The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner

Challenge 45 ~ ” A trilogy.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Book 1: The Maze Runner

An amazing and addictive start to the trilogy, The Maze Runner is certainly my favourite of the three novels. From the very start Dashner hooks the reader in with some incredible pacing and fantastic characterisation, which carries the novel along whilst giving Dashner the opportunity to outline the world and introduce the main characters.

As a result, by the time the reader reaches the main action of the book, they feel confidently at home in the foreign environment, allowing them to focus on the suspense and intense atmosphere Dashner conjures up. Even as the end approaches Dashner keeps all the elements in balance, tying up the loose ends for the particular story, but leaving a little window of intrigue to hook the reader onto the next book.

I have never quite read a story before that manages to keep the reader as engageda as Dashner does, whilst keeping them so in the dark about what is going on. It’s clear to see why the novel has gained such a reputation in the young adult community, and I can only hope the film adaptation does it justice.

Book 2: The Scorch Trials

Continuing straight from where the previous left off, the reader is as just in the dark at the start of The Scorch Trials as they were in The Maze Runner. I’ve never tried reading it this way, but I’m pretty certain this book could act as a stand-alone. That being said, the reader would be horrifically unprepared for the viscious way Dashner plays with his characters and plot, tearing at the reader’s emotions.

Through The Scorch Trials, Dashner keeps a balance between the main plot of the trilogy and taking time to explore deeper into the main characters. This plays an important role for both informing the reader in preparation for the final book, and enlightening them on some elements from the previous, but rather than condense this into the focus of several chapters, Dashner spreads it through the novel, helping to maintain the reader’s interest.

If you thought The Maze Runner was solely consistent of plot twists and unbearable suspense, the idea will be totally shattered by the second novel, which somehow manages to compress even more unprecidented events into the fast-moving plot. By the end, the reader is truly addicted, and I honestly don’t know what would have happened to my heart if the third novel was still only a work-in-progress…

Book 3: The Death Cure

I have to say this was definitely my least favourite of the three. That’s not to say it wasn’t incredible, but I can also see where many of the negative reviews come from for this particular installment. In a literary sense, The Death Cure is just as high quality as the previous two, with flawless character development, plot twists and overall atmosphere, yet the pacing was a bit dubious in this novel. A disproportionate amount of time was spent in Denver – an adventure which added very little to the overall story – and then the rescue mission didn’t begin until you reached well-over three quarters of the way through the novel.

Dashner doesn’t let your joyful frustration (that feeling of annoyance, which is actually beneficial to the novel and its enjoyment) end with the trilogy, though, leaving one question open to the reader at the very end. “WICKED is good.” Throughout all three novels the message has been reinforced and embedded into the reader’s mind, but the question wholly remains unanswered. Are WICKED the good guys?

As a whole, the trilogy was an incredible rollercoaster, and tells a story worthy of three books. Dashner also avoids the typical pothole of creating too many books in a series, and brings the story to its sensible conclusion in a timely manner. I would certainly recommend the trilogy to everyone – it’s become a new favourite of mine – but I would have one warning: the only thing you can expect from Dashner, is that it will never be what you expect, but it will nevertheless be awesome.

Recommended for fans of:

  • The Power of Five Series by Anthony Horowitz
  • The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks
  • Blood Red Road by Moira Young

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