Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: The Scorch Trials - James Dashner

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner #2
Genre: YA, post-apocalyptic
Published on October 12, 2010
Published by Delacorte Press
Pages: 360
Read From: 11.30.12 - 12.3.12

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 done 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 their 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?


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? No. Like The Maze Runner, this one just doesn’t do anything for me. It’s not especially eye-catching, it doesn’t indicate much about the story, and it’s nondescript. It would not attract my notice if I wasn’t already reading the series.

Characters: Thomas is still a surprisingly likable protagonist, and as the story progressed, I grew to like him more and more, and I felt tremendously sorry for him. Seriously - how much more trauma can this poor guy take? Teresa doesn’t get an opportunity to become annoying, since she leaves the story pretty much as soon as it begins. I’m not complaining; I would rather her be absent than be present and get on my nerves. My opinion of Minho is still divided - I found him neither irritating nor especially likable. The main new character, Brenda, got from me an equally undecided opinion. Sometimes she was annoying, other times she was all right, and on occasion she was just plain weird. I marked it down to the fact that she was going insane and left it at that.

The Romance: Thomas and Teresa’s attraction develops a bit more in this installment, but remarkably didn’t annoy me. If Teresa had been around more, I think it would have, but as it was, I found the few “romance” scenes to be kind of sweet. I was worried that Brenda would create a love triangle, and she still might, but it didn’t really get focused on all that much in The Scorch Trials, so my fears were belied.

Plot: I really don’t know what to say about the plot. It was weird. Whether it was a good weird or a bad weird, I really can’t say. It was just plain weird. I didn’t dislike it, which I suppose thrusts it into the “good weird” category. The plot wasn’t a mystery like The Maze Runner; it was more of a journey story: the Gladers knew who the baddies were and they had a specific destination to travel to, encountering tests and bizarre things along the way. With the Cranks, the story often felt a little bit like a zombie book, but not so much that I got irritated. I preferred The Maze Runner’s storyline, but this one was also so different from it that it’s hard to compare the two. There were some unexpected turn of events, and a lot of weirdness (I spent a good portion of the book shouting, What?!), therefore I definitely didn’t get bored.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: It actually is a smidgen worse from The Maze Runner. It just didn’t flow quite as well, and the Author seemed to have Thomas fall asleep or pass out a lot because he couldn’t come up with a better transition between scenes.

Content: The violence in this volume at times approaches very close to being graphic. while nothing like Michael Cadnum’s books, it could be disturbing for some Readers.

Conclusion: The end is what had me exclaiming in disbelief. It was a good end, but it was probably the most bizarre part of the whole story. It is also the best part. Once more, everything seems to be solved and the Gladers are finally safe. But then one more twist is revealed, and it left me laughing in delight. I am again very glad I had the sequel already on hold at the library. As a whole, I liked The Scorch Trials. It kept me engaged, and I didn’t find it to be a disappointing sequel at all. But it was weird.

Recommended Audience: Guy-read, older teens due to the violence and dark undertones, fans of post-apocalyptic stories.

Others in This Series:
1)The Maze Runner
2)The Scorch Trials
3)The Death Cure
4)The Kill Order

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