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

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 contains three main books, 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.

#1 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:

The Maze Runner Series

  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 Cutter Series

  1. The Maze Cutter (2022)
  2. The Godhead Complex (2023)

#2 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)
  8. The Maze Cutter
  9. The Godhead Complex

Do You Need to Read The Maze Runner Prequels?

No, you don’t. To put it bluntly. But if you’d like to learn more about the world of The Maze Runner and Thomas, reading the prequels (Kill Order & Fever Code) would be a great benefit for you.

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! In May 2020, James Dashner teased a return to The Maze Runner. Then in March 2021, he shared a photo with the headline 73 years later with a caption saying the book was finished.

On November 1st, 2022, that book has finally published. It’s called The Maze Cutter, and it’s Book 1 in a new Maze Runner series set 73 years after the first series. You can read it now and be on the lookout for more Maze Runner books to come.

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

Thomas awakens in an elevator and he can’t remember anything except his name. He finds himself in a small community of strange boys inside a clearing surrounded by huge stone walls. Every night, the walls shift, creating a constantly changing maze.

The only way to escape is through the maze, but no one has ever made it out.

When the first girl arrives she has a message to deliver and she may just be the secret they need to beat the maze once and for all.

The Scorch Trials James Dashner

2. The Scorch Trials

Thomas has escaped from the Maze, but WICKED still has plans for him. He and his friends have two weeks to make it across the Scorch, but the odds are not in their favor.

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 occurs between Books 2 and 3 of The Maze Runner.

The Death Cure James Dashner

3. The Death Cure

The Death Cure is the third Maze Runner book. WICKED has one final test for Thomas. They think they’ve got him right where they want him, but Thomas remembers more than he lets on.

He’s survived so far, and he’ll stop at nothing to save his friends. However, the truth could end it all.

The Kill Order James Dashner

4. The Kill Order

The Kill Order is a prequel Maze Runner book. It’s takes place before Thomas enters the Maze, when a solar flare kills most of the people on Earth.

This book follows Mark and Trina. Though they survived the flare, the virus is spreading. In order to save the other survivors, they must stay alive themselves.

The Fever Code James Dashner

5. The Fever Code

The Fever Code is another prequel story. Thomas’s story. Thomas built the Maze. He did it so save the human race. But there were lies, secrets, and loyalties he never saw coming.

This is that story.

The Maze Cutter James Dashner

1. The Maze Cutter

The Maze Cutter is the first in a new series about the descendants of Thomas and crew. It takes place 73 years after the events of The Death Cure.

The descendants are known as islanders because Thomas and Co. were sent to an island to survive. When the islanders return to the mainland they discover Cranks have evolved into a more intelligent form of themselves.

The Godhead Complex Maze Runner Books in Order

2. The Godhead Complex

This is the upcoming second book in the new Maze Cutter series.

Sadina and the islanders are up against both man and nature as they navigate their way to Alaska to see the Godhead, but the Godhead itself is fractured. Within the cracks of the sacred trinity, secrets are revealed that blur the lines of good and evil. One person’s God is another person’s Devil.

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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