The Maze Runner: Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1

Common Sense Media says

Teens are the pawns of evil adults in violent dystopia.

Age(i)

2
3
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5
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8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Many teen readers enjoy post-apocalyptic or dystopian fiction because it is so dark and over the top. They can judge the actions of an out-of-control world from a safe distance. Even in this dystopia main characters follow their consciences and risk their lives for others.

Positive role models

Thomas sets a strong example by doing what he knows is right and risking his personal safety, and later his life, to save the others. He quickly recognizes the value of having even one friend and does everything to protect that friendship. He feels responsibility for the younger teens, and is willing to go against authority.

Violence

Depicts a violent world where chosen children in a maze are mere pawns. They face mortal danger from the monsters outside the walls and mortal danger inside from boys who have been stung (but not killed) by the monsters. Some boys go insane. Boys attack monsters with guns, knives, and spears. Adult Creators of the Maze control everyone in it and don't stop at murdering children. Disease and pestilence run rampant in the outside world. A climax where many characters are killed by gunfire.

Sex

Some of the boys refer to the only girl as "hot."

Language

Mostly made-up slang words, such as "klunk" and "slinthead"; the word "shuck" is used often and it's hard not to think it's the word "f--k" every time you see it. Some usage of the words "butt," "crappy," and "sucks."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the scenes of violence are stronger in this book and more graphic than those of, say, The Hunger Games, partly because at times it is adults murdering children, and not from a distance or out of sight. The teens stranded in the Maze have their memories wiped, but they are still aware on some level that they are being held captive and endangered by adults, not monsters or other children. Some of the teens in the Maze go insane from the fear, the attacks, or in one case, the memory of the world he had left behind. Main characters are conscientious and risk their lives to save others.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up in a place called the Glade, where towering walls close at night to keep a colony of boys safe from the monsters outside them. They have all had their memories erased, but Thomas remembers just a little too much. The world is in catastrophe and they are living in the Killzone, mere animals in a bizarre experiment. Soon Teresa, the first girl, arrives and tells them the game is on. Some boys think they are better off in this cold, cruel place than going back to where they came from -- they have formed a society after all, with rules and jobs like farming and even butchering their own meat. But Thomas turns out to be the leader they've needed to form their own army, revolt against the monsters, and take on the people who have set them up in this very cruel and isolated world. Of course the outside world may have its own scary challenges.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This is a fast-paced adventure in a very dark and pretty violent post-apocalyptic world. It is reminiscient of The Lord of the Flies, without the inventiveness of The Hunger Games. Readers who enjoy dystopian novels will enjoy it, and Thomas is a strong role model who does not fall easily into peer pressure or give up his own sense of what's right. Readers will root for him, and for Teresa, and the complicated relationships between the other boys will keep readers guessing.

Part of the attraction of THE MAZE RUNNER will be the world the boys and Teresa inhabit for most of the book, a world with no adults where kids make their own rules. The story makes up for the sometimes bumpy prose, and the invented slang is a little jarring since there are no clues about how far in the future the story is supposed to take place, or why the boys have made up their own words. A cliffhanger ending will gear up teens for the second in the trilogy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what happens when a group of boys are left to survive without the normal rules and laws of society. Who becomes the leader? What happens to those who won't follow the new rules?

  • The boys arrive one at a time but become acclimatized to their new society very quickly. Why do they form loyalties so quickly?

  • Why do you think the Creators use children in their Maze instead of adults?

  • The boys and Teresa have all had their memories erased. Is there really a memory-wiping device or drug available?

Book details

Author:James Dashner
Genre:Science Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication date:October 1, 2009
Number of pages:375
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Read aloud:13
Read alone:13

This review of The Maze Runner: Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Parent Written bysupam August 29, 2013
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Evil is fascinating. Want to expose your kid ? Be prepared for "maintenance" or accept the consequences later..

Don't ever let your kid read this book unless you are ready to discuss why kids decide to most atrociously kill their own peer for attempted murder or why your own kid loved to read a description of torture. These are just examples. There is more. If you do buy it, read it before deciding if you still pass it to your kid. By the way, your kid would love the book. Evil is sometimes fascinating. Just be prepared to discuss why this is evil. And the author is clever. More than us, average people. Up to the challenge? Is the risk worth it?
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byleggomyeggos3 November 21, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Good dystopian book.

This is a really good book especially if you're a fan of dystopian books. It's about a bunch teens getting their memory wiped and sent to the glade. Then Thomas arrives and things begin to change... The book is pretty violent. The language not much the worse is how the British say a--. However but when the characters say shuck. It sounds like their version of f--k. Anyways can't wait for the next book!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bytwilight-luver November 20, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

amazing book

i Really like this book alot of people compare it to The Hunger Games and it kind of is. it is written very well and it draws you in unknowingly until your done. i reccomend it
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models

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