Thomas is about 16 years old, though he can’t be sure, because he’s just woken up inside an elevator with all his memories erased. The roof of the elevator is open, and standing over it is a group of teenage boys who pull him out and introduce him to what they call The Glade.
The Glade is an enormous courtyard with everything the boys need to survive: a plot of farmland, livestock, and a house. It is surrounded on all sides by impossibly tall ivy-covered walls, except for large gaps that serve as doorways. None of the boys are surprised to see Thomas; they get a “Greenie,” or newcomer, every month. The boys are hospitable, in a rough sort of way, but none of them seem to want to answer any questions. Just before sunset, the doors begin to close, and a separate group of boys, the “runners,” come sprinting through. For some reason, Thomas instantly knows he is supposed to be one of these runners, who spend all day running the enormous maze surrounding The Glade. In the evenings, they come back and draw maps to mark their travels that day. The problem is that the walls of the maze move every night, and no one has ever found a way out.
I could say more, but I went in with no idea of what was going on and really think I enjoyed the books all the more for that. The book popped up in both my Amazon and goodreads accounts, and, to be honest, I was so deeply seduced by the low-low-price of $4.66 for the e-book that I didn’t even look at the publication date. That’s part of the reason why, completely sucked in by Dashner’s unapologetically plot-focused narrative, I was instantly transported to a musty library rack under a buzzing fluorescent light, sometime in maybe 1989. Only this time, I didn’t have any homework or a bedtime and could sit on my couch all day and all night doing nothing but reading.
Being an adult is so great.
Anyway. If you’re looking for something as smart and topical as The Hunger Games, you won’t find it here. And, as is the case in most trilogies, The Maze Runner is a better book than either The Scorch Trials or The Death Cure. But if the first book hooks you, you’ll read all three, and fast. They’re making a movie this September, so now’s the time.