The Maze Runner

by James Dashner

Paperback, 2014

Status

Available

Collection

Publication

Delacorte Press (2014), Edition: Media tie-in, 375 pages

Description

Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.

Awards

Soaring Eagle Book Award (Nominee — 2012)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — 2011)
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — Young Adult — 2011)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — Teen — 2012)
Iowa Teen Award (Nominee — 2013)
Oregon Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — 2012)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — 2012)
Arkansas Teen Book Award (Honor Book — 2011)
Colorado Blue Spruce Award (Nominee — 2012)
BILBY: Books I Love Best Yearly (Older Readers — 2015)
Florida Teens Read Award (Nominee — 2012)
Truman Readers Award (Winner — 2012)
NCSLMA Battle of the Books (Middle School — 2018)
Charlotte Award (Winner — 2012)
Whitney Award (Finalist — Speculative Fiction — 2009)
WAYRBA: Western Australia Young Readers Book Award (Winner — Older Readers — 2015)
3 Apples Book Award (Winner — 2018)
Volunteer State Book Award (Nominee — Young Adult — 2012)
Evergreen Teen Book Award (Nominee — 2012)
Isinglass Teen Read Award (Winner — 2011)
Maud Hart Lovelace Award (Nominee — 2012)
Best Fiction for Young Adults (Selection — 2011)

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

2009-10-06

Physical description

375 p.; 8.19 inches

Media reviews

8 more
Library Media Connection
The story reads like a maze with erroneous turns, dead ends, and a plot that should work but falls short. However, an amazing story nonetheless.
James Dashner has created a thrilling dystopian novel.
School Library Journal
The Maze Runner 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.
Publishers Weekly
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.
Kirkus Reviews
Dashner knows how to spin a tale and make the unbelievable realistic.
Booklist
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.
New York Times
James Dashner's "The Maze Runner" Is a pretty decent book but there are some minor flaws in the book that makes it rather boring to read. 1 Point is in my opinion the middle feels very dry this can make the book very boring for the few hundred pages that you have to read to get to the ending. 1
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Thing I really like about the book is how frantic and chaotic the ending is there's so much happening in the last 30 pages it's really cool if you can keep up with the pace of the book. 2 Things I enjoy about the book are the characters and the setting. Starting with the characters all of the people in the book have their own emotions. Some are shown as super aggressive and others can be shown as nice kind people. Now talking about the setting, the setting is amazing you can really imagine the gross vines and rust on the walls and all the places inside and outside of the maze. 1 More thing is that the book overall is a pretty nice and fun book to read not being too hard to read but being just enough to keep people from leaving.
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Fredericksburg Academy Student
I believe that this book is an absolutely amazing book for students of all ages ranging from middle to high school. While some of the topics in the book may be a little bit tough for some of the younger readers to grasp, this book offers a gateway into many questions which we, as a society, face
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today and is a brilliant display of literary techniques. Through intense use of foreshadowing, characterization, and imagery the reader of this book is sure to be captivated and intrigued to read the rest of the series. I would especially recommend this book to you if you like other futuristic dystopian books such as "The Hunger Games" or "The Giver" as much of the base ideology is very similar.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member brokeartist
I read glowing reviews about the Maze Runner, by James Dashner, so when I picked it up and began reading, I was surprised and disappointed by the quality of writing I found therein.

Though the plot was quick paced and well-planned; it keeps the reader turning the page. The writing is confusing.
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Filled with clichés, lousy scene description, simplistic language that strives to be sophisticated and the frustrating lack of an ending only served to frustrate this reader.

The story is told from the point of view of Thomas, a sixteen year old who is brought into the 'Glade'. A large outdoor structure, surrounded by an endless maze. Along with several other children from twelve to seventeen, they struggle to find out why they are there and to survive attacks by 'grievers'.

The language is simplistic, as if the young adult audience could not read beyond the sixth grade level.

Tears filled his eyes, but he refused to let them come.

Few sentences within the book are more complicated than that.

And then there are spots in which the author seems confused. As if he's unsure about scene elements.

He stood up and walked past Chuck toward the old building; shack was a better word for the place. It looked three or four stories high...

Either the narrator doesn't know how to count or the supposed genius child, Thomas doesn't. Either way, it's obvious someone forgot their math on this particular day and it doesn't bode well for a protagonist or his friends if he cannot count past three.

We find out later, the character is supposed to be super intelligent, but by his behaviors, it's not quite believable. Even in a world of suspended disbelief, you cannot make an idiot child look super intelligent--unless of course, you write it that way.

And more confusing:

He was consumed with curiosity but still felt too ill to look closely at his surroundings. His new companions said nothing as he swiveled his head around, trying to take it all in.

Conflicting ideas here. In the first sentence of this paragraph, he's too ill to look at surroundings, but in the next he's attempting to take it all in. I think perhaps within this short space of type the author forgot what was supposed to happen.

Worse, to find a resolution to the questions the story poses you have to read through the whole trilogy. In the end, the books feel more like a marketing ploy than good story-telling.
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LibraryThing member ForeignCircus
This was an excellent young adult book- just enough questions to peak the interest, just enough answers to keep you invested in the narrative. I thought Dashner did a wonderful job portraying Thomas' confusion as he seeks to make his way in a world without any true frame of reference. The
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descriptions of the maze and the terrors it contains are masterful- Dashner has invented a wonderful dystopian world populated by teen-aged boys trying unsuccessfully to make sense of it all.

I was very impressed by this novel right up until the very end. I know this is the first book of a trilogy, but I would have been happier had the book ended a few pages earlier with the narrative arc completed- the introduction of a whole new underlying story in the last pages of the novel was a turn-off for me. I was planning to buy the sequel anyway, so I didn't need the sequel to start at the end of this book. I prefer books in a series to be capable of standing on their own in addition to as part of the series, and the foreshadowing at the end of this book defeats that objective.

Regardless, still a strong four star read (would have been five if the book had ended earlier) bound to appeal to both teen and adult readers. Dashner has an interesting vision and a strong narrative voice- I look forward to the sequel.
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LibraryThing member jolerie
Thomas wakes up in a metal box in the middle of the Glade with no recollection of who he is and where he came from. Like a void shell, empty of its contents, Thomas finds himself in the Glade surrounded by boys who although arrived in the Glade before him, are just as lost and confused as to why
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they are there. Every morning the Glade's large walls infested with lush ivy slide open with a deafening crunch of rock sliding against rock, and every night the walls announce its closure with a resounding thud - keeping the boys from leaving the Glade, but more importantly, to keep out the part mechanical part animal hybrid monsters that roam the maze surrounding their home. For two years, the inhabitants of the Glade exist in a societal structure they've created for themselves with a semblance of government and normalcy, until Thomas, and a mysterious girl arrives, triggering irrevocable changes in the Glade. Time is running out as Thomas and the rest of the boys are forced with solving the mystery of the maze, or die trying.

This is by far one of the best YA fiction that I've read in a long, long time. From the first page to the very last, my heart was palpitating and my white knuckled fingers were grasping the pages tightly for fear of missing something important. The story was filled with surprise upon surprise, twist upon twist, action upon action, and I had to constantly force my eyes to stay within the lines I was reading instead of jumping ahead and revealing events before their unfolding. I am itching to get my hands on the next book in the series but since I'm way down on the queue list, I will have to sit on my hands in the meantime and hope the anticipation doesn't eat me alive.
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LibraryThing member ErikaWasTaken
Pros:
* I love mazes
* Interesting premise
* There's a mystery within the mystery within the mystery

Cons:
* Slooooooooooooow read
* Slooooooooooooow read
* For an "accelerated scenario" it sure takes them a long time to get around to any answers

Seriously, I am all for books that are slow. But you have to
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give me something in return, whether it's interesting characters, or beautiful language. But this just felt like extra things being shoved in so we could have a trilogy.
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LibraryThing member ArmchairAuthor
**Should be one-and-a-half stars** Also, William Sleator did it better. Read House of Stairs.

The book of bad habits.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up in a darkened elevator, he has no memory of who he is or where he comes from. The elevator takes him to a high-walled courtyard,
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The Glade, full of self-governing adolescent boys who have no memories of their prior lives either. He is informed that a new boy arrives every month. Beyond The Glade is a maze: explored by Runners each day, filled with monsters each night. The day after Thomas’ arrival an unconscious hot girl shows up in the elevator clutching a note informing the boys that she will be the last. What follows is a race against time to solve the maze before resources run out or monsters overrun The Glade.

This book was really hard to finish. The ideas were promising, and I had the feeling that things were just about to get exciting in a few pages…unfortunately I had that feeling all the way through with absolutely no payoff.

Let me state, once and for all, that this book has absolutely nothing in common with Lord of the Flies. Nothing. If you love that book (like I do) and were considering this one because you’ve heard it was in a similar vein, you’ve been bamboozled. Lord of the Flies has depth, sociological commentary, and psychological suspense. The Maze Runner doesn’t.

What it does have are many, many poor choices that rob the narrative of any excitement or suspense. I am afraid of writing a book like this, and I often found myself cringing when Dashner’s novel displayed an unchecked bad habit that I am prone to myself. I am going to list the poor choices for convenience:

1. This should have been a short story. If Dashner wasn’t interested in, or up to the task of, developing his characters as more than two-dimensional personalities; he should have told his tale in a short format to keep the focus on the events. Social dynamics between Gladers are superficial, particularly given how long most of them have been living together in stressful circumstances. Particularly irritating is the way The Gladers refuse to explain anything of what they know about their situation to Thomas. It seems like a pointless attempt to create conflict and suspense, and it is one that fails.

2. Dashner gives away all his suspense and conflict early on. Rather than letting Grievers, the deadly monsters that roam the maze, be a mysterious entity that goes bump in the night until Thomas gets to enter the maze himself; Thomas is shown a Griever through a window on the day he arrives. Teresa, who could brew conflict based on her gender alone, is dropped straight into a coma on arrival and kept off-screen unless it is time for Thomas to interact with her. A very poor choice. The fact that she arrives the very day after Thomas is also a poor choice, because he has yet to learn anything about Glader life. What could have been a huge shock to a settled-in Thomas with a month in the Glade was instead a throwaway moment.

3. Pacing. Holy moly. Dashner and I have something in common with our writing. I have a tendency to slip into a moment-by-moment description of events if I am not being careful. This makes for a bone dry read, and is a terrible disservice to story. I only care what a character ate for lunch if it tells me something about the character. Katniss’ focus on food underscored the general scarcity of it in her daily life, Harriet the Spy’s tomato sandwiches were a quirk of her generally independent personality. Ditto anything else the character does. It only matters to me if it matters to the story. Dashner drags the reader through many dull hours and frustrating conversations, just to get to “wow” moments that fail to thrill because the reader has become so disinterested.

4. The author shows his ass with the character of Teresa. It tells me an awful lot about how an author sees women when he drops a single female character into a story, makes her beautiful, takes away her ability to speak, and earmarks her for the “hero” (and none of the other characters challenge this assumption). It reminded me of Arya in Eragon: she’s there because the hero needs a hot babe to ride into the sunset with, no matter how little sense it actually makes in the context of the story. That is not authentic, that is an emotionally stunted little boy’s fantasy. The way the story is written Thomas basically has “dibs”.

5. Thomas’ self-reflection read like the author describing the character of Thomas to the reader. That doesn’t work in first-person. Awkward. Whenever Thomas had a good character moment: did something brave, devised a clever solution, or worked tirelessly; it was undercut by his previous musings that despite his lack of memory he felt like he was brave/smart/persistent. I tend to think of writing characters like creating a great drawing: if you do a good job rendering the values, bringing out the darks and lights, you don’t need to draw lines.

6. Spiked slugs aren’t scary.

This book was just so frustrating, particularly since I saw some of my own bad writing habits on every page. I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone, because there are so many good sci-fi/dystopian stories with similar themes that are well-written. I will not be picking up The Scorch Trials.
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LibraryThing member Angela7546
2.5 Stars

Despite the popularity of this trilogy and its large fan base, I find it mind-boggling that anyone actually likes The Maze Runner by James Dashner. It's like a good recipe ruined by a chef who doesn't know how to cook. I loved the premise, but that's pretty much it.

Things That Bothered
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Me:

1. There are absolutely NO character development, and the main characters are so flat with no personalities. Let's take Teresa for an example. Other than the fact that she is pretty, there is nothing else interesting about her, and it's true for almost everyone in the book.

2. The made-up slang is extremely irritating and not consistent throughout the book. Although these boys are young kids/teens, but who talks like that? Saying words like "klunk" and "shank" make them sound stupid and dumb, even though this is suppose to be the brightest and smartest group.

3. The first 1/3 of the book was so slow and boring. Even though the Gladers got their memories wiped and were clueless about the maze, for about 100 pages I was lost and frustrated because everyone was withholding information. The author wanted to build suspense, but it got to a point where I just put down the book and walked away.

4. Why are the characters so repetitive (especially Thomas)? They like to constantly repeat their questions and/or actions.

5. Some characters are just totally unrelatable.

6. The author created characters and events in the story only to advance the plot and to build suspense, even though they didn't make any sense or didn't fit within the overall story at that particular moment.

7. Too many plot holes and unanswered questions.

This is a book with great plot but was poorly executed.
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LibraryThing member Jenners26
BOOK DESCRIPTION

Thomas, a teenager with almost no memory of his past, wakes up on day in a dark elevator that lets him out in a strange world called the Glade. Populated only by other teenage boys, the Glade is a self-sufficient community (with farming and livestock) that is enclosed within
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gigantic walls that close each night. During the day, the walls open to reveal what seems to be an endless maze, patrolled by deadly creatures called Grievers. Understandably, Thomas is confused and confounded by this new world he finds himself in. As he tries to find out what is happening, he discovers that some of the Gladers have been there for two years, with a new boy arriving each month. But the day after Thomas arrives, something unprecedented happens—a teenage girl who appears to be dead arrives in the elevator clutching a note in her hands that says “This is the last one.” Soon after her arrival, things begin to change, and the Gladers must fight for their lives and discover the secrets of the maze before it is too late.

MY THOUGHTS

In some ways, it seems like the terms “YA” and “Dystopia” are becoming synonymous. And, even though I often struggle with YA books, I keep finding myself getting sucked into dystopic trilogies. Starting with The Hunger Games and moving to the Chaos Walking trilogy, I can’t seem to quit these types of books for some reason. I just find the premises so intriguing, and I have to find out what happens next.

This series was no exception. Once again, we have our YA hero up against bizarre challenges that are often deadly. As in The Hunger Games, kids die—often in grotesque and disturbing ways. Unlike The Hunger Games, the kids don’t kill each other (mostly), but must work together to survive, figure out how to escape the maze and discover what is going on in their strange new reality. Dashner does a good job of providing enough “clues” and hints about what might be going on to keep the reader intrigued, and he keeps the chapters short and moving along. Almost every chapter ends with a mini-cliffhanger.

As in most YA books, the language is kept relatively simple and with a focus on the action. To keep things “clean” for a younger audience, Dashner has the Gladers adopt their own slang in place of curse words, calling each other “shuck faces” and “klunks.” For the most part, it seems to work, even though I kept substituting the obvious curse word on my own. (I guess I’m a little jaded).

Still, when I reached the end of the first book, I knew I was going to have to continue on with the second book, The Scorch Trials. Apparently, I am a dystopic-loving teen deep in my heart as I can’t seem to quit these types of books. (My reviews for the second and third books will be posted over the next two days. If you keep reading them, you can see my opinions about this series deteriorate until I end up basically hating on James Dashner.)
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LibraryThing member ViragoReads
Mind blown! This was a thinking woman/man's kinda book. It constantly kept me thinking, wondering, trying to work out what was going on. I only had a good idea about what was happening once throughout the entire story.

This was really good. It kept me interested the whole way through the book. I was
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cheering and jeering for characters and getting completely wrapped up in the story. I think this is one of the best plots I've read in a long time. Maybe because this isn't my usual type of story, but it captured me. I am very much looking forward to starting the next book in the series and am seriously happy with myself for buying the whole series at once!

Also, Dylan O'Brien is gonna kick so much ass as Thomas! Looking forward to the movie even though I know there's a high probability that they will ruin it.
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LibraryThing member parhamj
First, there was vampire romance. Now, there is survival in dystopian future. I have to admit – I like the second YA theme MUCH better than the first.

Another great read in this hot trend of post-apocalyptic literature: The Maze Runner is the first in a series (as is custom in this genre) about
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young Thomas, a 16-year-old-ish survivor who wakes up in an elevator with no memory of his life before that day. All he can remember is his first name. Thomas. Elevator stops. Thomas gets out. And he is in the Glade, a pastoral environment populated entirely by other 16-year-old-ish survivor boys who all have the same affliction: no memory of their lives before they too woke up in the elevator.

Turns out the Glade is surrounded by a giant maze, and every day, select survivors from this pool of 16-year-old-ish boys head out into the wilds of it to try and find an exit. They are the Runners. And though Thomas himself cannot explain it, he wants to be a Runner too. But wait. The Maze changes every night – the walls shift and new routes are established every day. And there are giant, bulbous, half-slug / half-machine killer monsters called Grievers that also roam through the Maze too. Don’t want to run into those guys. It gets nasty.

So, here Thomas finds himself plunked down into this surreal landscape with these hideous monsters and a handful of young survivors who have no idea why they are there or what is going on. They all just have one goal: find a solution to the Maze and get out. Then things take a turn for the super weird when the day after Thomas’ arrival in the Glade, the elevator brings up another young survivor. Only this time it’s a girl. The first girl that has ever arrived in the Glade as far back as any of the boys can remember. And she blurts out “everything is about to change.” Uh oh.

And off we go on our wild adventure. I have to admit I enjoyed the ride. Very unique premise – as the mysteries unfold, I found myself plowing through since the reveal of one mystery only led to more that needed solving. And the “twist” at the end was a stroke of creative genius. I enjoyed the characters, especially Thomas, Minho, Newt, and Chuck, and my heart palpitated a few times as they found themselves staring death straight in the eye. I was rooting for them.

The only critique I really have is Dashner’s attempt to inject emotion into the story. I sometimes wondered if, as he was writing, he suddenly thought to himself that he needed to make sure Thomas’ emotions were clear. So he would drop in random lines about Thomas being pissed, or scared, or sad, or what-have-you. Problem I had: these random lines of text were a bit jarring, and they distracted me from what was happening. I could understand Thomas’ emotions just fine without the added text. I also found it hard to believe that this kid vacillated so frequently and so widely in his emotional-spectrum in such short bursts of time. I don’t know how many times I read that Thomas was terrified in one paragraph and then at peace in the next even though his situation had not changed. I know there is the possibility of experiencing a host of different emotions at one time, but that seemed to happen an awful lot to Thomas. Kid is gonna need massive therapy to cope with all that shifting emotion. Forget about the Grievers and the Glade and the Maze and all that other stuff.

But that critique aside, this was an excellent piece of fiction, and I’m definitely heading straight on into Book 2 to continue the story. What happens next??
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LibraryThing member theokester
I'd read blurbs saying that this was an action-packed adrenaline ride and I have to agree. While there are definitely moments of introspection and some expository narrative, there are HUGE segments of non-stop adventure. The reader is truly RUNNING through this book and the maze along with the
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characters.

Summary

The story is told in a close 3rd person following closely the adventures and interactions of young Thomas. He wakes in a darkened elevator with no distinct memories of himself, his past, or his future. He remembers his name and has very vague memories about things of the world (he knows what an elevator is and general concepts like that, for example) but is totally oblivious as to his current situation. The elevator finally arrives in the Glade where he's welcomed by a group of boys no older than him (and many are younger). He quickly learns that they all came up through the elevator in the same way with the same amnesia and that none of them really have any sense of an overall purpose for the Glade or, the larger mystery, of the large maze surrounding the Glade from which there is apparently no exit. The 'Gladers' have organized a routine by which they sustain life through farming and they explore the maze through the use of 'Runners' who search each day for a way out. After 2 years, they haven't yet found an exit. Still confused and trying to understand things, the next morning brings another teenager in the elevator…the first girl ever to arrive at the Glade and she brings a message with her that "things are going to change."

Characters

Thomas is the central character that we follow on the journey. We get his thoughts and analysis along the way and we unravel the mystery along with him. We experience a sense of amnesia along with him as we try to figure out what could be going on and why. As various elements unravel that confront Thomas with some potentially harsh truths about himself, I found myself feeling some of the pressure on him as though the accusations were coming at me and I didn't understand why. I guess what I'm saying is that it was pretty easy for me to relate to Thomas…not just because he's a male protagonist but also because the presentation allowed me to learn along with him and to feel very close to his confusion and his emotions.

We don't get as close to the other characters but we do learn a lot about their personalities through their interactions with Thomas and the other Gladers. Even though the various leaders in the Glade have distinct personalities they felt largely the same to me in two main categories…those who were pro-Tom and those who were anti-Tom. I often lost track of which Glader was speaking/acting at a certain time because apart from those two main groupings, a lot of their behaviors/dialogue/actions were very similar. Still, many of them did do very unique things at key moments in the story which set them apart, but generally, the Gladers fit into these key groups.

The one Glader who was different was Chuck. Chuck was the seemingly out-of-place Glader who was almost an outcast among this group of outcasts/exiles/whatever-they-were kids in the Glade. He didn't have many (any?) friends. His skillset was low. Early on, Thomas was easily annoyed by Chuck, but as the book went on, Chuck became the enduring and sympathetic character.

And finally, there was Teresa, the girl who arrived and brought on the major changes. She spends a large chunk of the book in a coma but we still get to know about her through the various snips of memories and implications that come as well as her connection with Tom. When she starts taking part in the action, it's quickly apparent that she's strong willed and maybe a bit cocky. I'm interested to see how she plays out in the next book as well.

My Thoughts

The idea for this plot and this world is very interesting to me. It's a strange dystopia world where adults are absent and children are fighting for their lives and their future.

The intriguing twist comes in the amnesia that plagues the group. Nobody knows why they're in the Glade/Maze, who put them there, what the world's like outside the Maze or any other key details. Even after two years of searching and making maps, the kids haven't found an escape nor have they gotten any closer to answers. And now, with the arrival of Thomas and Teresa, their entire existence within the Glade has changed and their forced to find answers and escape or die.

As the overall mystery is slowly revealed, it becomes more intriguing and each answer brings more questions.

My two main complaints with the unraveling of the mystery are both related to the intelligence of the kids.
1 - As smart as all these kids are and as much comparing of the maps as they made, it seems odd to me that either out of desperation or just pure luck, they hadn't yet made the discovery that Thomas and Teresa help them make.
2 - Again, with the intelligence of these kids, it was frustrating just how long the acronym (WICKED) remained a mystery…even once Thomas started asking the question, it still told half or two-thirds of the book before he made the connection.

So, although the kids are very intelligent, so much so that their conversation and thoughts seemed very mature at times (don't worry, there's still enough balance of immaturity to realize they are just kids/teenagers), it seems that there were a couple of things that these smarty-pants should've figured out sooner.

Overall

This was a very engaging story. Even though the mystery is thoughtful and intriguing, it's not so deep as to overwhelm the tween/teen reader.

The story is very action packed and should appeal to an action-hungry reader. However, if you're looking for a deep book large amounts of character and plot development…a sort of literary classic…this isn't the book for you.

The book is part of a series with the second book already released. While this main segment is self-contained as a single story, it still definitely leaves you not only wanting more, but needing to discover what happens next. I'm not sure if the hardcover came with the "WICKED files" or not, but the version I did had various office memos/emails/etc at the end of the book that shed some more light on the mystery while also creating more questions. In addition, it had the first few pages of book two which helped whet my appetite.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to more. I've got a couple of brothers (who aren't huge readers even) that I'm thinking of giving this to as a gift.

I can certainly recommend this as a good adrenaline filled adventure book.

****
4 out of 5 stars
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LibraryThing member BookAddictDiary
Thomas wakes up in a strange place known only as "The Glade" with no memory of anything but his name. Thomas finds that he is now in a strange place populated by a group of young boys who have built their own civilization near a massive and deadly maze believed to hold the secret to their escape.
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Soon after Thomas's arrival, a girl named Teresa appears in the Glade, and all the children used to believe about their existence starts to crumble.

When I first started Dashner's Maze Runner, it felt a little bit like a clone of Neal Shusterman's Everlost, which quickly made me less interested because well, I had read it before. The story starts out a little boring and somewhat difficult to understand since the world tends to have much of its own language that the reader must pick up on with little explanation. This was helped by the fact that the reader is learning about the world with Thomas, but Thomas seems to accept things a little too easily for my taste. The characters sometimes feel a little too numerous, which tends to make character development seem flat and a little too thin due to balancing so many characters. The two leads though, Thomas and Teresa, are fleshed out just enough to be readable.

Thankfully, the plot moves from "kind of boring" to "somewhat interesting" -at least interesting enough for me to get through it -about a third of the way through. However, there were points where I started to wonder if there was much of a purpose behind certain things, until the mystery really started to heat up. Once Thomas starts to take charge and the puzzle pieces start to fall into place, The Maze Runner goes from "somewhat interesting" to "oh-my-gosh-I-can't-put-this-book-down!" Unfortunately, this didn't happen until about the last 100 pages or so of the book, but it was worth it. I never expected this to be so much bigger and more diabolical than it seemed.

By the time I reached the end, I was hooked. I wanted to know what happened next to this rag-tag group of boys and the sole girl. I believe this is the first book in a trilogy, but I haven't seen anything about a sequel.

The Maze Runner is great for fans of Schusterman's Everlost series and YA adventure, science fiction and suspense/mystery. The novel becomes surprisingly complex and deep near the end, which gives it a nudge toward the adult market, and could throw some young readers for a loop.
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LibraryThing member Tigerlily12
This book is very fast paced, and will keep you turning pages to try and find more answers. If you want a fast and easy young adult dystopian read, then definitely check it out. However, let me warn you that the answers to the mysteries in this book (and its sequels) will never fully satisfy you or
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answer all your questions. Similarly, the characters are relatively static and lack depth. This is an intense read, but you will continue reading the sequels for real depth and answers, and yet never find them.
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LibraryThing member BookishMatters
There are spoilers in this review. This is your only warning.

I’m gonna be straight up honest with you – I read this because I wanted to have it finished before the movie comes out in September. It’s a very shallow reason, but I hate seeing movies before I read the book and I have a bit of a
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love affair with Dylan O’Brien going on in my head, so this book was going to get read no matter what. It was inevitable.

That being said, this book wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be. It took me approximately three tries to get past the first quarter of the book because that part is slow and boring and nothing happens except Thomas asking a lot of questions and the rest of the Gladers finding excuses not to answer them. Had I not been reading in preparation for the movie, I probably never would have given the book another chance. But it gets better as the book goes on. The plot is unique, and I didn’t know it was a thing that could actually happen? It’s a bit crazy, kooky, and requires some serious suspension of disbelief, but maybe the history behind everything is something that will be resolved in later books in the trilogy. Still, it was interesting enough that I was curious to see what the purpose was behind the maze and who the Gladers really were.

Despite the fact that I think the plot had a lot going for it, I can’t say I’m a fan of the execution. Dashner’s writing is far from stellar. It lacks quite a bit of emotion, to be perfectly honest. There would be parts where a character would be freaking out, terrified, sobbing, and all around emotionally distressed…and I would feel none of it. I was reading the words, but I wasn’t feeling the emotions. I think a big reason is because I didn’t really care much for the characters. I didn’t connect with them. Their emotions didn’t feel real. I didn’t care when they died. I don’t understand how Thomas felt such a deep connection to Teresa or Chuck. There was no evolving of the friendships. He seemed to be completely indifferent to Chuck one day, and then the next he loved Chuck like a brother. Alby and Gally going nuts didn’t leave an impact on me. I couldn’t really visualize the Grievers and so I didn’t feel any horror from them. I think the Changing should have been scary, but that’s only because the story was telling me it was supposed to be scary.

And I think that’s a big reason why – there’s a lot more telling than showing in the story, and it doesn’t work. Whenever a character discovers something important, we as the reader aren’t there with them. We don’t see the “dead” Griever. We don’t see Thomas’s memories. We don’t get to experience a Changing. We’re told about everything after the fact, or while someone is telling someone else (such as when Thomas explains his memories during the Gathering).

The author also withholds a lot of information in the beginning. Thomas doesn’t know anything, and our only way of finding out information is through him. So when he asks the other Gladers why something is the way it is and they say “you don’t need to know,” I feel like the author is just trying to create false suspense because yes, yes we do need know. Being obviously purposely kept out of the loop so much is the main reason I almost never read this book to begin with – it doesn’t create suspense, it just frustrates us. It’s unnecessary. Especially when it makes absolutely no sense to the story. There are ~50 boys stuck in this maze. All of them lost their memories. They know they need to work together to get out. So why are they withholding information? I really don’t get it.

My last complaint here: nothing in the book is character driven. Literally. Nothing. The characters are not active, they are purely reactive. And while it may work in the beginning, at some point, the characters need to develop some agency. And normally, my first thought would be “this is the first book in a trilogy so they probably figure their sh*t out in the second installment.” Except no. I’ve started The Scorch Trials. It’s still very much a story in which the characters react rather than act, at least through the first ten or so chapters (which is about where I am).

I felt like I was reading fanfiction, like Dashner was just starting his writing career and wasn’t sure how to properly write suspense, or create a character driven story, or really even write character development. The idea of a really great story is there, but it’s greatly lacking in execution.

I was originally going to give this 2.5/5 stars, but I decided to bump it up to 3/5 stars. It’s got its flaws, no one can doubt that, but it’s a quick, easy read, and I’m still curious enough about the plot that I started the sequel.
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LibraryThing member Baochuan
Interesting science fiction book for young adults.
LibraryThing member smileydq
Kudos to Dashner for writing a fast-paced and riveting young adult novel, one that kept me questioning right along with the characters and still guessing at the end. The Maze Runner is an easy and engaging read and I highly recommend it for teens and adults alike - 4 stars.

That being said, I am
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extremely frustrated by the abrupt ending both to the adventure and to the book itself. I understand there's a trilogy, but I want each book to function as well as a stand-alone read, either with some resolution or with an actual ending. I was so caught up in the boys' struggle, so ready for them to solve the Maze, or at least escape it, and then suddenly we're at an epilogue, written from a different narrative point-of-view, and I'm left only with clear foreshadowing of events to come in later books. But what about this book?

I found Dashner's writing to be clear and age appropriate, and his character development was very good, especially considering that none of the kids actually have any memories of themselves before the Glade - he still created distinct and realistic personality traits and flaws. But I was disappointed at the end of my reading - I will certainly look for the next book in the series, but I wish I felt like I had truly finished this one!
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LibraryThing member SpongeBobFishpants
This is one of those books for which I'll need to read the remainder of the trilogy in order to form a solid opinion. It is, as another reviewer aptly put it, Ender's Game meets Lord Of The Flies. Part of my antipathy may be due to the fact that as much as I love dystopian novels, I detested Lord
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of the Flies and didn't care for Ender's Game either now that I think about it. Of course I haven't read it in 30 years, so I don't know that I would have the same opinion now. Regardless, this at least held my interest despite the fact that it seems more than a little absurd to me that a group of "apparently evil" scientists intelligent and powerful enough to create and maintain such an all-encompassing and elaborate web of deceit, not to mention the physical world of the maze, would be unable to maintain even the basic needs in a world crippled by plague. But, I realize that some of this may become clearer in the later books so I was able to suspend my disbelief to a point. And really, that's the sign of an enjoyable science fiction book, when the reader suspend their disbelief. In this case I could, albeit tenuously.
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LibraryThing member ZabetReading
I did not connect with the characters. Thomas was cold and, despite having a million questions at the beginning of the book, stopped asking ANY by the end. The character of Chuck was clearly meant to evoke a sense of humanity, pity and rooting for the underdog (ala Piggy from Lord of the Flies),
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but his character is not developed enough for the reader to feel anything other than mild annoyance. When Teresa was introduced, it seemed that the author wanted to create a sense of a deep connection between the two teens, but had no idea how to accomplish this. I was also annoyed by the use of slang. Not only was it a poorly veiled attempt to avoid swearing, but they re-used the one word so often that it became reminiscent of an episode of the smurfs.

SPOILERS BELOW!






Some issues I had:

1. This book is a basic re-hashing of The Lord of the Flies premise but with a conspiracy theory thrown in and without the heart-wrenching plot and character development
2. The Grievers were ridiculous. It seemed like the author tried to take as many scary elements as possible and smash them together into one creature. BTW, did I miss a part where they explained why they were called Grievers or did they simply not do that?
3. What happened to not being able to talk about their memories after the changing? Alby tried to kill himself rather than speak then, all of a sudden, after Thomas is stung, both he and Alby can speak freely. Claiming this was part of the "Ending" being triggered is lame.
4. How exactly did Teresa trigger the ending? She was in a freaking coma.
5. I got really annoyed with everyone refusing to answer questions. They get a new recruit every month, you would think they would have prepared a tour and speech by now.

All in all, this seemed like a book written by a boy, for boys. I will recommend the series for my male junior high students, but will not continue reading it myself.
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LibraryThing member katiekrug
I listened to this one on audio, as I find YA books work well for me in that format. I had seen The Maze Runner compared favorably and unfavorably to The Hunger Games, which I loved. While TMR is good and certainly held my interest, I didn’t find it nearly as enthralling as THG. Some of the
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writing was very clunky with really terrible, awful, lame, cringe-inducing similes sprinkled throughout. I kept meaning to write them down and never did, unfortunately… I think the book would work really well for the target audience and for anyone who is a big fan of the genre (speculative YA fiction). I’m just dipping my toes in here and came at it with a critical eye so I may be short-changing the book.
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LibraryThing member TheDivineOomba
This is one of those books that sits in the young adult in dystopian world genre. In this book, we have a bunch of teenage boys, being sent to the maze, with no memories of their adult life. They don't know why they are their, or what they might have done to deserve this.

In some ways, it typical,
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in others, not so much. I found it interesting the society this group makes, with law and order. In a book like this, I would have expected the author to go with a less coherent group, more tribal.

The story itself is interesting, but its way to long for what it tells. There is too much focus on the day to day, with action only happening in the last few chapters. There is also not enough explanation - the book ends on a cliff hanger.

Without giving spoilers, the reason for the maze is convoluted - and too wasteful. I can't imaging a society short on resources being willing to have the best and smartest teens killed. The other thing that baffles me is the solution to the maze... even if the meaning of isn't apparent, the kids should have found the key fairly quickly into their imprisonment.

The writing is spare, characters while a bit above stereotypes - still fairly cardboard. The ending seemed too easy and does not actually explain anything. However, its a fast read and is exactly what it seems to be - a Young Adult Dystopian Novel.
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LibraryThing member Lark-Avocet
I am very happy with this book. I was eagerly anticipating its release for months and I think I chose well. For me, there are a lot of Young Adult books out there that seem hastily written or that seem like the author is not confident in the direction of the plot. This is not one of those books. I
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felt Dashner was in control of the plot and his characters the entire time and that this story was well thought out. I liked that I was figuring out the secrets of the Glade right along with the main characters. One warning to squeamish readers: this book is not for the faint of heart. Death is a major topic in this story and is not treated in a “fade to black” manner but rather tackled head on.

The only drawback to this book for me was the writing got quite dense at points. For instance, some may find it hard to get into initially because the Glade and the Glader’s are described several times over. I understand that the extra description may have been an attempt to pace the story or to give the reader a strong sense of place, but for me it just took me out of the story and gave me a hard time with the first 50 or so pages. After that though the repetitious description falls to a minimum and the meat of the story starts to kick in. I am already eagerly anticipating the release of book two!
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LibraryThing member sch_94
My Summary: Thomas wakes up in a dark elevator, without any recollection of who he is or how he got there. The only thing he knows: his name. Other than that trivial piece of info, his memory has been wiped clean of anything and everything relating to his life before.

The elevator finally stops and
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the doors fly open, revealing a crowd of teenaged boys of every age, size, and race. They welcome Thomas to "The Glade" - a huge field surrounded by stone walls. Ignoring his demands to be told where exactly he is and what is going on, the "Gladers" show him around, telling him that this place is where he'll be spending the rest of his life.

Tom goes along, trying to find a way to get information, but after a few days of living in the Glade, he realizes something: he's been there before.

But no one who enters the Glade ever leaves - not since people started showing up in "The Box" (the elevator) two years before. So how is it possible that Thomas has ever set foot in this mysterious place? And why did everything seem to spin out of control the moment he arrived? Questions keep piling up, as do people's suspicions that Tom is a spy sent by The Creators - the people who created the Glade and stuck the kids inside. And what does it mean when a girl - the first ever to arrive in the Glade - appears in the Box, with a message that throws the Glade into a state of chaos?

My Thoughts: One word: woah. Actually, make that "WOAH!", because that was my reaction upon reading the last sentence of the epilogue.

This book was recommended to me by my English teacher, and I agreed to read it, even though it sounded a little too much like sci-fi (I'm more of a paranormal / contemporary / historical fiction type of gal, as you've probably picked up on). It's funny, though - this book was on my TBR list, but I took it off a few months ago, and now I end up reading it? Strange. Anyways, back to the review.

The book started off a bit strangely - not gunna lie, I was just as frustrated as Tom was in the beginning, wanting answers and explanations and the like. After a few pages, though, I realized that the author had set up the beginning like that purposely and decided to just roll with it. Once I did that, the story became much easier to read.

I sped through the first 90 pages, then took a break. The story had me on edge, though - I wanted to hurry up and get home so I could find out what was going on in the Glade! I ended up getting home a few hours later and immediately sat down to read more.

Less than 3 hours later, I'm done the book, and I'm still in shock - it reminds me of my reaction to The Hunger Games the first time I read it, actually. That "no freaking way!" feeling hasn't gone away, and I've been thinking about the book for the past couple of hours now. It's one of those ones that haunts you, ya know?

A few comments about the writing style: the author definitely has a gift for imagery! I felt like I was right there in the Glade - I have a clear picture in my head of what the entire place looks like. I had some trouble with the slang the Gladers used at first, but it's relatively easy to figure out what they mean through the context they're used in... not to mention the fact that some of the words rhyme with their 'synonym'. That's all I can say about that, though! Overall, the writing was clear and descriptive.

Final Thoughts: I really, really liked this one! It was a little darker than the stuff I usually read, but it fit really well with everything else. I recommend you check it out, especially if you loved The Hunger Games!

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Quote: "He wanted to be able to protect his friends from the horrible experience, but he knew he couldn't.

'We can do it,' she said in a quiet voice.

Hearing her say that only made him worry more. 'Holy crap, I'm scared.'

'Holy crap, you're human. You should be scared.'"
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LibraryThing member littlebookworm
Thomas wakes up in a lift with no memory of anything regarding his previous life. He knows his name and how to speak, but virtually nothing else. He’s stranded, until the lift doors open and he’s greeted by a group of boys who have similarly lost their memory. All of these kids eke out a life
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in a place called the Glade, farming, cooking, and doing their best to solve the ever-changing maze that lurks just outside, without getting killed by the Grievers, machines designed to kill kids. The gates open in the morning and close at sunset; any kid left outside at night is guaranteed to die in the morning. The day after Thomas’s arrival, the first girl is found in the box, and she is suspiciously familiar. Can Thomas solve the maze as the end game engages?

This book is a great read. It’s going to be hard for me to back up and explain why, but I’ll give it a shot. Perhaps the foremost reason is how amazingly suspenseful it is. There is a sense of dread lurking over the entire book. Thomas is tossed into this strange world with no knowledge of it at all, and as we learn what the boys know, we also learn that nothing is as it seems. This is even more pronounced when things start to go wrong. I had no idea what was going to happen next or how the boys (and girl) were going to solve the maze, or even if they were going to be able to do so. There was no way I was going to stop reading this book. Besides that, I adore dystopias, and while this is another variant of the fight-for-your-life scenario, it has plenty of individualism to spice it up. The wiped memories, the larger picture that is only available at the end of the book, and the maze itself and the reasons behind it were all fascinating.

Of course, such a book wouldn’t be so great if it didn’t have characters to care about. We have to care whether or not these kids die, and luckily Dashner pulls this off just beautifully. Thomas is a great kid. He’s perplexed, he’s unhappy, but he’s smart as a whip and determined to succeed. He’s not a perfect wonder boy, but he’s loyal, tenacious, and a true friend. I also thought his role in the greater plot was excellently planned and made his position a lot shakier than I’d expected. The other kids, while not center stage, are also characters to cheer for.

This is a YA book, but I had very few moments when I was aware that its projected audience was younger than me. I did take a while to get used to the fact that the boys are frequently called “kids”. I haven’t referred to anyone as a kid in quite some time, and somehow I don’t remember coming across this in other YA. Saying that I’m not sure how else to refer to the group, so I suppose it is more natural. That was really the only strange moment; otherwise I was as absorbed in this novel as a thirteen-year-old would be. There is similarly the fact that this book is totally clean; it’s as though these boys have no sexual urges whatsoever, and even when a girl arrives their reactions are subdued. To be honest, I don’t think a romantic entanglement would have been out of place, but the story works extremely well just as it is, so this is more of an observation than a criticism.

I highly, highly recommend this YA dystopia. The Maze Runner is a breathtaking work of truly addictive fiction and I am waiting with huge amounts of anticipation for the next book.
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LibraryThing member eheinlen
While reading this book, there were spots where I couldn't put it down because I wanted to know what happened next and there were other spots were I really couldn't care less what happened to the boys (and girl) in the Glade. In the end, I think I just really didn't like this book. The premise was
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interesting, which is what attracted me, but the character development left something to be desired and the bizarre addition of words that didn't mean anything annoyed me as did the fact that the reason behind their inclusion was never explained. The whole book felt forced to me. I do not plan on reading any of the other books in this series.

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It also irritated me that the Creators thought that the boys had done a wonderful job when, in reality, they had spent two years failing miserably and only got out of the Maze because the kid they sent in their with special memories helped them. It was unrealistic. If they hadn't sent Thomas in to the Maze, those kids would have died there.
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LibraryThing member resugo
What I enjoyed about this book was the overall plot. It was exciting and intriguing and kept me reading. The world within and without the maze was cool. It was well written. But even as I read it, I felt that the personal touch was lacking. I didn't really care about the characters, they never came
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alive for me. And the over all purpose of the maze wasn't believable. The maze is meant as a test, but what the creators are testing seems kinda lame. There were parts that didn't ring true to me, too.
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LibraryThing member timspalding
What a disappointing book. I figured I should read it since it got a lot of attention, sales, and awards. YA isn't my genre, but similar motives got me reading The Hunger Games trilogy and I was glad of it. I was certainly not glad here.

The premise is solid--a bizarre, original and highly specific
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situation. But the excitement fades away to nothing as the pedestrian writing grinds on and the truth is revealed. The story is largely driven by this revelation, with basic facts kept from the reader, often in truly desperate ways—amnesia, selective amnesia, bits and bobs that pop out of amnesia, people too nice to reveal the terrible truth, people too mean to reveal the truth, ambiguous conversations, interrupted conversations, etc. At the end, a bunch of information is dumped at one time—a big heap of dull, dystopia tropes. I was long past caring.

There are some compelling, if predictable, personal dynamics early on--questions of leadership reminiscent of Tunnel in the Sky or some other teenage, group robinsonade. But they aren't developed, and I got tired of being told what the main character "felt" all the time, as if his reader's couldn't imagine a character is scared in a scary situation without the author saying "Thomas was scared." Well, Tim was bored. Tim felt this book was not a good book. Tim did not like it. Tim could not be paid to read the sequels.
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Pages

375

Rating

½ (3795 ratings; 3.8)
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