The Maze Runner: A Hit Among Teenagers


The first novel by James Dashner, The Maze Runner develops into a movie in 2014

By: Anayah Qayyum, Reporter

James Dasher wrote The Maze Runner in October of 2009. The Maze Runner is the first novel in the six-part series. Including The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, The Kill Order, and The Fever Code. Dashner even wrote an E-Book titled, The Maze Runner Flies which is only 50 pages long. Only three books, The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure have developed into movies so far.  The most interesting part of reading the novels is that they do not go in chronological order. Wes Ball is the director of the film which is from September 2014. The movie scored a 65% on Rotten Tomatoes and was rated PG-13. The production ran for an hour and 53 minutes. The first best-seller owns 62 chapters with 355 pages, an average count for dystopian young adult fiction.


The first book is about a group of teen boys with no adult supervision. They have to live on their own in what they call, “The Glade.”

The Glade serves as living quarters for the teens. It is a meadow with four walls surrounding it, that way no one can leave. It is important to mention that these boys surviving have no idea when they arrived and why. More unusually, they lost all of their memories before the landed in the grassland. The only important thing they remember is their name. The boys appear in the Glade once a month through a dark, metal box.

In the book, Dashner writes that 30 boys arrive from the elevator box at once but in the film, the first boy to enter the glade is Alby. Dashner named his character after Albert Einstein. Dashner has this habit to name his characters after famous historians as we learn when we get introduced to the other boys. Alby is the leader of the band of boys and serves only three rules, never go outside the glade unless you’re a runner, never hurt another glader and, you have to trust each other.

Compared to the Movie

The first book compared to the movie isn’t too far off, factual wise, however, there are quite a few changes, like all movie directors chose to cut off. It is frankly pleasant to see how similar the two are despite tiny adjustments. For example, in the book, the entire floor of the Glade is stone but in the movie, it is grass.

MTV and Teen Choice award winner, Dylan O’Brien plays Thomas. O’Brien has his MTV series, Teen Wolf. Newt’s actor is Thomas Brodie Sangster, the Phoneix Film Critics Society nominee. He is known as his 2004 character from Love Actually.

Each character is thoughtfully developed and given enough limelight. The main character’s backstory is gradually revealed throughout the series and is not exposed from the get-go, that way, readers are intrigued and are consistently gripping the edge of their seat. The novel’s genre leans towards the action dystopian criteria. The characters responses to death and their situation is realistic and causes readers to sympathize. Along with the action, Dashner includes a dash of romance between Thomas but never enough to stray away from the plot. Some fans may think that his relationship is underdeveloped and is not given much thought, along with Dashner’s impulsive character deaths. However, what good author does drive their audience insane? Of course, be mindful of biasing a character because Dasher has a nasty habit of treating them with pain.


If you are eager to read about a blossoming romance in a terrifying, unfortunate situation, this novel is not the one. The book focuses on only the core plot, not side relationships. Traumatizing events occur to these teenagers that cause an emotional roller coaster for the readers. The book will leave you feeling lost, frustrated and torn on who to side with.

Dashner writes in the third person through the eyes of the main protagonist. The Maze Runner brushes upon equal parts fighting and death. Those who even ponder the future of the world will appreciate The Maze Runner as well! Readers should be mindful to death, suicide in the third book and mentions of suicide if they are sensitive to the topic.