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20 Thrilling Dystopian Books Like “The Maze Runner”

Embark on New Adventures with These Gripping Books Similar to "The Maze Runner"
by The Blinkist Team | Apr 6 2024

20 Dystopian Adventures Books Like The Maze Runner

The “Maze Runner” series, written by James Dashner, is a captivating story that combines dystopian settings, intricate mysteries, and intense character development to capture the imagination of readers. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where a group of teenagers with no memories finds themselves trapped in a maze and must fight for their survival while searching for answers.

The series’ appeal is in its heart-pumping action, intricate puzzles, and the underlying theme of friendship and resilience. If you’re a fan of “The Maze Runner” and looking for more adrenaline-fueled adventures in dystopian settings, this list of 20 books will satisfy your craving for similar excitement and mystery.

Top 20 best books to read if you liked “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner


1. “Divergent” by Veronica Roth

In a society divided by personality traits, Tris discovers she doesn’t fit into just one category, unraveling a conspiracy that threatens her world.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A unique and challenging dystopian setting.
  • Strong themes of identity and belonging.
  • Fast-paced, action-packed storyline.


2. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen volunteers for a televised death match, becoming a symbol of rebellion against the totalitarian regime.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • Survival against overwhelming odds.
  • Complex character relationships and development.
  • A critique of societal structures.


3. “Legend” by Marie Lu

In a dark future where the United States is divided, a prodigy and a criminal’s paths cross, unraveling secrets and sparking rebellion.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A fast-paced, dystopian setting.
  • Characters uncovering a deeper governmental conspiracy.
  • Themes of resistance and societal divisions.


4. “Delirium” by Lauren Oliver

In a world where love is deemed a disease, Lena looks forward to the cure until she meets Alex and begins to question everything.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A society with strict rules and the rebellion against them.
  • The journey of self-discovery under extreme circumstances.
  • A blend of adventure, romance, and mystery.


5. “The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey

Cassie searches for her younger brother while surviving alien attacks that come in waves, each more devastating than the last.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • Survival in a post-apocalyptic world.
  • Trust and betrayal themes.
  • Young protagonists facing impossible odds.


6. “Matched” by Ally Condie

Cassia starts questioning the Society’s choices when she is shown two potential matches for marriage, including a boy she knows but isn’t supposed to be with.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A controlled society with a dark underbelly.
  • The quest for freedom and truth.
  • The power of human connection.


7. “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld

Tally Youngblood awaits the operation that will make her “pretty” but discovers a world of secrets and lies beneath society’s obsession with beauty.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A critique of societal norms and conformity.
  • Action and adventure with a group of young rebels.
  • The revelation of governmental secrets.


8. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry

Jonas discovers the dark secrets behind his seemingly utopian society when he is selected to inherit the position of Receiver of Memory.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • The discovery of a society’s hidden truths.
  • The journey from ignorance to knowledge.
  • Themes of control vs. freedom.


9. “Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard

Mare, a common girl in a world divided by blood color, discovers she has powers that threaten the ruling elite’s control.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A society divided and on the brink of revolution.
  • Unexpected abilities that change the fate of the protagonist.
  • Intrigue, betrayal, and rebellion.


10. “The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness

In a town where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts and privacy is nonexistent, Todd stumbles upon a silence that changes everything.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A unique and intriguing setting.
  • A protagonist on the run, uncovering truths.
  • Themes of tyranny and the fight for freedom.


11. “Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette’s touch is fatal, making her a weapon in a dystopian world crumbling around her, as she fights for her freedom and identity.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • The struggle for identity in a dystopian setting.
  • The emergence of powers in a controlled society.
  • Allies and adversaries in a fight for survival.


12. “The Selection” by Kiera Cass

America Singer is chosen for a competition to win the prince’s heart, uncovering the reality of her society’s inequalities and challenges.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A society with rigid class divisions.
  • The backdrop of a competition with higher stakes.
  • Romance intertwined with societal critique.


13. “Under the Never Sky” by Veronica Rossi

Aria, expelled from her safe haven, and Perry, an outsider, team up to survive in a savage, unpredictable world.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • Dystopian world with dangerous landscapes.
  • Unlikely alliances forming under extraordinary circumstances.
  • Exploration of outside world’s mysteries.


14. “The Darkest Minds” by Alexandra Bracken

After a disease kills most of America’s children, the survivors, including Ruby with her dangerous powers, are hunted by the government.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • Kids with unique abilities in a dystopian future.
  • Governmental conspiracies and the fight against oppression.
  • The journey of survival and finding belonging.


15. “Scythe” by Neal Shusterman

In a world without death, scythes are the only ones who can end life. Citra and Rowan learn this grim duty amid political intrigue.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A unique take on a future society.
  • Moral dilemmas and the questioning of societal norms.
  • Thrilling action and deep philosophical queries.


16. “Angelfall” by Susan Ee

With Earth under attack by angels, Penryn plans to save her sister from their clutches, allying with an injured angel.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A post-apocalyptic world with a new, dangerous hierarchy.
  • A strong, resilient protagonist fighting against the odds.
  • Themes of family, survival, and unexpected alliances.


17. “Illuminae” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Told through hacked documents, this book unfolds a space saga following Kady and Ezra, who are on the run after their planet is invaded.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A survival story in a futuristic, dangerous setting.
  • A blend of mystery, romance, and techno-thriller.
  • The quest for truth in a world of lies.


18. “Incarceron” by Catherine Fisher

Finn is trapped in Incarceron, a sentient prison, and believes he comes from Outside and must escape to find his true identity.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • The concept of a contained, mysterious world.
  • The protagonist’s quest for freedom and answers.
  • Themes of society, control, and rebellion.


19. “Unwind” by Neal Shusterman

In a society where unwanted teens are “unwound,” three runaways fight for their right to live.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • A dystopian setting with ethical and moral challenges.
  • Young protagonists on a life-changing journey.
  • Rebellion against a deeply flawed system.


20. “Gone” by Michael Grant

Suddenly, in a small town, everyone over the age of 15 disappears, leaving behind a chaotic world where teens gain powerful abilities.

Elements in common with “The Maze Runner”:

  • Teens forced to survive in a new, challenging reality.
  • The emergence of mysterious powers.
  • The struggle for control, leadership, and understanding.

To sum up, if you enjoyed “The Maze Runner” and are looking for more exciting and thrilling adventures in dystopian settings, this list can be your gateway to numerous worlds where bravery, perseverance, and the pursuit of truth are the guiding principles.

Be it battling oppressive regimes, struggling for survival, or uncovering intricate conspiracies, these books offer unforgettable experiences that will keep you engaged. So, get ready with your essentials and immerse yourself in these engrossing tales. Have a great time reading!


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