The Maze Runner (series)


The Maze Runner is a series of young adult dystopian science fiction novels written by American author James Dashner. The series consists of The Maze Runner (2009), The Scorch Trials (2010) and The Death Cure (2011), as well as two prequel novels, The Kill Order (2012) and The Fever Code (2016), and a companion book titled The Maze Runner Files (2013).

The series, revealing details in non-chronological order, tells how the world was devastated by a series of massive solar flares and coronal mass ejections.


# Title Pages Chapters Words Audio US release
1 The Maze Runner 490 62 94,250 10h 50m October 2009
2 “The Scorch Trials” 361 65 96,869 10h 53m September 2010
3 “The Death Cure” 325 73 87,385 8h 55m October 2011
4 “The Kill Order” 384 59 86,710 9h 58m August 2012
5 “The Fever Code” 347 64 86,565 9h 57m September 2016
Total 1907 344 451779 49h 33m

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner is the first book in the series and was released on October 6, 2009.

A number of teenagers, who call themselves “The Gladers”, are left in a strange place which they call “The Glade”. Beyond the walls of the Glade is the ever-changing maze, with its horrifying creatures, the Grievers. Every month a newcomer, a “greenie”, joins the Gladers, sent by a lift with all past memories (except language and other common things) wiped out. The only thing that they really do remember is their name. They are watched by large mechanical beetles, called ‘beetle blades’ which belong to their ‘creators’. The ultimate goal of The Gladers, is to find a way out of The Glade. To do so, the runners venture into the Maze every day, to map it in an attempt to find a pattern in the Maze that would lead them to find an exit. When Thomas, a curious newcomer, arrives at the Glade and ventures into the Maze, unusual things begin to happen.

The Scorch Trials

The Scorch Trials is the second book released in the series, on September 18, 2010.

The Gladers thought that getting through the maze was it; however, they did not know that their world was scorched by the sun. The Gladers did not know that they would have to fight for their lives once more. Burning and naked, the earth is a wasteland, its people driven mad by an infection known as “The Flare”. Instead of freedom, the Gladers must face another Trial. They must survive the Scorch and face WICKED’s challenges.

The Death Cure

The Death Cure is the third book released in the series, on October 11, 2011.

In the final book of “The Maze Runner” Series, Thomas is locked up in solitary confinement for four weeks. When he is released, and Assistant Director Janson (Rat Man) reveals to him and the other subjects (including Group B) that there is no cure for the Flare, but that most of the Gladers and Group B are immune. He warns them that many people in the outside world hate them because of their unnatural resistance to the Flare, and that if they escape they will most likely be in more danger. Later, all Gladers and Group B members’ memories are restored and they escape. Thomas, Newt, and Minho refuse restoration and they later escape with Jorge and Brenda. They then go to a city and have WICKED’s devices in their brain disabled. They join forces with “Right Arm”, an organization fighting against WICKED.

The Kill Order

The Kill Order is the fourth book released in the series, on August 14, 2012. It is the first novel in narrative order, set prior to the events of The Fever Code and 13 years before the events in The Maze Runner.[3] It is followed in narrative order by The Fever Code.

Of the novel, Dashner stated that he wanted to expand the world, but not focus on the main characters of the main Maze Runner trilogy. He also stated that he had originally planned to write a prequel for the series, but that the plans did not become official until he had completed the third book in the trilogy.

Before WICKED is formed, before the Glade is built, and before Thomas enters the Maze, solar flares hit the earth and mankind was ravaged by disease. Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and survived. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin and it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees. Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness.

The Maze Runner Files

The Maze Runner Files is a companion book to The Maze Runner series. It was released on 1 January 2013 as an e-book. It is 50 pages long. The book is divided into three parts: Confidential FilesRecovered Correspondence, and Suppressed Memories.

It contains information about the Flare, WICKED and some of the Gladers. It also reveals events such as Thomas and Teresa’s first conversation, Minho’s Phase Three Trial, Frypan’s past, e-mails between WICKED correspondents, and more.

The Fever Code

The Fever Code is the fifth book released in the series, on September 27, 2016. It is the second prequel and the fifth installment of The Maze Runner series. It is the second book in narrative order, preceded by The Kill Order and followed by The Maze Runner.

The book is set in between the events of The Kill Order and immediately before The Maze Runner. The novel is written from the various points of view of “The Gladers”. The book primarily focuses on the training that Thomas and the others undergo before being sent into the Maze, however, it also explores the relationships between the Gladers before they underwent “the Swipe” that suppressed their memories, describes “the Purge” that is briefly mentioned in The Death Cure, and the lives of the Gladers before Thomas’ insertion into the Maze, since during the events in the book he is working for WICKED. This book gives a background of the series, providing the reader with information they have been asking themselves. The book ends with the final moments before Thomas enters the Box, when he is betrayed and sent into the Maze at the beginning of The Maze Runner.


  • Thomas (books 1–3, 5, minor appearance in book 4) was one of the creators of the Maze along with Teresa Agnes, and later a Group A Glader in books 1–3. He is the main protagonist of the series, named after Thomas Edison. Thomas’s name was Stephen before WICKED took him from his mother.
  • Teresa Agnes (books 1–5) was a Group A Glader and a creator of the Maze with Thomas, named after Mother Teresa. She appears in book 4 under her original name Deedee.
  • Newt (books 1–3, 5) was a British Group A Glader and Alby’s second-in-command. He has a slight limp from attempting suicide when he was a Runner. Newt was named after Sir Isaac Newton. He is the brother of Sonya, a girl in Group B, who he called Lizzy.
  • Minho (books 1–3, 5) is an Asian Group A Glader and Keeper of the Runners. He then became Leader of the Gladers in the Scorch. Instead of being named after someone historically famous, he is named after Dashner’s niece’s Korean husband.
  • Gally (books 1, 3, 5) was a Group A Glader who was Thomas’s first enemy in the Glade. He serves as the main antagonist for Thomas in the first book, however, after being presumed dead for the second book, comes back to become an ally in the third. Gally was named after Galileo.
  • Alby (book 1, 5) was the first-in-command and leader of the Gladers. He was named after Albert Einstein.
  • Chuck (book 1, 5, mentioned in 2–3) was a Group A Glader who befriended Thomas in the Maze. He was Thomas’ best friend. He was named after Charles Darwin.
  • Frypan (books 1–3, 5) was the former Keeper of the Cooks for Group A. He was named after Sigmund Freud. His original name was Toby before being taken by WICKED.
  • Chancellor Ava Paige (books 1–3, 5) was the highest-ranking official of WICKED. She initially opposed the use of Immunes for the Trials and also was one of the two people to oppose Thomas’ death, however, she infected Chancellor Anderson with the Flare and forced Thomas into the Maze after Chancellor Anderson proposed to end the trials after the Maze Trials were finished. All epilogues of the three books consist of an e-mail written by Dr. Paige to her associates.
  • Assistant Director Janson (books 2–3) nick-named Rat Man in book 2, was the highest-ranking official in WICKED after Chancellor Paige.
  • Jorge (books 2–3, 5) was a pilot for WICKED; he is later assigned by WICKED to work undercover as the leader of a group of Cranks in the Scorch.
  • Brenda (books 2–3, 5) is a character that the members of Group A and B assumed to be a Crank. Eventually, they discover that she is an Immune.
  • Aris Jones (books 2–3, 5) was the only male member in a group of female teenagers called Group B. He was named after Aristotle.
  • Rachel (mentioned in book 2, 5) was a member of Group B and the best friend of Aris Jones, with whom she had a telepathic connection.
  • Harriet (books 2–3) was one of the leaders of Group B. She is named after Harriet Tubman.
  • Sonya (books 2–3, 5) was one of the leaders of Group B along with Harriet, in the Group B Maze. She is the younger sister of Newt. Her name was originally Elizabeth; Newt calls her Lizzy.
  • Mark (book 4) is the main protagonist of The Kill Order. He survived the catastrophic solar flares and escaped to the Appalachians. He was Trina’s love interest and committed suicide by telling Alec to fly the Berg into the building, killing them all, except Deedee, after succumbing to the Flare.
  • Alec (book 4) was a veteran and a U.S. military pilot. He survived the solar flares to become one of the protagonists in The Kill Order.
  • Trina (book 4) is one of the protagonists in The Kill Order. She was also the love interest of Mark.
  • Lana (book 4) is a former military nurse and is one of the protagonists who survived the solar flares in The Kill Order. She was killed by Alec after Cranks fatally injured her.

Critical reception

Book retailer Barnes & Noble included The Maze Runner book as part of its showcasing of new writers for the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Hard to put down, this is clearly just a first installment, and it will leave readers dying to find out what comes next”.

Jessica Harrison of the Deseret Morning News labeled The Maze Runner as “a thrilling adventurous book for kids ages 13+ that will get readers’ hearts pumping and leave them asking for more.” She noted that it “starts out a bit slow” but as it matched Thomas’s confusion and picked up pace as he became more accustomed, she wrote that “it’s almost as if Dashner is easing the reader into what becomes a fast-paced, nonstop action.” However, she thought the “only drawback” was the “fictionalized slang” that although it “feels realistic and fits with his characters, it gets old pretty fast. On the plus side, however, it’s used so often that the reader almost becomes desensitized and learns to ignore it.

Film adaptations

  • The Maze Runner: Development for the film began in January 2011 when 20th Century Fox purchased the film rights to Dashner’s novel series. Principal photography began in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in May 2013 and ended in July. It was released on September 19, 2014.
  • Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials: Principal photography commenced in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October 2014 and ended in January 2015. It was released on September 18, 2015.
  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure: Principal photography began in South Africa in March 2017 and was released on January 26, 2018.


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