Title: The Scorch Trials
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian/Science Fiction
Publisher: Chicken House
Started: 16th March 2016
Completed: 19th March 2016
Summary: Thomas was sure that escape from the maze meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one knew what sort of life they were going back to. The earth is a wasteland. Government and order have disintegrated and now Cranks, people driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim…and meal.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 pulse-pounding sequel to The Maze Runner.
The Scorch Trials is the second book in James Dashner’s dystopian young adult trilogy. It is preceded by The Maze Runner and succeeded by The Death Cure. You can read my full review of The Maze Runner here. There are also two prequels for the series, The Kill Zone and The Fever Code, but the latter has not been published yet. The Fever Code is due to be published in September 2016.
Both The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials have been made into films and The Death Cure is currently being filmed. I haven’t actually seen either of the films so I can’t comment on them but they are on my ‘To Watch’ list.
I loved this book. I just cannot fault it. Everything was just perfect for me. I’ll start by talking about the plot as it was completely gripping and so different to The Maze Runner.
The book starts directly after the end of The Maze Runner with Thomas and his friends sleeping in the dormitory they were brought to by a group of rescuers. The facility is attacked by zombie-like creatures who call themselves Cranks. Thomas and the others escape into the facility’s common area and discover that their rescuers are dead. They attempt to find Teresa, the only girl in their group, who was separated from them after they were rescued but instead they find a young boy called Aris. Aris is from another group, “Group B”, who were put through the same Maze experiment as the boys. However, this group is an all-female group with Aris being the only male. The boys all discover that they have tattoos on their necks that explain their roles in the next experiment and Thomas’ says “To Be Killed by Group B”.
The Gladers re-enter the common area and find the bodies of their rescuers have disappeared. They later encounter a scientist, Rat Man, who explains the Flare and the Scorch and the experiments. He also reveals that all of the Gladers (and Group B) are infected with the Flare, the disease that is affecting the Cranks, and must travel into the Scorch in search of a Haven where they will be cured of the disease.
This is not a ‘filler’ book between the first and final books. The Scorch Trials is a wonderfully thought out book with an amazing plot.
The Scorch Trials also introduces two new characters, Jorge and Brenda, who help Thomas and the rest of the Gladers. Brenda is almost another love interest for Thomas but he rejects her due to his feelings for Teresa.
Teresa almost becomes the villain in this book as she abandons Thomas and even sends him to his death to save herself. I really didn’t like Teresa in this book and that’s obviously the author’s intention because she’s absolutely awful. However, I didn’t like Brenda much either so that makes 2 out of 2 female characters that I’m not fond of. I wish they were more likable in a way but I also appreciate the role they play in the narrative. They’re both well-rounded female characters and they’re not carbon copies of each other.
I did like Jorge though because I think he’s such a funny character. His wit is rather dry and I enjoyed that. He’s also an older character that you can trust. He’s a father figure to Brenda and I really enjoyed the relationship between them as it’s so different to the other relationships in the series.
I wish that we’d see more of the female Gladers but they’re pretty badass and much more prepared than the male Gladers. They’re proficient with weapons and strategy and we’re even told that they managed to figure out the Maze quicker than the boys.
The Cranks are a very interesting concept. The disease is a slow descent into madness and pain as people are gradually consumed by the Flare. I’m not usually a fan of zombie-like creatures but I actually liked this representation of the idea.
Finally, I love Dashner’s writing. It’s incredibly easy to read and understand. It’s thoroughly entertaining and you get absorbed into the story. I just loved it.
This story continues on from The Maze Runner seamlessly and I find that this doesn’t often happen in sequels. This is what makes this sequel so great because it isn’t a step down from the writing of the first book. In fact, I actually think that this book is better than The Maze Runner in some ways.
I would like to balance this review with an aspect of the book that I disliked but I can’t. I don’t think I’d change anything about this book at all.
I really loved reading it and it’s worth reading the series for this book alone. I’d recommend this book to YA readers, or anyone really, without hesitation.