2 Ways to Read The Maze Runner Books in Order by James Dashner

The Maze Runner Books in Order

You’ve just finished watching The Maze Runner movies and now you want to read The Maze Runner books in order. Or, you’re a huge fan of sci-fi young adult books like Hunger Games, so this will be your next read.

Whatever your reason for reading The Maze Runner, you’ve come to the right place.

While The Maze Runner became a blockbuster hit with its film trilogy adaptation, the material is limited. But in the book series, we get more books from the mind of James Dashner and can experience more of this world.

Before we get into The Maze Runner books in order, let’s take a closer look at the series.

What is The Maze Runner About?

The Maze Runner is a dystopian sci-fi novel series for young adults.

It follows the story of a teenager, Thomas, and other boys who need to find their way out of the Glade, a mysterious open arena surrounded by massive walls, by way of an always-changing, deadly Maze.

But, they soon discover a terrifying truth and fight to survive in a devastated world governed by these scientists called the WICKED.

It has an intriguing plot and is full of action, but it has violent deaths and can be a little dark for very young readers.

The Maze Runner series consists of the main trilogy, two prequels, and other novellas by James Dashner. So for you not to get lost in the Maze, here is how to read The Maze Runner series in order.

How to Read The Maze Runner Books in Order

There are two ways to read The Maze Runner series, either in publication order or chronological order. The best way to read The Maze Runner book series is in its publishing order, and I’ll explain to you why in the next section.

The Maze Runner Books in Order of Publication

There are two good reasons for you to read The Maze Runner books in order of publication: To not get confused and to avoid spoilers.

James Dashner had a game plan for writing the book series and published them in this order. When you read the prequels before the first three books, you will have many questions in your head, and it will be confusing.

What’s more, when you read it in this order, you’re following Thomas’s journey, you’re figuring things out with him, and that’s really thrilling.

Here’s The Maze Runner series in order of publication:

  1. The Maze Runner (2009)
  2. The Scorch Trials (2010)
  3. Thomas’s First Memory of the Flare (2011) (Short Story)
  4. The Death Cure (2011)
  5. The Kill Order (2012) (First Prequel)
  6. The Fever Code (2016) (Second Prequel)
  7. Crank Palace (2020) (Novella)

The Maze Runner Books in Chronological Order

Though the best way to read The Maze Runner series is by publication, it’s still up to you if you like to read it chronologically.

I guess what’s cool about reading it in chronological order is that you will have a bigger picture of what’s happening in the story, and you know details that the characters don’t know yet. Also, you’ll have a different perspective on the actions and developments of the characters.

But, the downside is the suspense and mystery are lost, making it a less enjoyable read. Reading The Maze Runner books in order of chronology would only be recommended as a reread for someone who is already familiar with the world.

Here’s how to read The Maze Runner books in chronological order:

  1. The Kill Order (First Prequel)
  2. The Fever Code (Second Prequel)
  3. The Maze Runner
  4. The Scorch Trials
  5. Thomas’s First Memory of the Flare (2011) (Short Story)
  6. The Death Cure
  7. Crank Palace (Novella)

Do You Need to Read The Maze Runner Prequels?

The short answer is no, you don’t have to read The Maze Runner prequels. However, as with any series, you will understand more of the world if you decide to read The Kill Order and The Fever Code.

As previously mentioned, unless you’re already quite familiar with the series, the prequels aren’t a great place to start your The Maze Runner reading journey. That’s because they were written after James Dashner wrote The Maze Runner trilogy. Therefore, they may inherently spoil a few things from the original series; as well, they were not written as an entry point to the series like The Maze Runner.

So, if you’ve already read the original series and are eager to know more, I would highly recommend reading the prequels. These two novels dig deeper into the history of Dashner’s world and how he set the stage for The Maze Runner.

The first prequel rewinds all the way back to the apocalyptic events that took place, while the second prequel reveals the events that transpired before The Maze Runner and more about our main character Thomas.

Do You Need to Read the Short Story and Novella?

Again, there’s a short answer and a long answer here. If you’re content to read the main three books before moving onto a new world and characters, then you don’t have to read either the short story or novella. However, if you, like me, need to know all there is available about a world once you fall in love with it, reading the short story and novella will only enhance your appreciation for the world James Dashner created.

Like with the prequels, Crank Palace should be read after you read the main trilogy, which is why it is placed last in both chronological and publication order lists. If you’re really eager to read this novella, you could read it before the prequels, but The Fever Code does contain some character-building that is relevant to Crank Palace. Therefore, it is our recommendation that you read all the books in publication order, so you have all the information as the author intended.

If you’re still unsure about whether to read it or not, the novella is slim at around half the size of the prequels and main novels. This doesn’t make it such a large undertaking to read. It also offers a new perspective to the series as it is from the point of view of Newt and takes place during the latter events of The Death Cure.

Finally, in regards to the short story, this is even less of an undertaking to read. The short story is superbly short at only three pages and is available to read for free online. So, again, if you really enjoyed this world and are eager to know all you possibly can, I would recommend reading the short story.

Will There Be Another The Maze Runner Book?

Yes! Although there is no official launch information available, there will allegedly be another installment in The Maze Runner series in the spring of 2022. While we say allegedly, the French version of this book is already out and has been since September 2021. The French title is Le rivage des survivants, and it is takes place 73 years after the events of the original books.

James Dashner first teased the possibility of a new book in a tweet back in May 2020. In that tweet Dashner asks if fans are curious about what Newt got up to during the events of The Death Cure. As we know, Crank Palace published just a few short months later.

However, the second half of that tweet asked fans if they were curious about what the world would be like 70 years later. And almost a full year later in March 2021, Dashner shared a photo with the headline 73 years later. His caption said that the book is finished.

Then in the fall of 2021, Dashner posted a photo of the French edition of the novel and said the English edition would be forthcoming in spring 2022. However, no official release date or English title has been announced.

The Maze Runner Movies in Order

The Maze Runner film trilogy tells a complete story, so you have to watch them in the order of their released date.

Here is the list of all The Maze Runner movies:

  1. The Maze Runner (2014)
  2. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)
  3. Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018)

Will there be a The Maze Runner 4 Movie?

Some fans have speculated about The Maze Runner 4 movie because of the success of the franchise. But, the creatives behind the films took a hard line about ending the series following the Death Cure.

The screenwriter, T.S. Nowlin already talked about how much they don’t want to do a fourth movie because it’s rare to create something clean. And they liked how things wrapped up in the 2018 finale.

But this doesn’t mean there are no Maze Runner adaptations to produce as there are remaining prequels to the series. But, with the prequels’s different timelines, it would require different casts and likely a different creative team.

The Maze Runner Books in Detail

The Maze Runner James Dashner

1. The Maze Runner

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys who are also missing their memories.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround them is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—but no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying: Remember. Survive. Run.

The Scorch Trials James Dashner

2. The Scorch Trials

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t through yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

Friendships will be tested and loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

2.5 Thomas’s First Memory of the Flare

This is a 3-page long free bonus content that’s less of a story and more like a deleted scene. It is a short flashback that occurs between The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure.

The Death Cure James Dashner

3. The Death Cure

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: His life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.

What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think, and it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.

Thomas beat the Maze, he survived the Scorch, and he’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all.

The Kill Order James Dashner

4. The Kill Order

Before WICKED, before the Glade, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth, killing most of the population.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened. They survived, but now a virus is spreading. A virus that fills humans with murderous rage.

They believe that there’s a way to save those who are left—if only they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

The end is only the beginning.

The Fever Code James Dashner

5. The Fever Code

Once there was a world’s end.

The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled. Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man.

Next came WICKED, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy.

The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze.

Now there are secrets, there are lies, and there are loyalties history could never have foreseen.

Because this is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down. All will be revealed.

Crank Palace James Dashner

6. Crank Palace

Newt has been to hell and back with his friends.

The Glade. The Maze. The Scorch. The inner halls of WICKED. But now he has a burden that he can’t share with Thomas and the others—the Flare. And Newt can’t bear the thought of his friends watching him descend into madness as he succumbs to the virus.

Taking place during the latter events of The Death Cure, Crank Palace tells the story of Newt like never before, from inside his own mind, as he searches for meaning in a life gone horribly wrong. He will try to fulfill a newfound destiny before his path leads to its inevitable conclusion—and one last meeting with his best friend.

Looking for more books in order?

Check out my list of 2 Ways to Read the Chronicles of Narnia Books in Order by C.S. Lewis.

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