Monday, 12 October 2015

The Scorch Trials - James Dashner ( The Maze Runner #2)

Publisher: Chicken House
Published: 2013 ( first published January 2011)


Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety... until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim... and meal.

The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?


I read The Scorch Trials a full year after The Maze Runner in anticipation of the new film, and I couldn’t really remember where we left off, but I did remember being mildly impressed by the madcap plot Dashner had written. It turns out that I actually preferred The Scorch Trials to The Maze Runner, for various reasons that I’ll go into in a bit.

The Scorch Trials begins as we rejoin Thomas and the other gladers in some sort of holding facility after being rescued from the maze, and to be honest, it just gets weirder from then on in. The plot is actually mental, like, it’s completely ridiculous and I was surprised by how little that bothered me. If you thought the circumstance of the Hunger Games were farfetched , then this will probably be a little much for you. The whole plot is wrapped up in dubious science and horrendously unlikely circumstance, so if you can’t suspend your disbelief, you probably won’t enjoy this book. I’m not going to go into the plot because I feel it’s the most important part of the book and I don’t want to spoil it for you. The storyline is absolutely gripping, and I didn’t want to put it down at all. Unlike in the first book, Dashner manages to keep up a good pace and no part of this book drags.

However, one of the annoying aspects of the book were the extremely short chapters that were generally bookended by Thomas passing out and waking up again. Thomas does an awful lot of passing out/falling asleep, and it becomes a little tedious.

In this book we learn a lot more about the world Thomas and the Gladers inhabit, WICKED and the flare, but I still felt we were left with more questions than answers. I really am looking forward to having all my questions answered in the final book.

I would recommend this book to readers between 12 and seventeen, because I think I would have enjoyed them the most between those ages. Unlike so many trilogies, I feel like Dashner actually has a story that is worth taking three books to tell, so The Scorch Trials manages to avoid the dreaded book two dip in quality and substance.

Four Stars ****

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