to keep the project on track. In a few years we will have our Elite Candidates to help in the final design and building phases.
Tomorrow’s meeting will also devote a segment to the biotech creatures we have manufactured to help us create and fully manage the planned Variables.
Our Psychs and doctors have worked to come up with an action plan. They believe that we can achieve 60 percent of the patterns we need by setting in motion the incidents we have plotted so far. With at least ten years until the project reaches its climax, I think that is an incredible number.
Members of the Council plan to stay in constant communication throughout the entirety of this project, so do feel free to share your thoughts with me or the others on the Council at any time. I am proud to be a part of this great endeavor, along with all of you.
The future has begun.