The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Reviewed by Shaylan Jewell


The Maze Runner by James Dashner


When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade — a large, expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’re closed tight. And every thirty days, a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up — the first girl to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Imagine waking up in a dark elevator with no knowledge of the reason behind it and with no knowledge of where the elevator is headed. In James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, a teenage boy named Thomas opens his eyes to realize that he’s being transported to a large courtyard filled with boys his age. The boys seem very strange to Thomas. They say words that are unfamiliar to him, and they treat him like a child. With Thomas being the new kid in the Glade, he must start his life from scratch and quickly learn the customs of the other boys. Set in a post-apocalyptic society, the novel tells the true meaning of friendship and brotherhood, and the struggle to keep fighting despite the tragic deaths of close friends. While I enjoyed the entire novel, I absolutely loved the creative vocabulary, descriptive setting, and heart-warming characters.

The unique vocabulary that James Dashner used in this novel really fascinated me. When Thomas first arrived at the Glade, he had no idea what the boys were saying. For instance, the Gladers repeatedly said the words, “shank”, “shuck”, and “Greenie.” Due to the fact that no one in the Glades remembers their past, they made up their own kind of language. “Shank” and “shuck” are used as curse words in their community, and the boys are constantly calling Thomas a “Greenie” because he is the newest addition to the Glade. Although these new words took time to get used to, they were great aspects of this novel. Sometimes I have to stop myself from saying these words in public!

The second most appealing element of The Maze Runner was the natural setting. Because they all live in the center of a maze, the characters live outside. The weather never changes in the Glade; it is always warm and sunny. There are no adults there, so the boys made their own community. In their community, there is a graveyard, a garden, a kitchen, and a small house. The novel has a post-apocalyptic setting, so everything there is make-shift and natural. The entire setting is very earthy, which makes The Maze Runner very unique.

Lastly, I enjoyed the heart-warming characters. Particularly, I loved the characters’ relationships throughout the novel. In the beginning, they were all unfamiliar with Thomas, but as the story progressed I could definitely tell they had grown closer. I found myself getting extremely emotionally attached to each character, so it was hard for me to read about the many deaths. As the number of deaths increased, it became easier to realize just how much the characters cared for one another. James Dashner made sure that the reader could feel the characters’ emotions while reading The Maze Runner.

Overall this was an incredible read, and I recommend it to all young adults. James Dashner definitely did not disappoint me with this novel. I plan on reading the other two books in this trilogy very soon, because this book’s ending left many questions unanswered. I’m sure that people my age will also enjoy this novel, because it includes a lot of action. Also, I know that girls will be interested in this book, because it contains a bit of romance. This book includes many elements that I’m sure students would enjoy, and I believe that’s why The Maze Runner is such a popular teen fiction book now. Containing an interesting vocabulary usage, an earthy setting, and a beautiful group of characters, James Dashner’s The Maze Runner was a fantastic read.


3 responses

  1. Shaylan,
    Let me begin by informing you that it is always a pleasure to read your work. Your writing flows very well and I really enjoy the creative flow you bring to your work.
    I do have some suggestions for you. When you are quoting words from the book, such as “shank” and “shuck,” you need to make sure that you put the commas on the inside of the quotation marks.
    You have a great final paragraph, too. I do have a suggestion, though, that you refrain from using “because” repeatedly. While your whole review flows wonderfully, the flow from the last paragraph is slightly interrupted as the reader repeats the word “because.” Think of different ways to state each sentence so that you get away from the redundancy of the word and it will brighten up the entire final paragraph, and, therefore, your entire review.
    Your whole book review flows very well and is punctuated so nicely throughout. You seem to be growing as a writer. Keep up the great work.

    1. Kara,
      Thank you for reading and reviewing my work. I did not know that I needed to put the commas inside of the quotation marks, but I’ll be sure to do that from now on. I also noticed that I tend to place words strangely and that sometimes changes the flow of my writing. Thanks again.

      – Shaylan.

  2. Kara,
    Thank you for reading and reviewing my work. I did not know that I needed to put the commas inside of the quotation marks, but I’ll be sure to do that from now on. I also noticed that I tend to place words strangely and that sometimes changes the flow of my writing. Thanks again.

    – Shaylan.

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