The Scorch Trials by James Dashner | Rating: ★★★★★
“He didn’t care about the others anymore. The chaos around him seemed to siphon away his humanity, turn him into an animal. All he wanted was to survive, make it to that building, get inside. Live. Gain another day.”
I’m going to start by saying that I love, love, love The Maze Runner. But The Scorch Trials blew me away — I think I enjoyed the novel much more than the first one. With that being said, this trilogy is on fire and has the potential to be huge. It also has the potential to break your heart in a few more ways and when it introduces the world of Cranks and this new set of tests comes to challenge our Gladers, you’ll be hooked.
With the loss of many characters in the first novel as well as deaths in the pages of our sequel, we are introduced to some new characters as well which includes a group that parallels the experiences of the characters we’ve come to know. Only, the genders were flipped in this second group — aside from that, nearly everything that happened to these boys and Teresa happened to these girls and the token member of the opposite sex, Aris.
We are also introduced to two key players, among the Cranks — humans who have been infected with The Flare — Brenda and Jorge. Who both prove to be useful and entertaining. Jorge is quite witty and tough, Brenda is intelligent, tough and forms a friendship with Thomas.
But can we trust these two? You’ll find out soon enough.
I thought that this book was much more fast paced than The Maze Runner and I found myself unable to put it down. There was a level of betrayal, mystery and action that I didn’t think could be topped from the previous book. It had many moments where I wanted to shake some sense into Thomas, though — which was probably my only issue with it.
Our main premise of this book is the major mind fuck that comes within the beginning chapters of the book — Teresa goes missing, in her place is her male counterpart: Aris. When The Gladers thought they’d been rescued for good, they soon find out that they haven’t and things have only just begun. That this was a trick, a plan and just the start off another trial of tests.
And to top that, they’ve all been given tattoos that explain who they are in the groups.
To brief it: Minho, my personal favorite, is of course listed as the leader. For now, at least. Newt, the glue and Thomas is to be killed by Group B. If that doesn’t intrigue you enough to continue the story, I don’t know what will.
They are sent on a mission that is to be timed and have to explore the world outside. Including many run ins with Cranks (let’s just say, a certain rhyming crank will creep you out about noses, of all things) and more information on the way their world is falling apart due to the disease. Did I mention that they are promised, if they survive — which is proving to be incredibly difficult — a cure for The Flare. Which. They. All. Have.
Fortunately and unfortunately for Thomas, he begins to dream of some of his past memories which lead him feeling skeptical of WICKED, his past self and everyone around him. He also feels great guilt over having worked for such a terrible group of people. Although he can border irritating throughout this novel, he does get a bit better by the end of the novel as he grasps on his will to survive.
I mean, honestly, how strong are these characters?
They’re only kids but they’re already so strong.
I won’t tell you who we lose in this novel or what happens by the final chapters, except that Thomas is once again separated from everybody, but I will tell you the final words of The Scorch Trials and who they come from. Teresa. WICKED is good. Which leaves us with a huge platform for the final book as well as the big mystery: can we trust Teresa? Is she really back to being such a huge supported of WICKED?
We already know of her betrayal and connections with WICKED and Thomas. But we also know she believes she was doing the right thing, to save Thomas. So, what is true and what isn’t? Here’s to hoping we find out more by the series end…