Book Series Review: The Maze Runner Saga

Russell Stern, Editor

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      The Maze Runner is a thought-provoking, intriguing and heart-pounding series written by James Dashner. The series consists of four books each containing their own story: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure and The Kill Order. Essentially, this series is about a dystopian and imperfect world with a virus called the Flare spreading as rapid as wildfire through it, gradually killing more and more people as it moves from one host to another, and making people insane. An evil and sadistic government named WICKED, or World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department,, is controlling the world and is trying to find a cure for the Flare, but are doing it in heartbreaking, cruel and devilish ways. They are ripping innocent teenagers from their homes and families and are using them as test subjects to complete ‘trials’ that are extremely lethal for the purpose of according to WICKED, “analyzing brain patterns.” In reality, WICKED’s primary goal is to eliminate those who have become feeble and immobilized because of the Flare and save those who are still strong and healthy. I highly recommend the Maze Runner stories to people who love to read action-packed, science fiction and mysterious books.


       In the first book of Dashner’s series, The Maze Runner, a courageous, charismatic and bold boy named Thomas is sent to a mysterious place called the Glade. There are 12 other boys at the Glade, each special in their own way, Thomas’s closest friend being a boy named Chuck. There is a labyrinth inside the Glade called the Maze, created by the evil organization WICKED that no one has been able to solve for 2 years, containing abominable and deadly creatures, Grievers. When every other test subject was sent to the Glade by WICKED and arrived there, they started bawling their eyes out because of terror and fright. However, when Thomas arrived at the Glade, practically in the middle of nowhere, he had this surge of hope, adrenaline and recognition like he longed to venture through the extremely dangerous Maze and solve it. He was not scared, even the slightest.


       The second book of Dashner’s series, The Scorch Trials, takes place after Thomas has shut down the Maze. Thomas and the rest of his of friends (the test subjects) think that WICKED is finally done for and powerless, but they are totally wrong. WICKED has fabricated a whole new realm called the Scorch, apt for its name because of it literally being located on the Sun, which Thomas and the other test subjects have to trek through to reach the ‘safe zone.’ During their treacherous travels through the Scorch, Thomas and the other test subjects are forced to suffer through intense heat, starvation and dehydration. In addition to even this, the weather is frantic and destructive in the Scorch, so every once in awhile there are terrible lightning storms, but with oddly no rain. Also, Thomas and his friends meet two Cranks, meaning people that are already infected with the Flare virus, named Brenda and Jorge who agree to ally with Thomas on his travels because of his determination that there is a cure for the Flare. Apparently, Brenda and Jorge have not turned totally unstable, yet.


      In the third book of Dashner’s series, The Death Cure, the trials generated by WICKED are at last complete. Thomas has perceived that WICKED is downright evil; they are the ones who spread the Flare disease, and are really not trying to find a cure for it, they are just claiming that to reassure the test subjects. The only primary goal for Thomas and his friends now is to completely overthrow the WICKED organization and make sure they can never do what they did to guiltless teenagers and families again. Every test subject agrees to get their memories back of the past by a man named A.D. Janson, the leader of WICKED and his assistants in their headquarters, except for Thomas and two of his close friends, Minho and Newt. Thomas, Newt and Minho refuse to have their memories restored because they know that if they do, they will remember the terrible effects of the Flare virus. A.D. Janson is about to force Thomas, Newt and Minho to enter the brain operating room by threatening them with a weapon called a Launcher, but suddenly, they make their move like ninjas. Thomas, Newt and Minho punch Janson and his assistants in the face in unison and grab the Launchers from their hands, and then shoot them with the harmful weapons, making Janson and his deputies convulse like they are rattlesnakes on the floor. After that, they escape WICKED’s headquarters, and fly away on Jorge’s hip called a Berg to Denver, where they are safe from WICKED. While they are in Denver, Thomas, Newt, Minho, Brenda and Jorge join a group called the Right Arm, devoted to taking WICKED down once and for all.

      The final book of Dashner’s series and in my opinion the most interesting, The Kill Order, is actually a prequel to the first book of Dashner’s series, The Maze Runner, even though it is the last book. The book is basically about how life was before the Glade was formed. Lethal sun flares struck the Earth, filling people with an uncontrollable murderous rage. People lost all of their hair, sores, gashes and scars replacing their scalp where their hair should have been. Darts that infected humans with the Flare virus when they dug into their skin like a drill flew everywhere. Alec, Lana, Mark and Trina were all there to witness it, and miraculously, Mark and Trina survived, thanks to the military skills of Alec and Lana. Before the sun flares ravaged the Earth, they were in the defense department together.

       Overall, the Maze Runner stories are action-packed, nail-biting and exceedingly interesting science fiction and dystopian novels. I recommend this series to any avid readers, because once you start reading the books, you will get pulled into the stories instantly. You will not want to put the books down, I promise you that.

Book Series Review: The Maze Runner Saga