Parents' Guide to

The Maze Runner: Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1

By Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Teens are the pawns of evil adults in violent dystopia.

The Maze Runner: Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 31 parent reviews

age 16+

Gruesome dystopian novel with plenty of blood and torture scenes.

This book was in the reading list for my 7th grader and I was shocked to see how gruesome it is. The story itself can be appealing if you like dystopian novels, it's written in an engaging way, with a unique language, often finishing the chapters on a cliffhanger. The story is about a group of teenager boys and one teenager girl who mysteriously end up in a strange place with their memory wiped, and their job is trying to solve a maze populated by strange and surreal creatures that like to eat the kids. Each kid as a job: there is one that prepare the food for the community, some that are running the maze every day to try solve it, some that are considered doctors of some sorts, some other that take care of the crops and what not. Every week they receive goods for their survival in a box, and also instructions on what to do. At some point the girl arrived in this boy-filled community, to much surprise to everyone. The girl is comatose, we don't know if she is going to die. A lot of kids die in the community if they get attacked by the creatures in the maze. Some kids survive as they are given a serum, and their memories are returned after going through some excruciating pain that changes their bodies and features to a monster-likelihood. With their memory back, these kids go insane for the pain and shock of their past. Some kids try to kill other kids. There are a lot of blood scenes. I took notes for the first 15 chapters than had to stop as the gruesomeness of it all was going to be too much to keep track of. Here is what I found: Chapter 10 – description of a rotting corpse (half upper body of a boy cut in half) in the graveyard, inside a window so everybody could see it as a warning. Chapter 11 – A boy gets killed violently because he disobeyed an order: description of his head snapped in an unnatural position and description of blood gushing out. Chapter 14 – a boy, Ben, is descriptively tortured by being dragged with a collar against his will to be pushed to the maze at night, and the reader can make the inference that he will die badly because of the creatures in there. As an adult you may or may not like this book depending on the type of books you like to read. But I would not want any middle schooler to read this type of book, too much of an unnecessary blood/murder/torture description. Be aware!

This title has:

Too much violence
3 people found this helpful.
age 10+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (31 ):
Kids say (251 ):

This is a fast-paced adventure in a very dark and pretty violent post-apocalyptic world. It is reminiscent 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.

Book Details

  • Author: James Dashner
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • Publication date: October 1, 2009
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
  • Number of pages: 375
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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