Monday, March 4, 2013

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 360 pgs
Rating: 5/5

The maze was only the beginning...
     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.
     Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is now 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 done running.  Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with 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 to freedom somewhere in his mind?  Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

If you don't know The Scorch Trials is the second book in the Maze Runner series so if you haven't read the first book, I may spoil a little.  If you want to read my review of the first book, The Maze Runner, click here.

I really liked this book.  Just like the first, it is a nonstop adventure, but I found this installment much less predictable which was a nice surprise.  It actually scared the crap out of me a couple times.  I found it to be much more realistic which just helped the terror factor.  The Maze Runner is set in the maze, a world completely controlled by WICKED, but The Scorch Trials are set in the actual apocalyptic world in a ruined city.  This takes away any separation between the reader and the characters that I felt in the first novel.  Plus, in the Maze most of the characters were unknown to the reader allowing them to care less about the deaths, but now that the pack has been whittled down to about 20 and it's harder to be separate from their misfortune.  

The Flare infected Cranks are terrifying.  I thought the grievers were scary, but now there is a human element.  I don't know why, but human monsters that have lost their humanity are always the scariest monster.  What was interesting is while the Cranks returned to their bestial state, they still retained their intelligence to a certain extent.  They could talk and plan an attack, they definitely weren't zombies.  That being said, the nose man scared the CRAP out of me.  After I read that I had such a problem turning off the lights and trying to sleep. Even last night, approximately a month after reading that part, I was so scared thinking about it I couldn't turn off the lights!  

If you can’t tell, this installment was a lot harsher, scarier and therefore more interesting to me than the first.  Thomas now knows what's going on and is thinking about why and what he should be doing about it, questions that lead to a much better story in my opinion.  Also, I loved the additions of Brenda and Jorge, Aris, and Group B.  Both groups brought new elements to the story.  Now there are conflicting emotions and goals among all the characters and the reader is forced to look outside Thomas views and the Glader’s goals.

The one thing I didn't really like about the book was the romance.  Now, I can love romance, but I don't think it has a place in a story when there are much larger problems present and that's how I felt reading The Scorch Trials at certain points.  For example (semi-spoiler), when Teresa disappears in the beginning, that is all Thomas can think about not the multitude of bodies hanging from the ceiling!!! Thomas, I'm much more interested in your memories about WICKED than your maybe relationship.  However, this is just my personal opinion and dislikes, if you don't mind a little side tracking, there's a good story there, I just thought it was a little annoying how occupied his thoughts were of her not the boys around him.

All in all, it was a good read.  I finished it in a few days, though there was a month of rest between those days. I'm still deeply interested in WICKED's motives and future plans so the next book is now sitting on my bed waiting for me. The Death Cure, here I come!

No comments:

Post a Comment