Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Review: The Scorch Trials

By James Dashner

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?

Why I read it: I had read the prequel, The Maze Runner, (I will review The Maze Runner eventually, but I just want to re-read it first) and LOVED it, so I just had to read this. I was a little worried that this would fall prey to ‘sequel sickness’, but if anything it improved upon the first book.

What I liked: Just like the first book, the plot was fast paced. It was hard to find a slowish place where I could take a break! The basic plot idea was fairly simple, but there were so many twists and turns that it was completely impossible to guess what was going to happen next. Secrets are revealed little by little, and the mystery only deepened.
The characters were all developed further, especially Thomas (I love how the story is written in third person, but Thomas is still such a fleshed-out character) and the new characters were equally fascinating. The relationships between characters also deepened, and a bit of a love triangle developed. I like how Dashner introduces a bit of romance to further the plot, but it doesn’t come close to taking over.
Dashner’s writing is also very good. His descriptions are spot-on. Never does he give us a huge chunk of description or backstory, but always just enough so that we can really see what’s going on.

What I disliked: This story is one that lends itself to being extremely violent. Thirty dead people hanging in a room, insane ‘cranks’ with no noses, molten metal that severs heads, creatures covered in bulbous growths and razor-sharp blades… Everything bad that could happen to the Gladers does happen, and Dashner describes everything. For this reason, I wouldn’t give the book to anyone under 14.
A warning to all  my writer friends, a lot of the sentences do tend to start with ‘and’ or ‘but’. I do this myself sometimes, but it started to annoy me in this book.

From a Christian Perspective: During my first reading I didn’t notice any religious themes in this story at all. It’s certainly not a Christian book, but it doesn’t seem to be anti-Christian either. What I liked was that it was quite clean, with no sexual content (the farthest they go is brief kisses) and no normal swearing. The Gladers do have their own slang, which includes swears (one of which gets dangerously close to the F-word) but there is no religious profanity.

To Buy or Not to Buy: I plan to buy this book. The violence was a bit of an issue, but I find that it’s so hard to find clean action/adventure books with riveting plots that I’d get it anyways. If you’re the kind of person that likes distopia/futuristic stories, then you will enjoy The Scorch Trials.

Where to buy: I got this book from the library. Since it’s new and fairly popular, most libraries will have it.
Your local bookstore:  $17.99 (US) or $20.99 (CAN)
Amazon.com: $12.08 or Amazon.ca: $15.15


  1. I love love love love love love this book!!