|Book Club Kit Questions*
The Maze Runner
By James Dashner
The Maze Runner is often compared by critics to The Hunger Games. What similarities did you see between the two books? How were they different? Which book did you prefer?
The author gives readers information about life in the Glade very slowly and in small bits, keeping readers in the dark for much of the book. Why do you think Dashner chose to tell the story this way? Were you frustrated by the lack of information?
Why did the Creators wipe the boys’ memories before sending them to the Glade?
Residents of the Glade developed their own, unique way of speaking over time. Why did they develop their own words to describe everyday objects and experiences? Did the Gladers’ language affect your reading of the book? How?
The residents of the Glade are teenage boys and they have no adult supervision, but they spend their days diligently working in their assigned areas. Why are they so responsible?
Why were there only boys in the Glade until Teresa arrived? Why did the Creators add Teresa to the group?
What was Thomas’s connection to Teresa?
The Runners continued to explore the Maze every day, despite the fact that they hadn’t found a way out in over two years. Why did they keep running the maze and making maps?
Describe the Grievers. What purpose did they serve in the Maze?
What happens during the Changing? How are the victims different once they’ve been through the Changing?
What did Gally see during his Changing?
Do you think the memories the Grievers’ victims recover during the Changing are true? Why or why not?
What were the Creators hoping to accomplish with the experiment? Were their actions justified by the circumstances caused by the Flares?
Who were the people who rescued the Gladers from the Creators? Were they good or evil?
Are you planning to read the sequel? Why or why not?
* Discussion questions from Alamance County Book Club Resources at http://alamancelibraries.libguides.com/content.php?pid=366228&sid=3851948
Reviews for The Maze Runner
BookList, September 1, 2009:
Gr. 9-12. As with many recent stories being spread over multiple volumes, this often-exciting but ultimately frustrating opener reads more like an extended prologue than a fully realized novel. Thomas, his memory wiped out, is thrust into the center of an enormous maze, where other teens have constructed a survivalist society. No one knows why they’re there, or where they came from, but each day they send out runners into the constantly shifting, monster-infested labyrinth to search for a way out. As memories start to trickle back in and circumstances grow increasingly dire, Thomas suspects he knows more about the maze than he should. The withholding and then revelation of crucial information tend toward contrivance and convenience, but the tantalizing hints of a ravaged world outside make for gripping reading. Although this opening volume will appeal to the same audience as hot dystopian thrillers like The Hunger Games (2008), it doesn’t promise the same level of devotion. With much of the more intriguing head-game aspects left unexplored, though, the potential for a rousing continuation of the story certainly exists. – Ian Chipman (vol. 106, no. 1, p. 84)
School Library Journal, October 1, 2009:
Gr 6–10. Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in "the glade" for two years, trying to find a way to escape through a maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change. There are some great, fast-paced action scenes, particularly those involving the nightmarish Grievers who plague the boys. Thomas is a likable protagonist who uses the information available to him and his relationships (including his ties to the girl, Teresa) to lead the Gladers. Unfortunately, the question of whether the teens will escape the maze is answered 30 pages before the book ends, and the intervening chapter loses momentum. The epilogue, which would be deliciously creepy coming immediately after the plot resolves, fails to pack a punch as a result. That said, The MazeRunner has a great hook, and fans of dystopian literature, particularly older fans of Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember (Random, 2003), will likely enjoy this title and ask for the inevitable sequel.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH (vol. 55, issue 10, p. 124)
Publishers Weekly, September 21, 2009:
Ages 12 and up. Dashner (the 13th Reality series) offers up a dark and gripping tale of survival set in a world where teenagers fight for their lives on a daily basis. It starts when Thomas, a teenage amnesiac, wakes up in the Glade, a fragile oasis in the middle of an enormous maze. Here, a group of
Reviews for The Maze Runner
teenage boys eke out a hazardous existence, exploring the Maze by day and retreating to the Glade at night. No one knows how they got there; no one has ever found a way out (“Old life's over, new life's begun. Learn the rules quick,” the group's leader tells Thomas). Bizarre technological monsters called Grievers patrol the Maze's corridors, almost certain death for any who encounter them. Thomas struggles to regain his memories, but the arrival of a young woman with an ominous message changes the rules of the game. With a fast-paced narrative steadily answering the myriad questions that arise and an ever-increasing air of tension, Dashner's suspenseful adventure will keep readers guessing until the very end, which paves the way for the inevitable continuation. (vol. 256, issue 38, p. 59)
Kirkus, September 15, 2009:
Ages 12 and up. Boys come to the Glade via an empty freight elevator with no memory of how they got there or of their prior lives. This disorientation is made more frightening when they realize that to survive they must lock themselves in every night to avoid the horrors of the Grievers, beings that are part machine, part animal—and altogether deadly. The boys in the Glade send out Runners each day to find a way out through the Maze that surrounds their one patch of safety, with no success. Life goes on until one day the elevator delivers a girl. She brings a message: She is the last child to be sent, and there will be no more deliveries of food or supplies. Now the Glade is cut off, and as the Grievers gather for an all-out attack it's clear that it's now or never—the Maze must be solved. Dashner knows how to spin a tale and make the unbelievable realistic. Hard to put down, this is clearly just a first installment, and it will leave readers dying to find out what comes next.
About the Author*
James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. He has four kids, which some might think is too many but he thinks is just right. Once upon a time, James studied accounting and worked in the field of finance, but has been writing full time for several years. (He doesn’t miss numbers. At all.) In his free time, James loves to read, watch movies and (good) TV shows, snow ski, and read. (Reading was mentioned twice on purpose.) He is also the author of the young adult fantasy series The 13th Reality. To learn more, visit his website at http://jamesdashner.com/.
* Biography from author’s website, http://jamesdashner.com/about/.