The Scorch Trials [Book Review]

“No. I kind of accepted it, in a way. That saving you was worth losing what we might’ve had.” Ch. 56

The Scorch TrialsTitle: The Scorch Trials
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
ISBN: 0385738757
Pages: 368
Year: 2010
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: 4/5

Summary:

[Spoilers for prior book only]. Thomas and the other Gladers have been rescued. They believe their biggest troubles are in the past. They are wrong. The Maze was only the first phase of a larger test W.I.C.K.E.D. is putting them through. And they are about to begin phase two. Dropped in the middle of the dessert, Thomas and his companions must survive an even greater challenge than the maze.

My Thoughts:

My feeling toward The Scorch Trials roughly mirror my feeling toward The Maze Runner. I was frustrated for much of the novel. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it but because we don’t know anything more than Thomas. And Thomas doesn’t know very much. Despite anxiously awaiting the book, I didn’t get to it right away and I started and stopped a lot in the beginning. But once I got about halfway, I was hooked. The Scorch Trials is fast-paced, full of impossible tasks and characters you can’t help but cheer for.

During a difficult, life-altering moment for Thomas, Dashner’s writing shines through:

“Life took its time as it drained from the man, as the light in his maddened eyes faded, as the grunts and the physical strain to hold on slowly quieted and stilled.” Ch. 34

And a few pages later:

“And then, impossibly, they slept.” Ch. 34

And finally, despite the dark, desperate feeling throughout The Scorch Trials, there are a few shining moments of humor:

“‘What the hell’s a beetle blade?’ Jorge asked.
Thomas answered. ‘Little mechanical lizard things that spied on us with cameras in the Maze.’
Jorge rolled his eyes. ‘Of course. Sorry I asked.'”
Ch. 42

In the end, I enjoyed The Scorch Trials. And I will eagerly read the final book in the trilogy, The Death Cure, in October.

Other Reviews: Bookshelves of Doom; Reeder Reads; Chick Loves LitS. Krishna’s Books

The Maze Runner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Genre: YA/Dystopian
ISBN: 0385737947
Pages: 384
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4/5*

I’m not sure where I first heard about The Maze Runner, but to whomever it was that first mentioned it, thank you.  After finishing Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I was craving another YA Dystopian novel.  While I may not have loved The Maze Runner as much as the Hunger Games (sorry, Mr. Dashner), it was a perfect book to satisfy that craving.

Publisher’s Description:

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade–a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up–the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

The Maze Runner took me a little time to get into, but once it got going, I had a hard time putting it down. I actually finished the book on the ride from Cape Cod to Waltham despite the rapidly fading light and short time I had to spend with my dad.  The novel is full of action (action-packed?) and mystery.  Maybe a little too much mystery – sometimes I felt just as frustrated as Thomas at not knowing the answers, but then again, maybe I was supposed to feel like Thomas and maybe that was the point…  Anyway, we spend much of the Maze Runner just trying to figure it all out.  And just like the Hunger Games/Catching Fire, the Maze Runner is not afraid of killing off kids.  That impresses me (I secretly wanted Ron or Hermione to die).  I don’t like my YA books to be sugar-coated.

I really enjoyed The Maze Runner and recommend it. I’m very excited to see what happens in Book 2.  There was a nice little twist** at the end as expected (is it a twist if it’s expected). I don’t want to say much else about the book because it’s best discovered while reading.

One last random question: did the mechanical sounds of the Grievers remind anyone else of the smoke monster in Lost?

* I’m trying a new summary/rating format. Let me know what you think.

**Ben and I just recently watched a lot of 30 Rock and now we periodically exclaim “Twist!” when applicable.