Thomas has no idea who he is, where he is, or even how old he is. All his knows is his name on the day he arrives in the Glade. The Glade is full of boys like him with no memory of their past. The Gladers have spent years trying to escape the Glade, but without success; for the Glade is surrounded by a gigantic, seemingly impossible maze filled with mysterious monsters.
Their lives have settled into a routine: every morning the doors open and Runners leave the Glade, searching for a way out of the maze. Every night the doors close, and to be caught outside it night is to disappear forever. Every thirty days, a new boy arrives to replace the dead and missing. But with Thomas's arrival, things start to change quickly. The endgame is coming. The boys begin to wonder if they are finally going to solve the maze... or if none of them will ever leave the Glade alive...
I read The Maze Runner in only a few hours, eager to figure out what the "answers" were. Honestly I would have given it five stars except that it was, at times, pretty confusing.
Bonus points for being majorly unique, super interesting, and gripping. I have to say, however, that I disliked the ending. I felt like there was no closure. Also, I felt like things moved a little too fast at some parts, like I was having to scramble to keep up with the runaway storyline. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but in a plot as complex and layered as this it did make things kind of confusing.
Overall, a really excellent plot, if you're willing to put some effort into understanding it.
I have to say I didn't really like any of the characters. Some of them apparently couldn't make up their minds on whether to be good guys or not, and were just erratic and hard to understand. The main character, Thomas, was just bizarre. He said and did things that made no sense, had more than a few sudden personality reversals, and failed to convey any realistic emotions. I couldn't connect with any of the characters, at all, and couldn't understand most of them either.
Dashner does description well, although as I just mentioned I wasn't a huge fan of the characterization. He's excellent at building suspense and giving just the right amount of clues - not enough to give anything away, but enough to keep the reader fascinated. I enjoyed his writing style and will probably be reading more of his books.
End Result: four stars. A good book, definitely worth your time.