The Maze Runner

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For the 2014 film, see The Maze Runner (film).
The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner cover.png
Author James Dashner
Cover artist Philip Straub
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
ISBN 978-0-385-73794-4
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.


Protagonist Thomas is brought into a place known as the Glade, with no memories of his past life except of his name. He and other teenage boys call themselves Gladers, and have made a community in which each is assigned to a task belonging to different departments headed by a Keeper.

The Glade is surrounded by a gigantic Maze in which mechanical creatures called Grievers roam at night. Huge doors around the Glade close at sunset. Supplies are brought to the Glade every week and a new boy is brought once every month in an elevator called 'the Box'. They also have Beetle Blades, a mechanical bug to spy on the Gladers, which the word "WICKED" is written.

The day after Thomas is brought to the Glade, a girl is sent with a note in her hand that reads "She is the last one EVER". Meanwhile, Thomas learns that the Gladers have tried to solve the Maze for at least two years to no avail and that the antidote to a Griever's painful sting can recover parts of one's memories.

Thomas befriends a young Glader named Chuck and the Gladers' second-in-command 'Newt'. Gladers exploring the Maze are known as 'Runners'. Minho, the Keeper of the Runners and Alby, the leader of the gladers, look for a dead Griever that Minho found whilst running the maze the day before but the two soon discover that the Griever was not in fact dead and comes back to life just in time for Alby to be stung by it. Minho struggles to carry Alby into the Glade and as the doors close on Minho and Alby, Thomas runs into the Maze and joins them.

Hearing approaching Grievers, Minho leaves Thomas with an unconscious Alby. Thomas saves Alby; and with Minho, whom he finds, tricks pursuing Grievers into falling off 'The Cliff' (an abyss that is found 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 the fate of Thomas for going into The Maze without permission, and 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, and they discover a 'Griever Hole' through the cliff, exposing the outside world. He also discovers words covered in vines that said "World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department", assuming that it's the term WICKED.

After returning to the Glade, Thomas is shocked to hear the girl speak telepathically to him. He realizes her name is Teresa, and she tells him that she has triggered an 'Ending'. Soon afterwards, Teresa wakes from the coma and befriends Thomas. The same day, the sky becomes a dull grey, and Thomas attributes this 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 they spell out words. The gladers know that this is a code.


  • 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 link with Teresa.
  • Teresa: The one girl to enter the glade. She has a telepathic link with Thomas.
  • Alby: A boy who is one of 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.
  • Newt: A tall 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 and 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.


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[edit]

A film adaptation of the book, titled The Maze Runner, was released by Fox 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 and Kaya Scodelario portrayed Newt[9] and Teresa,[10] respectively. Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Will Poulter and Aml Ameen round up the cast as the rest of the Gladers.

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 created concept designs 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'". Deseret Morning News. Archived from the original on December 19, 2009. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  2. ^ Dig, Enric (September 24, 2014). "The Maze Runner 2014 Full Movie Review". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved September 24, 2014. 
  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". Kirkus Reviews. September 15, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  6. ^ Harrison, Jessica (October 3, 2009). "'Maze Runner' provides a thrilling adventure". Deseret Morning News. Archived from the original on December 19, 2009. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  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". MTV. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  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". Twitter. December 7, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 
  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". Twitter. Retrieved March 30, 2013. 
  14. ^ simg, murphy. "The Maze Runner Review". Retrieved 15 September 2014. 

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