Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review: The Scorch Trials

The Scorch Trials by James Dashmer
The Scorch Trials is the second book in “The Maze Runner” trilogy. It begins exactly where The Maze Runner left off. Thomas and the Gladers have escaped from the maze and WICKED, and are now safe with their rescuers. At least they thought they were until they woke up to a bunch of Cranks -zombie-like people who have been infected with the Flare- and find their rescuers dead. Not only are the Gladers not safe, they are still in WICKED’s clutches.
When the Gladers realize they are not safe, many things happen at once:
1. They discover Theresa has gone missing and Thomas can’t communicate with her telepathically
2. Theresa seems to have been replaced with a kid named Aris who can also use telepathic communication
3. The Gladers find out that there is another group that has gone through exactly what they went through, except it was a group of girls
4. The group has no access to food for three days

Finally, the Gladers are fed and some mysteries are revealed, at least partially, by a man in a white suit. The surviving Gladers have all been infected with the Flare, a disease that makes people slowly go insane. In order to get a cure, they must participate in the Scorch trials. This involves traveling 100 miles by foot in blazing heat and through a dangerous city to arrive at their destination. They are on a time limit, and not all of them will make it. The reason is because WICKED is still testing them. Both groups are part of an experiment, the purpose of which is still unknown. Thomas and the Gladers do know they they need the Flare cure, or they will die.

The Scorch Trials bring Thomas and the gladers through extreme elements and also introduces them into new allies. Thomas is tested physically as he battles along with the Gladers for survival, and emotionally as his relationship with Theresa develops and when he meets Brenda in Crank House.

The Scorch Trials was just as action packed as The Maze Runner. The characters that readers became attached to such as Newt, Minho, and Frypan are all present and fighting on, and the Gladers are still hell bent on survival. The questions surrounding WICKED, the Flare and what is going on in the world beyond Thomas is still a mystery that needs to be cracked. Even with all of this intrigue and action going on, it took me a long time to get into The Scorch Trials. I did not enjoy it as much as The Maze Runner.

The Maze Runner was not happy. The Gladers were presumably kidnapped, had their memories wiped and were stuck in a new place to fend for themselves. But there were still happy moments. The Gladers had come up with a sort of working society and were taking care of themselves. There was danger, but it was only from the grievers and for a limited time and a specific place. In The Scorch Trials, the danger and depression was constant. The book started and ended with death. There was death and pain in between, along with a heaping pile of sadness and confusion. The surviving Gladers and Group B are told they are safe at the end of the book, but then again thats what they were told at the end of book 1. I know it’s a dystopian book, but just a little bit of relief at some point would have been nice. Thomas does try to crack a joke every once in awhile, but is quick to admit that it was not really funny.
Of course I will read the last book to reveal the mysteries (if they are revealed). But I’m not as eager to read the last book as I was to read the second.

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