Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Scorch Trials [Review]

Title: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Series: Maze Runner, #2
Genre: Science-Fiction
What They Say: 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?

What I Say:
So I was all good and ready to set down The Maze Runner and take a break from reading for a while. And I did. For a few minutes. Then I got all twitchy, had a crazy dream about a labyrinth, and finally decided I needed to get my hands on a copy of The Scorch Trials ASAP. Boy, am I glad I did. This second book in the Maze Runner series is even better than the first. It's got the heat, snark, and - of course - lots of running. That said...

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Plot: wow
So our Gladers have been saved, right? Yeah, no. Thomas and co. realize pretty quick that the trials aren't over. Their next task is to cross the Scorch in two weeks. The Scorch is the part of the world directly hit by the sun flares long ago, the are between the two tropics where places like Mexico and India used to be. It's hot, there's no drinkable water, and it's full of mindless crazies withered by a mysterious disease...So it's pretty much just like Mexico and India now. Ha, JK. The Gladers are having difficulty battling the elements, but there other, more sinister dealings afoot in the Scorch. They are being watched.

Before I start, let me just get something out of the way. WICKED is good? Bullshit. More like, TERESA is stupid. Ughh. Anyway, Thomas gets jerked around an awful lot in this book. Poor kid can't catch a break. Though, I guess, this book wouldn't have been as crazy and scary and holyshitwhatwasthat? if Thomas was sailing down Easy Street the whole time. His personal anguish = good reading. I cannot wait for the third book, if only to finally understand what WICKED and past!Thomas think they're doing. Because they're really effing up some lives here. Thomas will never be able to listen to dance-rock again without cringing! You monsters!

Characters: wow
Oh Thomas. He definitely underwent some snark training between books one and two, but he cranks it up in this one. Not that I'm complaining. Or maybe his life has just suckened to the point that only black humor can alleviate the ever-present feeling of doom and despair threatening to drag him into an abyss of crushing lifelong depression. And stuff.

And here is where I take a step back from my blind approval of this series and point out a little fault. Somehow Dashner was able to write a really strong, dynamic main character, and then an ensemble cast of supporting characters that never get a chance to develop. It's probably because the series is told from Thomas's point of view, and he's way too busy staying alive to be analyzing his buddies. Ah well.

Relationships: ooh
Thomas and Teresa - Well, we see a little bit of these two in this one. Not an official couple, still, but there's definitely some Like going on. Mostly, though, I feel like Thomas likes the idea of Teresa (or maybe his memory of her) more than he actually likes her. She's his link to their past, so she's his comfort object. She's pretty much his blankie. And what happens when your blankie gets a stain and Mommy accidentally ruins it in the wash...?

Special Features: ooh
This book featured the Cranks, people infected with the Flare quarantined in the Scorch. Some of them are a little quirky, some are crazy, and some are raving lunatic cannibals who listen to club jams and roofie young lovers. What I want to know is where the Flare came from, and how the trials could lead to a cure, and all those nice things we'll learn in the last book next year. Oh, and it features telepathy. Lots of in-head conversations that kind of mix things up.

Parting Quotes:
   “Taste good?” [Brenda] asked as she dug into her own food.
   “Please. I’d push my own mom down the stairs to eat this stuff. If I still have a mom.” [Thomas] couldn’t help thinking of his dream and the brief glimpse he’d seen of her, but did his best to forget it—it was too depressing. ...
   "I’d kill your mother for something fresh out of a garden. A nice salad.”
   “Guess my mom doesn’t have much of a chance if she’s ever standing between us and a grocery store.”
   “Guess not.”
Careful, Thomas; I can see your abandonment issues peeking out from behind your rapier wit.


  1. I've been planning to read these for a while. I don't think I've heard anything bad! Thanks for sharing the great review! (found you through the Hop)