The Scorch Trials
By James Dashner
My Rating: 3 / 5
This is the sequel to The Maze Runner, which I read last year and really enjoyed. Here is the Kobo summary:
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 had a great time reading The Maze Runner, and was really looking forward to reading its sequel. While I enjoyed it, it did raise more questions than it answered!
While we now know that the organization WICKED is responsible for the Maze and for the boys having their memories wiped, their motives are not entirely clear. We learn that the world has been devastated by solar flares, and a virus known as the Flare is infecting people, slowly turning them into zombies (known as Cranks), and that WICKED is trying to find a cure, but I am not really clear at this point why this attempt at finding a cure means that the boys have to be subjected to the Maze, Grievers, etc.
However – it is still a very entertaining, action-packed book, and it started off with some really great, creepy opening chapters in the building that the boys were sent to by WICKED after they escaped the Maze. Their next trial, the Scorch Trials, is supposed to be a journey from point A to point B, making their way through a desert terrain. Sounds simple enough, but the hazards that they encounter are pretty terrifying. They encounter a group of girls known as Group B and learn that they were in a Maze as well. However, they seem to view each other as rivals, and there are a lot of moments in this book where Thomas (and the reader) can’t always be sure who to trust.
We get glimpses of Thomas’s past, before the Maze, which just makes me more eager to read the final book in the series, The Death Cure. Many of the characters that I liked from The Maze Runner return in this book, and Thomas’s friendships with them are strengthened through their experiences in the Scorch Trials. I liked seeing the bonds between Thomas and his friends grow stronger, given their suspicion and mistrust of each other through much of The Maze Runner. Thomas has begun to take on more of a leadership role.
I recommend this book, and series, because I like the action, and I like the glimpses we’ve started to get of the wider world, beyond the Maze, and the problems that Thomas and his friends continue to face. I just hope I get some answers in the next installment!