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The Maze Runner

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Title: The Maze Runner  
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The Maze Runner

James Dashner
Author James Dashner
Cover artist Philip Scrub
Country United States
Language English (United States)
Genre Young-adult, science fiction, post-apocalyptic
Publisher Delacorte Press
Publication date
October 6, 2009
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)
Pages 378
LC Class PZ7.D2587Maz 2007
Followed by The Scorch Trials[1]

The Maze Runner is the first book in a young-adult post-apocalyptic science fiction trilogy of the same name by James Dashner.[1][2] The novel was published on October 6, 2009, by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House, and was made into a 2014 major motion picture by 20th Century Fox. The sequel to the movie, The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials is set to be released on September 18, 2015. The novel spawned two sequels: The Scorch Trials (2010) and The Death Cure (2011).

Dashner also wrote a prequel to The Maze Runner, entitled The Kill Order, that came out in 2012. [3] He also announced that another prequel, The Fever Code, is set to be released in 2016.


Thomas arrives in a place known as the Glade, left with no memories of his life before except his name. He meets other teenage boys calling themselves Gladers who have made a community in which each is assigned to a task in different departments headed by a Keeper.

A gigantic maze surrounds the Glade and inside are mechanical creatures called Grievers that roam it at night. Huge doors around the Glade leading into the maze close at sunset. Supplies arrive every week and a new boy is sent once every month in an elevator called "the Box," It is the same elevator Thomas arrived in. There are also Beetle Blades, a mechanical bug to spy on the Gladers, on which the word "WICKED" is written.

The day after Thomas arrives in the Glade, a girl is sent carrying a note that reads, "This is the last one EVER." After the arrival of the girl, it is clear that some sexual tension is created amongst the Gladers. Because of their memory loss, this is the first time that these boys are seeing a girl and it is clear that Thomas has his eye on her. Meanwhile, Thomas learns that the Gladers have unsuccessfully tried to solve the Maze for at least two years and that the antidote to a Griever's painful sting can give slight pieces of memory.

Thomas befriends a young Glader named Chuck and also the Gladers' second-in-command, Newt. Gladers exploring the Maze are called "Runners." Minho, the Keeper of the Runners, and Alby, the Gladers' leader, search for a dead Griever that Minho found while running the maze the day before. However, the Griever is not dead and it stings Alby. Minho struggles to carry Alby from the Maze and back to the Glade, but as the doors close on them, Thomas runs into the Maze and joins them.

Hearing approaching Grievers, Minho leaves Thomas with an unconscious Alby. Thomas saves Alby and finding Minho, tricks pursuing Grievers into falling off "the cliff" (an abyss within the Maze). Minho and Thomas return to the Glade as the doors open the next morning.

As the acting leader, Newt calls a "Gathering" to decide Thomas's fate for entering the Maze without permission. It is decided that Thomas be made a Runner after serving one day in "the Slammer" (jail).

The day after his allotted jail time, Thomas joins Minho running the Maze. They quickly discover a "Griever Hole" through a cliff, exposing the outside world. He also discovers words covered in vines that said, "World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department", assuming that WICKED is the acronym.

After returning to the Glade, Thomas is shocked to hear the girl speak telepathically to him. He realizes her name is Teresa, and she says she has triggered an "Ending." Soon afterward, Teresa awakes and befriends Thomas. The same day, the sky turns a dull gray, which Thomas attributes to the Creators of the Glade. That night, the Maze's doors remain open, leaving the Gladers unprotected from the Grievers. The Gladers soon learn that the Grievers only take one person a night. Alby also burns down the map room, where all the maps were, but Minho and the other Runners had moved them to a secret room. With the maps, the Gladers align them and spell out words. The words have no relation to each other and the Gladers know it is a code.

Desperate to retrieve his lost memories, Thomas allows the Grievers to sting him. After recovering, Thomas explains that he and Teresa were forced to help the Creators design the Maze. He says he and Teresa shares a telepathic link. The way out of the Maze is over a cliff face and that it is an illusion to trick them. This is where the Grievers enter and exit the Maze. By following the Grievers, they can escape by punching the code words into a computer on the other side. Thomas leads the Gladers into the Maze and they confront a small army of Grievers. About half of the Gladers die in the fight, but Thomas, Teresa, and Chuck make their way down the hole and punch in the code and shut down the Maze. A door opens nearby.

The 21 remaining Gladers descend down a spiraling slide that dumps them into a massive underground bunker. There they meet the Creators: thin, pale, joyless adults who take copious notes while observing them from behind glass. A woman greets the Gladers, telling them they have done well. Gally appears and throws a knife at Thomas. Chuck steps in front of it, sacrificing his life to save him. Enraged, Thomas attacks Gally and knocks him unconscious.

Suddenly, a group of gunmen storm the room and shoot the woman and the Creators. The Gladers are taken out of this facility and put into a large bus. As they are boarding, a hideously scarred woman grabs Thomas and tells him that he is here to save everyone from the Flare before the driver runs her over. Thomas and Teresa learn from a rescuer that the world was ravaged after solar flares slammed Earth, killing millions within days, leaving the world a wasteland. A disease known as the Flare now threatens humanity. The group's goal is to stop the tests WICKED is doing, and find the cure for the Flare.

After two hours, the bus stops at a dormitory-like building. Inside, the Gladers find bunk beds with blankets, bathrooms, and food. They finally feel safe. Thomas drifts off to sleep feeling there is hope for the future.

A memorandum email from Ava Paige to her associates reveals that this is simply the next stage of the Glader's trials. The memo reveals that there are more children in this experiment. The goal is to discover why these children are abnormally resistant to the Flare and save humanity by using them to find a cure.


  • Thomas: a teenage boy who wakes up in a lift that takes him to The Glade, he has no memory of his life before except his name. He has a telepathic connection with Teresa.
  • Teresa: The one girl to enter the glade. She has a telepathic connection with Thomas
  • Alby: A boy who is the eldest and the leader of the Gladers, he tries to keep order within the group by having all the boys follow the rules they've set down to survive. His best friend is Newt. He is a Runner together with Minho.
  • Newt: A tall, smart boy with blondish-red hair. He used to be a Runner, but had to quit when he injured his leg in a suicide attempt. He is friendly and welcoming to Thomas. He is Alby's second-in-command and best friend and takes over as leader when Alby no longer feels capable.
  • Minho: The keeper of the Runners - in charge of navigating and mapping out the Maze. He is sarcastic, hotheaded and impulsive, but at the same time smart and loyal towards his friends. As the Keeper of the Runners, he's in very good shape and is described as "dark-haired with strong arms."
  • Chuck: A young and chubby boy who was the newest Glader until Thomas arrived. He immediately befriends Thomas and acts like a little brother towards him.
  • Gally: A Glader who was stung by a Griever and regained some memories. He believes he remembers Thomas and shows an immense dislike for him. Keeper of the Builders.
  • Frypan: The Gladers' cook and Keeper of the cooks.
  • Winston: The Keeper of the Slicers - in charge of slaughtering livestock for food.
  • Zart: A big, brooding boy and keeper of the Track-hoes who are in charge of farming.
  • Jeff: One of the two Med-jacks. He works closely with Clint healing victims of the Griever's sting with "The Grief Serum".
  • Clint: One of the two Med-jacks and the keeper of the Med-jacks. He works closely with Jeff healing victims of the Griever's sting with "The Grief Serum".
  • Ben: A Runner who was stung by a Griever. He becomes very violent and tries to kill Thomas. He is then banished from the Glade.
  • Deshawn: A minor member of the Gladers who appears to be the group's weapons specialist. He is shown several times sharpening spears.


In late 2005, Dashner had published four books to complete The Jimmy Fincher Saga, which had been with a small regional publisher. His publisher wanted him to write another book, but he decided he would try for a national book market instead. In November of that year he had an idea when going to bed about, "a bunch of teenagers living inside an unsolvable Maze full of hideous creatures, in the future, in a dark, dystopian world. It would be an experiment, to study their minds. Terrible things would be done to them. Awful things. Completely hopeless. Until the victims turn everything on its head."[4] Dashner wrote the book from December 2005 to March 2006.[4]


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".[5]

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."[6]

Film adaptation

Fox released a film adaptation of the book, titled The Maze Runner, on September 19, 2014. Wes Ball signed on as director and T.S. Nowlin wrote the screenplay.[7] Dylan O'Brien played the lead role of Thomas,[8] and Thomas Brodie-Sangster portrayed Newt[9] and Kaya Scodelario Teresa,[10] respectively. Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Will Poulter and Aml Ameen were added to the cast as Minho, Chuck, Gally and Alby. Patricia Clarkson played the role of main antagonist Ava Paige, while Jacob Latimore portrayed Jeff and Randal Cunningham portrayed Clint. Chris Sheffield played Ben and Dexter Darden was Frypan, while Joe Adler portrayed Zart. That was the main cast for The Maze Runner movie, and already a few of the stars for the Scorch Trials movie (the movie to the second book in the series) has recently been announced.

Wayne Haag served as an artist on the film, and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Lindsay Williams and Lee Stollman as producers.[11]

Creature designer Ken Barthelmey designed the monsters called Grievers for the film.[12]

Filming started on May 13, 2013,[13] and ended July 12, 2013.[14]


  1. ^ a b Shill, Aaron (November 25, 2009). "'Maze Runner' on 'right track'".  
  2. ^ Dig, Enric (September 24, 2014). "The Maze Runner 2014 Full Movie Review".  
  3. ^ "The Kill Order to be published in August 2012" (Press release). New York: Delacorte LShakshahxjdPress. November 21, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Dashner, James (July 16, 2008). "The Tale of The Maze Runner". The Dashner Dude. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ "The Maze Runner".  
  6. ^ Harrison, Jessica (October 3, 2009). Maze Runner' provides a thrilling adventure"'".  
  7. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (January 4, 2011). "Young-adult sensation 'The Maze Runner' gets ready to run the movie gantlet (Updated)". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  8. ^ Wilkinson, Amy (April 18, 2013). Maze Runner' Finds Its Thomas"'".  
  9. ^ "Movie Casting Round-Up: Thomas Brodie-Sangster Joins ‘Maze Runner’; Scott Glenn Added To ‘Trigger’". Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Kaya Scodelario Joins The Maze Runner". Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  11. ^ "We have @jamesdashner The Dashner Dude, then we got @wesball Mr Director Dude and now we have @ankaris Mr Designer Dude!! Good that".  
  12. ^
  13. ^ Dashner, James (March 29, 2013). "Much more casting news should be coming very soon. They start filming in May. Release date of September 19, 2014 #dashnerchat".  
  14. ^ simg, murphy. "The Maze Runner Review". Retrieved 15 September 2014. 

External links

  • James Dashner (author) site (official)
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