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The maze runner
2009
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Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape. - (Baker & Taylor)

Read the first book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. The Maze Runner is now a major motion picture featuring the star of MTV's Teen Wolf, Dylan O’Brien; Kaya Scodelario; Aml Ameen; Will Poulter; and Thomas Brodie-Sangster! Also look for James Dashner’s newest novels, The Eye of Minds and The Rule of Thoughts, the first two books in the Mortality Doctrine series.

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

Praise for the Maze Runner series:


"[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 writingfast-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

“Exclamation-worthy.”Romantic Times

[STAR] “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


From the Hardcover edition. - (Random House, Inc.)

Author Biography

James Dashner is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order, as well as The Eye of Minds and The Rule of Thoughts, the first two books in the Mortality Doctrine series. Dashner was born and raised in Georgia, but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. To learn more about James and his books, visit JamesDashner.com, follow @jamesdashner on Twitter, and find dashnerjames on Instagram.




From the Hardcover edition. - (Random House, Inc.)

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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

As with many recent stories being spread over multiple volumes, this often-exciting but ultimately frustrating opener reads more like an extended prologue than a fully realized novel. Thomas, his memory wiped out, is thrust into the center of an enormous maze, where other teens have constructed a survivalist society. No one knows why they're there, or where they came from, but each day they send out runners into the constantly shifting, monster-infested labyrinth to search for a way out. As memories start to trickle back in and circumstances grow increasingly dire, Thomas suspects he knows more about the maze than he should. The withholding and then revelation of crucial information tend toward contrivance and convenience, but the tantalizing hints of a ravaged world outside make for gripping reading. Although this opening volume will appeal to the same audience as hot dystopian thrillers like The Hunger Games (2008), it doesn't promise the same level of devotion. With much of the more intriguing head-game aspects left unexplored, though, the potential for a rousing continuation of the story certainly exists. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Booklist Reviews

Though Dashner wrapped up his best-selling Maze Runner trilogy with 2011's The Death Cure, he returns to the well with this prequel, telling the backstory of how the world's population came to be infected with the psychotic lunacy disease that would lead scientists to put teens through a series of sadistic tests in the name of finding a cure. We meet Mark and Trina soon after ravenous sun flares wipe out a good swath of humanity, living tooth and nail in a small settlement until a gang of hazmat-suited folks drop from the sky and shoot everyone up with virus-laden darts. The quest to find answers and save their band of friends takes them straight into a bleak heart of darkness. The story's burdened by thin characters, plot contrivances, and generally tortured logic, but the series' many readers aren't in it for the craft. The draw is the gobs of gruesome violence and raving lunacy in the back-to-back, extended action sequences. And there's plenty such fare here, even if it all feels like the stakes are lowered a bit by knowing the inevitable outcome. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Booklist Reviews

The exercise in withholding information begun in The Maze Runner (2009) continues. The boys who had their memories wiped before being dropped into a massive maze have escaped, but they now have to trek across a sunflare-blasted wasteland to get the cure to the insanity disease they've been infected with. The wickedly violent action and rush to figure out what's actually going on help distract from a number of gaping plot holes. Fans will want this one, too, but know that Dashner still has an awful lot of explaining to do in the upcoming finale. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Thomas wakes up with no memory, surrounded by boys around his own age. He has been placed in a maze with obstacles and monsters to fight, but more important is figuring out how he got there--and what happened to the adults. The story is fast-paced and gripping, with unexpected twists (though readers familiar with sci-fi of this type may not be surprised). Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Set about a year after the sun flares that destroyed the world, this prequel to The Maze Runner trilogy explains the origins of the deadly Flare virus and the discovery of the first Immune. It doesn't stand alone, but fans of the series will appreciate this fast-paced addition to the canon, as will die-hard post-apocalyptic readers who can overlook the plot's tedium.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Thomas and the others (The Maze Runner) must undergo more of WICKED's trials on an Earth ravaged by solar flares and a terrifying epidemic. While struggling to survive, Thomas attempts to find the truth behind the ominous organization and his best friend's betrayal. The relentless string of obstacles grows tedious, but moments of narrative excitement will carry readers along. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Thomas and the others (The Maze Runner) undergo more of WICKED's trials on an Earth ravaged by solar flares and a terrifying epidemic. The relentless string of obstacles grows tedious, but moments of narrative excitement will carry readers along. This "movie tie-in edition" includes a foreword by the director and an insert of stills from the movie.

Kirkus Reviews

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) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Kirkus Reviews

A prequel to the series that began with The Maze Runner (2009) takes readers back to the moment when the sun flares devastate the Earth and tells the story of the birth of the killer virus that followed. Mark and Trina were riding the New York City subtrans system when the flares originally struck. Glad to have each other, they were very lucky to meet up with Alec and Lana, both ex-military and equipped with plenty of survival skills. It has taken them a year to get to relative safety in the Appalachian Mountains and to establish a settlement with other survivors. Life is beginning to resemble "normal," when they are once again attacked from the sky, this time by soldiers. The situation worsens when survivors begin to sicken and die, but not before going mad. The small group makes its way back out into the forest, hunting for their attackers and looking for answers. It's only a matter of time before one of them, infected, goes insane….Blending past, present and future, this is a gritty and unnerving look at a post-apocalyptic world that both recalls early classics of the genre and looks forward to Dashner's already-established trilogy. For fans of the original books and of the genre as a whole, a must read. (Science fiction/thriller 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Kirkus Reviews

Thomas led the Gladers to safety in The Maze Runner (2009). But after just one night's rest, the survivors are told that a true haven is still a long way off. To reach it, they have to pass another trial: crossing an expanse of scorched earth while being pursued by the Cranks, humans infected by the Flare, a disease that inflicts madness. If they can just make it to the designated meeting point on time (and alive), they will be met by a rescue team from the shadowy organization behind these trials, receive the cure to the pandemic and never have to face danger again. Constantly on the run and threatened, the Gladers struggle to win. Thomas tries to protect his friends while searching for Teresa, the lone girl from the Glade, and grappling with elusive returning memories. Taut and bleak, continually intriguing and surprising, this is a solid sequel that keeps both Thomas and readers wondering what is really going on. Hooked readers will hope they won't have to wait long for the answers that have been promised in the next installment. (Science fiction/thriller. 12 & up) 

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

This prequel to Dashner's dystopian Maze Runner trilogy, set 13 years before those books,focuses on a new character—Mark—who lives through the "sun flares" that decimate Earth. He creates a new family with other survivors, including Alec, a tough old soldier, and Trina, his love interest. But then strangers arrive on an airship and infect villagers with a mysterious virus, which quickly spreads and mutates. Maze Runner fans may be surprised by the new protagonist, but they will be swept up in the breathless, cinematic action. Whether Mark is flashing back to his escape from the sun flares, stealing an airship with Alec, or battling hordes of virus-infected maniacs, Dashner's adventure is filled with near-constant melees and peril (some readers might want to trade some fight scenes for more narrative and character development). Even so, Dashner has crafted a clever prequel that will appeal to fans anxious to see where The Maze Runner came from, while enticing those unfamiliar with the later books. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Aug.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Publishers Weekly Reviews

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.)

[Page 59]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Hundreds of pages into this sequel to The Maze Runner, one of the teen subjects of a survival experiment on postapocalypse Earth wonders aloud, "hat this is really all about." Readers may be asking that, too. In The Maze Runner, the teens, their memories erased, searched for a way out of a deadly maze; their escape, led by Thomas, was short-lived. As volume two opens, the boys learn they are infected with the "Flare," a virus that has killed millions and produced a population of nearly insane, disease-ravaged "cranks." New orders from WICKED, a coalition of surviving governments, have the boys marching across a wasteland toward a promised cure. Though some facts are teased out, the narrative bogs down under the weight of unanswered questions. What is the purpose of torturing these kids? How is making them into killers ensuring the survival of the world? Why would government leaders name themselves WICKED? Hopefully answers are forthcoming in volume three. In any case, fans who are already hooked will gobble this down, particularly those who don't mind anemic female characters and a high body count. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

PW Annex Reviews

This prequel to Dashner's dystopian Maze Runner trilogy, set 13 years before those books,focuses on a new character—Mark—who lives through the "sun flares" that decimate Earth. He creates a new family with other survivors, including Alec, a tough old soldier, and Trina, his love interest. But then strangers arrive on an airship and infect villagers with a mysterious virus, which quickly spreads and mutates. Maze Runner fans may be surprised by the new protagonist, but they will be swept up in the breathless, cinematic action. Whether Mark is flashing back to his escape from the sun flares, stealing an airship with Alec, or battling hordes of virus-infected maniacs, Dashner's adventure is filled with near-constant melees and peril (some readers might want to trade some fight scenes for more narrative and character development). Even so, Dashner has crafted a clever prequel that will appeal to fans anxious to see where The Maze Runner came from, while enticing those unfamiliar with the later books. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Aug.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews

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

[Page 124]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 7 Up—In his short life, Mark has seen sun flares that killed millions, including his family and beloved younger sister. Afterward, floods, food shortages, and continued devastating heat, along with individuals bent on surviving at all costs, have made his chances pretty bleak. Against all odds, he and a close-knit group of other survivors move inland and set up a community together. But before long, a flying ship brings something wholly unfamiliar: a disease, transmitted initially by darts, but soon spread person to person at an alarming rate. Mark's friends all work together to figure out what this illness is, how it spreads, and why it drives people mad, while trying to hold onto hope for themselves and save others. A prequel to the "Maze Runner" series (Delacorte), this story does indeed show how the world started to fall apart prior to Thomas's time in the Maze. However, Thomas's and Teresa's stories are contained to the prologue and epilogue, so readers hoping for information about how WICKED began will be disappointed. Dashner achieves a high level of emotional involvement for readers in this prequel. Mark knew and loved his family, which makes him a more relatable character than memory-challenged Thomas. The action is nonstop, although a little unrealistic at times, and Mark seems wise beyond his years. This novel works well as a stand-alone.—Kelly Jo Lasher, Middle Township High School, Cape May Court House, NJ

[Page 114]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 7 Up—This dystopian novel begins where The Maze Runner (Delacorte, 2009) ends. Thomas and the rest of the group's escape from the Maze and the horrifying creatures called Grievers has proven to be short-lived because WICKED, the group behind it all, has another trial in store for them. Sun flares have destroyed most of the Earth, and a virus called the Flare has ravaged its population. Infected people turn into zombies called Cranks that attack and eat one other. The kids are told that they have the Flare but if they succeed in surviving the second trial, they will be cured. With few supplies, they must travel across 100 miles of hot and scorched land within two weeks to reach a safe house to receive the cure. When Teresa, Thomas's best friend and the only girl in the group, disappears, and he loses the ability to communicate telepathically with her, he and the other guys determine to find her. As they trek across the barren desert encountering crazed Cranks, the teens' loyalty to one another and the group is tested. The fast-paced narrative and survival-of-the-fittest scenario is reminiscent of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008). Although these characters aren't quite as compelling and their made-up slang takes a little getting used to, each character's personality is distinct. The unresolved ending will leave readers impatiently waiting for the conclusion to the trilogy.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton

[Page 110]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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