The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Series #1)

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Series #1)

by James Dashner


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Book one in the blockbuster Maze Runner series that spawned a movie franchise and ushered in a worldwide phenomenon! And don’t miss The Fever Code, the highly-anticipated series conclusion that finally reveals the story of how the maze was built!
   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.
   Outside the towering stone walls that surround them is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
   Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying: Remember. Survive. Run.

The Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, and Maze Runner: The Death Cure all are now major motion pictures 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 edge-of-your-seat MORTALITY DOCTRINE series!

Praise for the Maze Runner series:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling Series
USA Today Bestseller
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 FliesThe Hunger Games, and Lost.” —
“Wonderful action writing—fast-paced…but smart and well observed.” Newsday
“[A] nail-biting must-read.”
“Breathless, cinematic action.” —Publishers Weekly
Heart pounding to the very last moment.” —Kirkus Reviews
Exclamation-worthy.” —Romantic Times
“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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385737944
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Series: Maze Runner Series
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 200,351
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile: HL770L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

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, follow @jamesdashner on Twitter, and find dashnerjames on Instagram.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air.
Metal ground against metal; a lurching shudder shook the floor beneath him. He fell down at the sudden movement and shuffled backward on his hands and feet, drops of sweat beading on his forehead despite the cool air. His back struck a hard metal wall; he slid along it until he hit the corner of the room. Sinking to the floor, he pulled his legs up tight against his body, hoping his eyes would soon adjust to the darkness.

With another jolt, the room jerked upward like an old lift in a mine shaft.

Harsh sounds of chains and pulleys, like the workings of an ancient steel factory, echoed through the room, bouncing off the walls with a hollow, tinny whine. The lightless elevator swayed back and forth as it ascended, turning the boy's stomach sour with nausea; a smell like burnt oil invaded his senses, making him feel worse. He wanted to cry, but no tears came; he could only sit there, alone, waiting.

My name is Thomas, he thought.

That... that was the only thing he could remember about his life.

He didn't understand how this could be possible. His mind functioned without flaw, trying to calculate his surroundings and predicament. Knowledge flooded his thoughts, facts and images, memories and details of the world and how it works. He pictured snow on trees, running down a leaf-strewn road, eating a hamburger, the moon casting a pale glow on a grassy meadow, swimming in a lake, a busy city square with hundreds of people bustling about their business.

And yet he didn't know where he came from, or how he'd gotten inside the dark lift, or who his parents were. He didn't even know his last name. Images of people flashed across his mind, but there was no recognition, their faces replaced with haunted smears of color. He couldn't think of one person he knew, or recall a single conversation.

The room continued its ascent, swaying; Thomas grew immune to the ceaseless rattling of the chains that pulled him upward. A long time passed. Minutes stretched into hours, although it was impossible to know for sure because every second seemed an eternity. No. He was smarter than that. Trusting his instincts, he knew he'd been moving for roughly half an hour.

Strangely enough, he felt his fear whisked away like a swarm of gnats caught in the wind, replaced by an intense curiosity. He wanted to know where he was and what was happening.

With a groan and then a clonk, the rising room halted; the sudden change jolted Thomas from his huddled position and threw him across the hard floor. As he scrambled to his feet, he felt the room sway less and less until it finally stilled. Everything fell silent.

A minute passed. Two. He looked in every direction but saw only darkness; he felt along the walls again, searching for a way out. But there was nothing, only the cool metal. He groaned in frustration; his echo amplified through the air, like the haunted moan of death. It faded, and silence returned. He screamed, called for help, pounded on the walls with his fists.


Thomas backed into the corner once again, folded his arms and shivered, and the fear returned. He felt a worrying shudder in his chest, as if his heart wanted to escape, to flee his body.

"Someone... help... me!" he screamed; each word ripped his throat raw.

A loud clank rang out above him and he sucked in a startled breath as he looked up. A straight line of light appeared across the ceiling of the room, and Thomas watched as it expanded. A heavy grating sound revealed double sliding doors being forced open. After so long in darkness, the light stabbed his eyes; he looked away, covering his face with both hands.

He heard noises above—voices—and fear squeezed his chest.

"Look at that shank."

"How old is he?"

"Looks like a klunk in a T-shirt."

"You're the klunk, shuck-face."

"Dude, it smells like feet down there!"

"Hope you enjoyed the one-way trip, Greenie."

"Ain't no ticket back, bro."

Thomas was hit with a wave of confusion, blistered with panic. The voices were odd, tinged with echo; some of the words were completely foreign—others felt familiar. He willed his eyes to adjust as he squinted toward the light and those speaking. At first he could see only shifting shadows, but they soon turned into the shapes of bodies—people bending over the hole in the ceiling, looking down at him, pointing.

And then, as if the lens of a camera had sharpened its focus, the faces cleared. They were boys, all of them—some young, some older. Thomas didn't know what he'd expected, but seeing those faces puzzled him. They were just teenagers. Kids. Some of his fear melted away, but not enough to calm his racing heart.

Someone lowered a rope from above, the end of it tied into a big loop. Thomas hesitated, then stepped into it with his right foot and clutched the rope as he was yanked toward the sky. Hands reached down, lots of hands, grabbing him by his clothes, pulling him up. The world seemed to spin, a swirling mist of faces and color and light. A storm of emotions wrenched his gut, twisted and pulled; he wanted to scream, cry, throw up. The chorus of voices had grown silent, but someone spoke as they yanked him over the sharp edge of the dark box. And Thomas knew he'd never forget the words.

"Nice to meet ya, shank," the boy said. "Welcome to the Glade."

Customer Reviews

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The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4373 reviews.
Hanna_thereckless More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved The Maze Runner. I first heard about it through an internet ad. It asked, "Like the Hunger Games? Then you should read The Maze Runner." It drew my attention because The Hunger Games is one of my most favorite books. So I started reading the "preview" of The Maze Runner on Barnes and Noble's website. There's something to be said for a book that I couldn't stay away from after the first sentence. I neglected my work and stared at my computer screen, reading. When I reached the end of the preview, I bought the ebook because I had to know what happened. It is a fast paced, action-packed adventure that completely sucks the reader in. From the very first sentence, I was simply dropped into the story; everything is from the main character's point of view. You only see and hear what he sees and hears. It was exciting, and I felt as if I was there. It is true that the characters could have been more deeply developed; they were certainly lacking in personality depth. Also, The Maze Runner is quite violent in parts: there is death and insanity and truly terrifying monsters. It is part of a new genre of books, all exploring the possible futures of this world. It is not a light read; it will have you up at night. However, if you loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, this is a book that you will enjoy just as much. I definitely recommend it.
brandyMD More than 1 year ago
This book reminded me very much of The Hunger Games (FANTASTIC book & trilogy!) This is written for teens, however I am an adult and both my 13 year old son and myself have now read it and thought it was hard to put down. This is definitely one where you need to use your brain matter and think of the options involved. You cannot help but feel compassion for the characters and your sense of emotion goes full speed. As my son says, 'you feel like you are right there with them'. (I must say, all of the same can be said for The Hunger Games as well) Sure hope he gets the next book out sooner than later-it will definitely leave you thinking and ready for the next one ASAP.
PageTrnr More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It made me smile, it made me laugh, but most importantly, it made me think. I found myself thinking through all of the situations with the main characters. It was the last thing i thought about at night, and the first in the morning. This is definately a book that will make you ask yourself, "what if that happemed to me?" This was a great book and i definately reccomemnd it.
Balina More than 1 year ago
The Maze runner is definitely a must read. I have enjoyed reading this book from start to finish.
chris327 More than 1 year ago
I lost an entire day and night to this incredible book. James Dashner's The Maze Runner was truly addicting and an unforgettable read. Thomas can't remember where he came from, his parents, or his life before the Glade. He finds himself in this bizarre world surrounded by walls and a maze. There are other boys in his situation (think Lord of the Flies) and they have learned to make this place "home." What is even more disturbing is the fact that there are crazy animal-monsters called Grievers that surround the Glade's walls and come out at night with basically one mission: To destroy humans. I'm going to be honest. The Grievers are the stuff of my own personal nightmares. Seriously. I have an irrational fear of needles and I also don't enjoy slugs. at. all. The description of these Grievers included both needles and slugs; needless to say, I vomited in my mouth a little just reading/imagining these volatile creatures. Anyway, Thomas is learning the ropes and becomes friends Chuck and Minho, who both happen to be my favorite characters. Chuck is just simply endearing. Thomas really wants to be a runner and work with Minho, but he isn't sure why he is drawn to the job. There are various jobs and the way the Glade functioned I thought was pretty interesting. These boys even have their own slang/vernacular (klunk-love it!) as well as laws, which keeps the "order." Everything seems hunky dory- or as normal as possible if you live in a maze- until one day this all changes. A girl, the first girl ever, arrives to the Glade delivering an ominous message. Without giving too much away, the tension increases and their world turns upside down, even more than it already is! Simply stated......Thomas must find a way to survive. I can't remember the last time that I questioned a book so much as I did while reading this novel. I had SO many questions that I wanted answered, but brilliantly, Dashner was holding out on me, which only increased my suspense. I'm going to get a little nerdy and teacher-eque, but bear with me. I also loved the fact that this book required me to use many comprehension strategies. I would LOVE to discuss this book with my literacy classes, because it really required me to infer, question, synthesize, predict, etc. It was truly a smart read and a puzzle that I was dying to put together. My poor husband, Mike, had to deal with my one million questions. Mike, surprisingly, read this book before me, which usually never happens. He saw the cover, read the synopsis and was hooked. So, it was pretty cool to be able to discuss and question him as I was reading, because Maze Runner is truly a book to be disected and discussed. This story had me guessing the ENTIRE time, which I think is rare when it comes to young adult novels. Ususally you can figure out the plot at some point, but I was always shocked. Even right up to the end had me guessing. I can't wait for the sequel!
NICOLEiiPHOO More than 1 year ago
Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow... The Maze Runner was just amazing. The book starts out pretty slow, and stays that way for quite awhile. After you get into the book, you can not put it down. It is brilliantly written, and just...fantastic. In the end, I almost cried out of anger. I can not wait for the sequel. This book was so amazing, but it is leaving me hanging here! I have no idea why this book only has 4 stars. It is completely deserving of every single one of them! Go ahead, buy the book. It will be worth every penny and be a great addition to your bookshelf. :]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked the Hunger Games i would recommend this book! It is close to being as good as the hunger games!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing story that keeps you on your toes throughout the novel. If you are a fan of The Hunger Games then this is the book for you!
caycebean More than 1 year ago
This book will appeal to fans of lord of the flies as well as the hunger games. a group of boys, and eventually one girl, are stranded somewhere with their memories wiped clean. they struggle to survive, find a balance of power, and more importantly find a way out. i couldn't put this book down! cant wait for the scorch trials!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please do not listen to those people that say it is bad this is the best book and your money will be spent wisely
LadyHester More than 1 year ago
I love reading unique and original stories! And that is exactly how I would describe Maze Runner. I do not know why this book was written for kids. The story was pretty creepy and kind of sent a hopeless message. Plus there was multiple murders and plenty of violence. I will be reading the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! I had my best guy friend recommend it to me. He had read it in 1 night and thought i would also enjoy it. I trusted his judgement and ended up reading it in 2days. This i think is a more teen read. This book has romance, death, sacrifice, battles, and bretrayal. And all very clean( no sex). There are two more books in this series 2. Scorch Trials 3. Death Cure The books do not get boring or slow down. All 3 books are action packed! I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like a new action drama series!:):)
read4ever More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book! Packed with excitement and suspense around every corner, "The Maze Runner" was a fast-paced novel that will have you holding your breath until the very end! Dashner did a great job with this one; he is an author who is sure to have you captivated from the first page to the last! This book follows a sixteen year old boy named Thomas. He is faced with something that no one should have to be put up against. Do not miss out on this adventure. It is the chance into a world you never knew existed...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I used to be the biggest fan of Harry Potter and Twilight, but when I read this book, they paled in comparison. It's my new favorite! I read it in three days (short for me), but now I really wish I had savored it. It really catches you from the first line, and endless twists and surprises keep you guessing and YEARNING for the sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this series after The Hunger Games, as it had a similar storyline. It was EXCELLENT! I would highly reccomend this book to teens and adults alike. It has a futuristic setting and characters that will blow your mind! I am 24 and this is a new favorite of mine.
imawesome More than 1 year ago
this was defanetly the best book ive ever read. im 13 and loved. wen i read it ther wasnt a second book and now my mom wont let me buy it till ive finished this other book for so mad at her rite now. this book will always be on my mind. it was well wriiten. i actually hated sify books till i read this one. my fav writter is now jame dashner. this book was so emotional. sometimes i was scared others i was happy others i was crying. the book was so good i read it in 1 day. i stayed up all night 2 finish it. y mom was so mad but all i could think about was when will the next book come out. loved this book and would recomend it for anyone 10 and up no one any younger for it may frighten them. loved the book and hope you will 2.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like The Hunger Games than you will love the Maze Runner!!!!!!!!!!! Its one of my favorite books and i recommend it to anyone over the age of 12 years old and absolutely loved it then i made my mom read it and she loved it to......a book for all ages...........i couldnt put it down!!!!!!!!! :) AMAZING BOOK!!!
ashleyleann More than 1 year ago
It was a little hard to get into at first, but when I did I found it enjoyable. There were a few moments when I would wish it would just get to the point, and then moments when I wish it would've slowed down a bit and explained more. But other than that, I think this has promise to be a good series that will make a nice edition to my bookshelves, and I would definitely buy the next book. I almost screamed when I read the epilogue; I really want to know what happens next!! I give it four stars, because there a few things that couldve been done better, but I think it holds a lot of potential to grow :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive read alot of the books in this new sub-genre of science fiction, so when i heard that this was "better than the hunger games" and "expanding the genre further" i was a bit skeptical. I took a chance with this one and i have to say that its very good. The plot follows a boy named thomas who wakes up in a mysterious place called the glade. He has no memory of his life before the maze or how he got there, all he can remeber is his name. There are many other boys there like him. They are all trying to try and escape the area surrounding the glade which is a gigantic maze. Just a day after thomas arrives in the glade a girl shows up. The first girl ever to appear in the glade. She bears with her news that her coming heralds the beginning of the end for the gladers. I wont spoil the ending but the gladers have to work together in order to escape the maze. Overall its a good and compelling read that wont let you put it down for a minute. However ive read the second book and im beginning to read the third. Theyre not as good as the first such as is with the majority of series. The book functions well as a stand-alone novel and id recommend it to anyone. Please give this excellent sci-fi novel a chance and give it a read. Happy reading! -Silente
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing any one who loved the Hunger Games will love the maze runner. A most read for all teens
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was full of action and i just could not put it down!! I read it in one day and got the second one right away!! Definatly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is better than the hunger games trilagey!!!! I loved this book..i had to read this book fir page turners(a book club)and i loved it... it took me only 3 daus to read i recamend this book for anyone who likes the hunger games....its better than tge hunger games!!! -A
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cant wait to read this book because i just finnished the hunger games and you guys say that it better or as good as the hunger games trilogy. Cant wait!!!!!!!!!
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
Thomas wakes up in a lift with no other memory besides his first name. The lift deposits him in the Glade, a large courtyard surrounded by impossibly high stone walls. The Glade is populated by teenage boys in the same situation as him, they also have no memory. But they have made a life for themselves in this place, their only hope is trying to solve the maze that surrounds the walls. The Maze is a dangerous place, filled with terrifying half-machine/half-slug monsters that exist solely to sting the boys, thereby posioning them with a deadly toxin. The day after Thomas arrives in the Glade, something unexpected happens. A comatose girl is delivered into the maze, and she has a message: She's the last one. Ever.. The boys know everything is going to change, and Thomas just might have some answers. I am a little disappointed. With all the raving reviews and awesome premise, I expected it to be much better. It just wasn't that thrilling for me, and the plot wore thin. Most of the book was based of off someone conviently remembering stuff. And the action wasn't tense enough. I always knew Thomas was going to end up all right. I was especially disappointed in Thomas's first night in the maze. It had the opportunity to be absolutely terrifying, but by then all the terror of the Grievers had vanished, and the whole scene seemded to make up two hours at the most, and not an entire night. The ending was very good though, and very suspenseful. I was completely absorbed in those last few chapters, and even turned down ice cream in order to finish. The writing and characters were simple. The writing was typical actiony fare. Thomas was a bit of a Gary Stu, with no real faults. Chuck was great though.....I'm sad now. So anyway, it was good. Not great, but good. I am anxiously waiting for the sequel, and hope the books get better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very fast moving book that i couldnt put down. It is such a fun read! Ive read it three times now :) I hope you choose to read this amazing, fun filled book :)