The only thing Thomas remembers when he wakes up on the lift is his name. When the doors open, he is in the Glade where he is greeted by many other teen boys who also don’t remember anything beyond their names and the Glade. The Glade is a community based on order and structure. Every morning the doors open to the maze, every evening they close. Though some boys have been there for years, they have never solved the maze and found an exit. There are monsters in the maze, creations of flesh and metal that roam the maze and attack any boy they find there. Thomas finds himself wanting to be a Runner, one of the boys who tries to solve the enormous maze, even though commonsense tells him not to do it. The day after Thomas arrives, everything changes when an unconscious girl arrives on the lift, and deep inside Thomas recognizes her though he can’t remember anything else. Could she be the key to the maze? Could he?
Grippingly written, this book grabs the reader from the moment the lift doors open and never lets go. Dashner has created a wonderfully conceived compact world that really works well. The reader knows no more than Thomas, making it a book with constant questions and tensions. One of the only issues I had with the book was Thomas himself. I would have enjoyed a more regular protagonist rather than a boy who is braver, stronger, and more clever than any of the others. The book has great pacing which is headlong and wild, fitting the subject perfectly. And though Thomas may be a bit to super, his character has a strong inner voice that works well. The setting is written with such clarity that readers will feel they know the space well by the end of the novel.
Highly recommended, the next book in the series will be eagerly awaited by those who read it. Recommended for fans of The Hunger Games series, this book is appropriate for ages 13-16.
Reviewed from library copy.