Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scorch Trials - James Dashner


Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Indiebound 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?

The Scorch Trials pick up moments after the end of The Maze Runner, where it is revealed that the Maze was an experiment by the group WICKED. In the real world, solar flares have destroyed most of the world and a disease called The Flare turns people into zombie-like creatures. When Teresa goes missing and the group of Gladers are told they have contracted the disease, they must journey across a hot blistering desert to receive the cure.

Once the story starts, it's pretty much non-stop, continuous action. I hoped for some answers about WICKED and the project Thomas was part of, but The Scorch Trials just created most questions that hopefully will be resolved in the final book.

I wasn't feeling this book as much as the first one. I felt like there was too much action, that the book never pauses to let the reader take a breathe. This also lead to more questions being asked, than anything being answered. It is a great move to ensure readers pick up the last book, because nothing gets fully answered in this story. But I felt very disconnected to the characters and the plot because the big WHY puzzle never gets remotely addressed. Because the motivation for the Maze project and now forcing the boys on a dangerous trek because they supposedly have caught the virus wasn't fully there, the plot felt very forced and contrived.

It felt like The Maze Runner all over again with no answers, except set in the real world. While the plot moves, the characters' understanding of the situation never grows.

I will probably pick up the last book to this trilogy, if only to get the answers for this whole mystery. Dashner pulls a risky move and I feel like the end could end up being a completely great series or a really sucky one.

Book Source: ARC borrowed from library group

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