It all begins when Thomas wakes up inside an elevator with no memory of who he is other than his name. When he eventually arrives in “the Glade” after what has to be the longest elevator ride in history, he meets the other boys living there who all went through the same experience: no memory and mysteriously delivered to this place. Around the Glade are huge walls that move every night creating a maze. Some of boys are designated runners who try to find an escape route every day to no avail and Thomas quickly learns rule number 1: don’t get caught in the maze after dark. Once the lights go out (or the sun. They may be in a completely manufactured world, so I’m not really sure how it works) the maze fills with Grievers, half machine half gross monsters who eat children. If the boys get stung they go through a painful process called the Changing which drives some mad.
I love, love, love, loved this book! It was perfectly plotted. The boys are trying to figure things out at the same time as the reader and So Much Tension! It started out a little slowly as Thomas tried to figure out his place in this new world, but with the arrival of Theresa, things really starting picking up. Escaping from the Glade became ever more important and I was completely rooting for these kids even as I dreaded the world they would find on the other side.
Dashner did an amazing job at world-building. The setting was its own character, well fleshed out and with complexity (because it’s a maze, get it?). The walls dominated every aspect of the characters lives and while reading, mine. I’ve seen some images of the upcoming movie version and they *nailed* it. I’m so excited for the movie and to read the other books in the series.
2 small notes:
1.) While I was reading, I honestly thought this book was written by a woman, sorry James Dashner.
2.) Read the epilogue! Sometimes people skip it. Do not skip it!