The Maze Runner, an adaption of the first book in James Dashner's young-adult post-apocalyptic trilogy, hits theaters this weekend and appears to offer something more engaging than recent YA efforts, Divegent, The Giver and If I Stay.

The Maze RunnerDylan O'Brien stars in 'The Maze Runner'

With a talented and energetic cast including Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario and Will Poulter, The Maze Runner follows sixteen-year-old Thomas, who awakens in a rusty elevator with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He soon learns that he's in the middle of a complex and intricate maze with a group of other boys, each trying to navigate their way out while in the meantime establishing a functioning society.

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"As world-creation YA pictures go, "The Maze Runner" feels refreshingly low-tech and properly story-driven, based on James Dashner's popular 2009 fantasy novel," said Ella Taylor of Variety.

"The Maze Runner isn't flashy but Ball makes the Glade a believably intimidating place, part Lord of the Flies with a touch of The Hunger Games," said Travis Hopson of the Examiner.

The Maze RunnerThe Maze Runner could spawn a franchise

"A dystopian sci-fi thriller whose fast pace and appealing cast just about make up for a lack of really engaging drama," wrote John Hazelton of Screen International.

"I couldn't help getting hooked by the combination of fine acting, intriguing premise and riveting scenery -- even if the story, at times, was a bit too easy," wrote Tony Hicks of the San Jose Mercury News.

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20th Century Fox have been pretty smart with this one. Dropping only $30 million on the budget and prioritising a viral based social media publicity campaign means The Maze Runner is perfectly set to make big profit while ushering in a new young-adult franchise. The studio has already acquired the rights to the second book, The Scorch Trials, with pre-production beginning in early September in New Mexico.

The Maze Runner hits cinemas in the US on Friday (September 19) and in the UK on October 10, 2014.

Watch the 'Maze Runner' trailer: