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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Death Cure (Maze Runner, Book Three)
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161 of 167 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
The more I read dystopian/speculative fiction, the more I realize just how difficult a genre it is. Everything has to be placed so perfectly, all plot twists in a nice, neat line. There has to be a great deal of logic to the world that is created and, when the final chapter is closed, all must be revealed or the author runs the risk of leaving the reader confused. Unfortunately, as I finished the last word of this book, my first thought was, "Huh?" Spoilers will follow, so don't read any further if you don't want to know any of the details.

When I read The Maze Runner, I thought it was a really innovative, creepy idea. It was interesting to speculate about who had thrown the boys and Teresa in the maze and why they were there. The small details that were doled out really helped this atmosphere. When I read The Scorch Trials, though, I felt like things started to fall apart a bit. There was still so little known, so little that made sense. And now, with The Death Cure, I can't help but feel unsatisfied with the story overall. There is still so much of it that I don't understand. As I read the book, I realized that a few things should have been happening: for one, more information should have been doled out over the course of the series. I didn't want Dashner to give everything away in the first book, but there should have been more flashes of memory on Thomas's part, particularly after he went through the Changing. This would have helped solidify details about the world, which would have gone a very long way toward making the events of The Death Cure make sense.

The biggest problem I had with The Death Cure was that it felt to me like Thomas was just flailing along the entire novel, with one instance of sheer dumb luck after another. The world was like a blur, and it was hard to figure out exactly what was going on. I had the sense that Dashner was rolling out setting after setting to show the reader, "See, this is what the world is like!" This would have been fine, had there been an actual purpose to each setting, but it felt more to me like I was being taken on a tour of the world, rather than watching the plot unfold. I strongly feel that there should have been a plan, that Thomas's actions should have had a more deliberate course of action. I just can't buy that he somehow manages to bumble around and, ultimately, is successful. I guess you could say that WICKED orchestrated this, but that just doesn't feel right to me. There were too many variables (yes, I know how much WICKED loves those) for there to be any reasonable expectation that things would play out the way they did.

The other major flaw, to me, lay in the fact that Thomas decided not to get his memory back. While I understood his reasoning, and could buy it, I think it did the novel a real disservice. Had Thomas regained his memory, and had the reader been given a window through which to view the gradual decline and collapse of the world, WICKED's motivations would have made more sense. As it is, I really feel that their motivations made little sense at all. Yes, they said they were trying to find a cure for the Flare. But that doesn't answer the question of why they had to set up such elaborate, physical experiments as part of their research. While one of the characters does explicitly state that WICKED was out of control, using up what few resources remained in their mad pursuit for a cure rather than trying to preserve what was left of the population, I felt that there was still just no good explanation for what they had done. Why couldn't they have simply hooked Thomas and his friends up to machine, induced hallucinations, and measured their brain activity that way? Why did they have to drop them into a maze to get the information they wanted?

Thomas's choice not to regain his memory also had a very adverse affect on Teresa as a character. She just does too many 180 degree turns to really be believable. I liked her so much in the first book, considerably less in the second, and was completely disappointed in her in the third. She becomes nothing more than a plot device, really. Her moment of redemption in sacrificing herself to save Thomas just fell flat because, by that point, she was such an enigma. Had Thomas regained his memories and had the reader been given more insight into what drove Teresa to become what she did, she'd have been more of a well-rounded character.

Lastly, I just couldn't get behind the idea of Jorge and Brenda, and the fact that they had been inserted from day one solely to achieve the ends desired by the Chancellor. Thomas trusts them much too quickly, and his friends acquiesce much too easily, even though they never cease to be suspicious of Brenda in particular.

The ultimate revelation also just didn't make sense to me. Exactly why was the Flare released? The Chancellor says that it was meant as a means of controlling the population, but there's no explanation of why the population needed to be controlled after the solar flares. If an author is going to drop a bomb like this, the reader should have a sense that everything is coming together, a sense that I felt was entirely lacking.

I'm really disappointed by the ending of this series, which is a shame because it was off to such an intriguing start.
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230 of 242 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
*Warning -- potential spoilers below. You have been warned.*

I struggled with this book.

On the one hand, it's a good read. Fast, page-turner. I couldn't set it down, and arrived at work today tired for lack of sleep. Curse you, James Dashner!

In each installment of this series, we get to see more of the world around Thomas and his companions. From the insular maze in the opening pages of "Maze Runner" to now, our view of the world has slowly pulled back. We can see more.

Really, this is interesting stuff. So THIS is how the rest of world is dealing with the zombie apocalypse! (And let's not kid ourselves, that's basically what this is about). There are answers, finally. But not enough. I don't mind stories that are full of questions. I don't mind characters and groups with plots so thick, with so many twists and turns you'd need an entire fourth book just to explain it. But it got tiresome. Not a single character can make any kind of decision whatsoever without another character asking "But what if that's what WICKED *wants* us to do!"

And finally, when we get to the truth...



...except we never really do.

Thomas never does get his memories back. Hints are dropped that he was a mastermind of the whole thing, but we'll never know. What a wonderful struggle that would have been, as old-Thomas and new-Thomas tried to reconcile what one had planned and the other had experienced. Now THAT would have been interesting. Alas, it was not to be.

Other characters do choose to recover their memories, but that's essentially the last time the reader sees any of them. Sure, they show up at the end, but they show up just to show up, or to get killed off. Not to tell anyone what happened. Not to offer insight into the "whys" and "hows" of WICKED. Just to show up. For all the fuss that was made about them getting their memories back (if they actually did get them back, that is, and not just some fabricated recollections of WICKED), when we do see them again, I'm not sure it really makes any difference. They certainly don't seem to contribute to the final solution, really.

And speaking of the final solution... the final Death Cure... the ultimate responce to the Flare...

I don't want to call it a deus ex machina, but I'll gladly give a shiny new dime to the person who can tell me exactly where it is that Thomas and the others ultimately end up.

I realize I've been critical. Perhaps unfairly so. As a whole, the Maze Runner trilogy is a solid tale. I do not regret purchasing the books, and they shall -- for a time at least -- take up space on my bookself.

My biggest issue is that Dashner has created a story that evokes a great deal of mystery. The first two books weave a story that is intriguing not only in its own right, but also because of what is left in the dark.

My criticism is this: the final book of such a story must bring that hidden portion to light. Not necessarily all of it, but enough so that we, the readers, can have that moment when we look up from the page and go "Oooooohhhhhh! Now I get it!"

Maybe I missed it. But for me, that moment never came.
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I cannot believe how utterly bad and horrible this book was! The first book, The Maze Runner, was one of the best sci-fi books I've read in a while. It had everything I loved about the beginning of Lost - a great mystery and a creepy environment to explore. The pacing was good and the characters, while not completely fleshed out, were believable.

Then I read the second book. A lot more information came out and some of the mystery was gone. At this point, I was just trying to figure out whether they were in a virtual reality system or the real world. I got what WICKED was about. It was pretty obvious.


Where the cracks started showing in the second book was the rotten decision by Dashner to replace Teresa with Brenda. As a female reader (who identified with Teresa in the first book), it felt like Teresa was just being discarded for a new cutie. And the whole thing about Thomas hating her because she was forced to imprison him by WICKED was just silly and not realistic.

So, in the third book, after totally hating on Teresa for her "betrayal," Thomas has NO PROBLEM with learning that Brenda had been an employee of WICKED all along. Are you kidding me?! He puts his life in her hands, no questions asked, no anger at her lying, and realizes he actually likes her (not Teresa) and barely bats an eyelash when Teresa is crushed under a rock after saving him.

I had to wonder what sort of bizarre ex-girlfriend issues Dashner had after reading that. Just awful. Bloody awful.

And that's just the most egregious example of poor characterization in this book. The rest of the book is just a stupid zombie apocalypse rip-off with Thomas and co running around like chickens with their heads cut off, reacting rather than acting, magically being connected with a resistance group, and not stopping to question if the resistance group could really be trusted even though the group violently kidnapped them.

Then the leader of the resistance group trusts Thomas with the most important part of the mission - planting the weapon disabling device. Seriously?

So the resistance group goes ahead and blows up WICKED, not caring that they are going to kill all the Immunes there, and Thomas is miraculously saved in a deux ex machine where the Chancellor writes him a letter and sends him to a "safe place" through a magical portal.

I read through this entire book of schlock hoping beyond hope that the ending would justify the stupidity - that Thomas had been in some sort of coma and manipulated by WICKED the entire time...but nope. WICKED just let him run around apparently to weed out more healthy people so they could send the best and the "smartest" through the portal.

If this is how Dashner thinks "smart" people would act, I can't imagine how he'd write stupid people.

The only theory I can come up with to justify all the brutality and stupidity in this book is that I'm explaining it to myself that everyone at WICKED (including the Chancellor) has the Flare and is seriously psycho.

Otherwise it makes no sense.

I honestly wish I had not read this book. I loved the first book, thought the second was decent, but am now so turned off by book three that I don't feel like I want to read the prequel. And Thomas? I can't stand the character now. I almost wish he'd been the one crushed by a rock at the end. Argh.

PS I am not one of those folks who hated the ending of Lost. While it was disappointing on an informational level, the ending of Lost - to me at least - was emotionally powerful and beautiful. Not the ending of The Maze Runner series. This was just written so it would look good on a big screen and the Maze could be destroyed with a lot of CGI special effects.
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88 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
*Contains spoilers*

I'll be the first to admit that books with this level of violence and horror do not generally appeal to me, but I took a chance with Maze Runner and found it a gripping and a wholly unique tale. The story was well written, creative, compelling, and I could find absolutely nothing within its pages that felt like a Harry Potter rip-off, so I considered it a win.

I enjoyed Scorch Trials, but enjoyed it less -- it seemed a bit weaker and filled with endless horrific tribulations that became rather tedious to read through. Still, I looked forward to the Death Cure and hoped it would explain the many mysteries left dangling.

The Death Cure was fascinating in its own right, but in a less substantial way than Maze Runner. Where Maze Runner had lots of colorful characters working and living together, Death Cure reminded me of a Transformers movie with car crash after car crash and then even more car crashes. When I saw the actual Transformers movie, I fell asleep in the theater, lulled by the incessant sound of metal grating metal. I certainly didn't fall asleep while reading this book, and don't mean to insult the author by comparing his book to a truly terrible movie, but found myself skimming and skipping chunks just to find out what happened when the dust settled (or the blood pooled, rather).

The Death Cure felt like it leaned too much on (sometimes grotesque) action and too little on character development and story. I missed the vibrant Gladers, the Group B girls are never fleshed out, and the hints at a jealous love triangle fizzled into an anti-climatic nothing.

I read impatiently, looking for answers which never really came.

- Thomas does not get his memory back. I'm okay with this as his reasons why are articulated. But it was hard to believe that of the majority who did have their memories restored, nobody had anything of import to share about WICKED's past or their own involvement in the organization, or Tom's for that matter.

- While Teresa finally ends her "Wicked is Good" refrain, it is sung again in the epilogue. The mysterious rescuer who provides a way out excuses all of the cruelty, abuse, and horror inflicted on the trial "subjects" with the same strain. I'm trying to give Dashner the benefit of the doubt here - perhaps his goal was to create a complex enemy, something that had good intentions but did horrible things for "the greater good." If so, I think the concept could have been developed further.

- I wish we could understand what fueled the original founders' passion in the beginning. Yes, a horrible disease and a fight for the cure. But how did their desire to save the human race lead to unleashing grotesque Grievers on human beings? Were children like Thomas and Teresa brainwashed? Or did they truly believe in the project, and if so, what kind of person believes in a project that involves great jelly-man killing machines with orange light bulb protrusions? Did they sit around a conference table approving the designs for these creatures?

- Oh the characters that could have been! Someone (Brenda or Teresa) should have been in WICKED's back pocket just to give the character more substance, we needed an actual turncoat or double crosser. Or mole. Teresa bites the dust so unceremoniously at the end (and with notably less hand wringing and dramatics from Thomas than he experienced after seeing Chuck and Newt die) I suspect her character was boring even Dashner by then.

- I felt there were some hints and foreshadowing regarding the Cranks coming out of nowhere and seeming to have their crazy amplified or 'turned on.' This left me hoping for an actual plot where WICKED would end up being more definably wicked, perhaps controlling them, increasing their crankiness for some nefarious purpose. But no. WICKED was just trying to save the human race! With exploratory brain surgery! And lies, manipulation, and treachery! Wait, what?

- The world is in catastrophe. The books paints a pretty vivid picture of desolate, destroyed cities, mutiny, crime, despair, poverty, and desperation. Millions are plagued with a zombie-esque disease, and very few are immune. Yet fuel to power giant air ships is no problem. Ammo, computers, and electricity are all mysteriously available. Even just a few sentences about advanced fuel technology, hydrogen powered vehicles, or solar power would have helped us suspend reality.

- The entire story seems to take place on the North American continent. We have mention of world governments building "Crank Palaces" but learn little else about how the plague is affecting the rest of the globe. Was WICKED a world-wide organization? If so, only 200 immunes were saved the world over? Where was paradise? On a protected piece of planet earth or another sphere?

All that said, I'm not terribly sorry I purchased the books or that I have them in my Kindle library. It was interesting to read a truly inventive YA story. Dashner's 13th Reality series is equally unique (though less violent) I read the first one to my younger boys, and my oldest read them all on his own (though, update, my older son hated how the last book in that series ended).

2013 Update: Dashner has another book out in this series, a prequel The Kill Order (Maze Runner Prequel) (The Maze Runner Series) that was supposed to answer some of these questions. Reviews say the book didn't deliver though, so I'm not going to take another chance with this series.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
Considering my dislike for both The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials, I seriously considering abandoning this series. However, the first two books in the series did pique my curiosity enough that I decided to read The Death Cure in order to find out a) why these group of children were subjected to such horrors and b) how WICKED could possibly hope to create a cure out of their struggles. Unfortunately, The Death Cure continued to use Thomas' lack of memories to keep the reader in the dark for most of the book, and then gave us the weakest explanation for a series' sequence of events I have ever had the misfortune of reading in a dystopian.

In my review of The Scorch Trials, I commented on how Dashner's various plot twists seemed pointless, "like Dashner was just making things up as he went" giving the book "an almost careless and unplanned feel" and I hate to say it, but that feeling of meandering continues with The Death Cure. And then I finally realized what was happening to make me feel that way! Dashner has not written a layered tale.

"Think back on those really satisfying endings. Those "AHA!" moments in a story when the final twist is revealed and the carefully laid-yet hidden!-clues are suddenly so obvious. All those connections you had missed were right before your nose the whole time!"

Here, Susan Dennard is talking about a story having resonance, when different subplots are woven together to create one "deep, complex, echoing plot." The Death Cure (and then I guess I would also argue, The Scorch Trials) lacks resonance. While Newt's subplot gave his journey a definitive conclusion, it did nothing to further the main plot. I felt the same about the note he had given Thomas; I was hoping it would contain information that would explain something, anything. Or that it would give Thomas the information he needed, during a pivotal moment, to outsmart WICKED. Unfortunately, it proved to be merely a plot device to create suspense and intrigue. The same argument could be made with the tension between Thomas and Theresa; the words left unspoken between Thomas and Theresa were used to keep the readers in suspense. By the end of The Death Cure, when she had given us no new insight into the motives or history of WICKED, I realized that her subplot also did nothing to further the main plot. But the biggest disappointment when it came to subplots was Thomas' refusal to get his memories back. I kept waiting for that "AHA!" moment Susan talked about, where the reasons behind Thomas refusing to get the answers he was looking for made sense. For the moment where it was revealed that WICKED had been lying, or that there was some purpose to Thomas being kept in the dark. Unfortunately, it was also used as just another device to keep the reader in the dark and did nothing to move the main plot forward (if anything, it held it back!)

So after hundreds of pages where it felt like we were merely spinning in circles, as nothing was connecting and nothing was being done to actually defeat WICKED, you could say that I was ready to completely throw in the towel when Thomas started considering helping WICKED with their next round of trials.

"For some reason, Thomas couldn't get Janson out of his head. Could going back really be a way to save [name removed]? Every part of him rebelled against the idea of returning to WICKED, but if he did go back, and was able to complete the testing..."

Seriously? My frustration with Thomas was only increased when it was finally revealed how the trials were supposed to have found a cure. Here's where things get slightly spoilery. Considering that the brain, or killzone, is the area that the Flare attacks, the doctors of WICKED decided that a map of the killzone would lead them to a cure. So they rounded up the brightest kids they could find, most of whom were immune to the effects of the Flare with a couple of non-immunes as variables, and put them through various trials in order to watch their brain activity. Why the trials needed to be as barbaric or dangerous as they were, was never explained. Why the trials only tested children, was never explained. Why the doctors couldn't have gotten the same kind of data from simulated experiences, was never explained. Considering what those children were put through, many of whom didn't make it out with their lives, for the explanation to be so lacklustre is an insult to my intelligence as a reader.

On top of my frustrations with Dashner's lack of resonance or resolution, I also had to suffer through some of the worst writing of the series. I actually lost count of the amount of times Dashner started a sentence with (or some variation of) "Thomas knew they had no choice but to..." It made Thomas unaccountable for many of his actions, as he was always being forced into making an impossible decision. There were also some truly awkward phrases, which forced me to re-read several sections in order to make any sense of it. One example would be this line, during one of the many action scenes where Thomas is somehow able to overpower several more experienced fighters:

"He blocked the next punch with both of his forearms, then threw both fists up and at Janson's face, connected."

I had to read that sentence out loud to my husband to ask him if I was just being picky, or if it actually didn't make any sense.

I'm not even going to touch on the characters; I found them as flat and dull as ever, with most of them being quite interchangeable.

In short, The Death Cure lived up to its predecessors by being a mixed bag of unconnected plots, poor decisions and weak resolutions.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
Okay, so, couple things: First, if you don’t like rants, spoilers or if you loved this book and are going to tell me that I’m wrong and this is the greatest book EVERRRRRR, stop reading. Second, if you hate this book, Thomas or Brenda, please continue to read.

So, book three has us back at WICKED headquarters. After being told he is Immune, Thomas is finally reunited with his friends. Too freaking bad he doesn't know half of them. I mean seriously, he has spent how many hours and days with these people and he DOESN'T BOTHER LEARNING THEIR NAMES?! That's just freaking douchey. And then Thomas thinks to himself (again) how he never bothered to learn their names is even worse. Like he knows he’s a douche and he just doesn't do anything to change it. But don’t worry, when he gets kidnapped later in the story, Thomas DOES learn the name of his kidnapper/driver person. Ugh, Thomas you are SO STUPID.

After two books of listening to Thomas whine about not having any memories, he FINALLY gets the opportunity to get them back and he refuses! Now, I can understand not wanting the people you don't trust to be in your head again, but when he goes to see the other guy, the one Brenda trusts, ergo, Thomas trusts, he doesn't even offer but Thomas is straight up, "I don't want my memories!" WHAT?! He's afraid he'll understand why WICKED is doing what they are and he'll go back to them or something like that. I call BS on that. MAYBE since Thomas used to work for WICKED, his memories might, I don't know, HELP them take down WICKED? But no, Thomas has to be whiny and not get his memories back. And then he has to continually remind us that he can't remember things! Dude, you can't have it both ways! Also, he gets a little upset when some of his friends (okay, Frypan and Teresa because they are the only two we really know) want their memories back! What?! You can't be upset when THEY choose it for themselves! That's NOT your call, Thomas. Idiot. And oh, look at that… Teresa got her memories back and she didn't go back to thinking WICKED was the greatest thing ever! In fact, she hates WICKED now… except you don’t believe her. But your excuse is invalid, Thomas.

And then there's Brenda. Who the hell are you? I don't like you. She lied to Thomas too, you know. She did it because she was working for WICKED. Teresa lied to Thomas because WICKED said they'd kill him otherwise, and she didn't want that. But Teresa is not to be trusted and we must have rage and anger at her, but Brenda lied? Well she's working with us now, so whatever, I still like her. Plus she kisses me on the cheek a lot and I like that. I HATE the way the author tries to shove Brenda down my throat and tries so hard to make Teresa out to be the bad guy. Teresa got too little page time in the last two books to even begin to fight for Thomas. And that sucks. Way to freaking not even give Teresa a chance. I'm sorry you had to be replaced like that Teresa. If it makes you feel better, I hate Brenda too.

Ugh I can't get over how STUPID Thomas is. Him, Minho, Newt, Brenda and Jorge escape WICKED and go to Denver in search of their other friends. They have to leave Newt in the Berg (seriously, what is a “Berg”? I keep picturing a blimp thing like the Hindenburg. And we all know how well that turned out.) Anyway, they have to leave Newt in the Berg because Denver is quarantined and Newt is infected. While there, they have breakfast at a coffee shop. The… quarantine police? Someone comes and finds an infected person. Brenda tells Thomas they need to go, like now, but when Brenda tells him to run, he doesn't because he wants to see what happens when they take down the infected guy... and almost gets himself killed/kidnapped because of his stupidity! This is only one example of his many stupid stunts in the book.

They go back to check on Newt and find he’s been taken to the Crank Palace. Minho insists they go get him, so they go track him down but Newt sends them away. It’s obvious he’s succumbing to the Flare and it’s sad. He’s especially mad at Thomas, but Thomas can’t figure out why… until he remembers Newt gave him a note. Wow, Thomas, great friend you are. Newt didn’t want to live as a crazy person, so he asked Thomas to kill him.

Thomas, Minho, Brenda and Jorge are kidnapped after leaving the Crank Palace and returning to chaos. Denver has been taken over by Cranks. When they are taken to the kidnappers holding place they find Aris, Teresa and several others from Group B (that Thomas and ergo, we have never learned their names). Upon seeing Aris, Thomas realizes he has no hard feelings about what happened in the Scorch! But Teresa?! Oh no, she still is an awful person! He hated her but missed her… he doesn't want to hear her out. But he does, and then is mad at himself when he listens to her. OH MY GOD. Thomas, you’re a shuck-faced slinthead and Teresa was way better off without you. You can’t believe a word Teresa says but you can trust freaking Brenda?! You don’t trust Teresa because she didn't come to your way of thinking until AFTER she got her memories back? Maybe she remembered something IMPORTANT and that’s why she understands why you hate them now! Didn't think of it that way did you? You’re just too caught up in your “poor me, Teresa betrayed me because she didn't think she had a choice and I’d be killed if she didn't” mindset to be smart about anything. I want to beat your face in and feed you to the Cranks, Thomas.

So Thomas and the others overpower the kidnappers and demand to see the boss. Turns out it’s the Right Arm and Gally… they want to take down WICKED and need Thomas and the others to do it. So Thomas decides he’ll go back to WICKED voluntarily to help them out. When Thomas goes back to WICKED for the last time, I did like that he was the Final Candidate because he was a free thinker. His open rebellion, the fact he wouldn't follow the orders he’d been given unlike Teresa, was what caused them to want him the most. It was probably the best “twist” in the book. However, the fact that they didn't search Thomas when he got there; that they trusted him… seemed far-fetched because of the fact that he’d been openly rebelling against them from the beginning of the book. The fact they’d let him plant the device without them knowing… just too convenient. The ending happened too fast and neatly.

Poor Newt, this whole time is probably the only person I like, aside from Teresa. No, scratch that, at the end I liked Gally too. He had a good head on his shoulders even though he ended up on Thomas’s side. Gally you were right about Thomas in the beginning, he’s stupid! Don’t follow him! Two out of three that I liked were given the shaft. Newt’s death was sad, but at least his got more screen time than Teresa’s. GAH! Teresa’s death! Thomas, like an idiot, stands there and watches a piece of ceiling falling toward him that will crush him and WHO runs and pushes him out of the way?! Not shucking Brenda, that’s for sure! Teresa does, of course, because as she says as she’s dying… she only ever cared for… well I’m going to assume it’s Thomas, but we will never know because stupid Minho and Brenda drag him away before she can even finish the sentence. Just a convenient way to get rid of Teresa so Thomas doesn't have to choose, because in the end, AS SHE’S DYING, Thomas realizes that he isn't really mad at her anymore. Screw you Thomas. I’m sorry again, Teresa, that you got the shaft. But honestly, you’re WAY too good for that shuck-face, Thomas. He’s an idiot. I hope you live out your afterlife happy without him.

And after they rescue the 200 out of 400-500 people from the Maze… yes, they sucked so bad they lost 200-300 people… and they have their final battle with the crazy Rat Man, they end up in paradise. And Thomas “lets” Minho be the leader, not wanting another ounce of responsibility ever. Well I hate to break it to you, Thomas, but you never were a leader. I don’t care what those stupid plaques said. A leader would bother to learn the names of the 20 or so people he was stuck in a room with for three days with nothing to do but stare at the walls. You’re just some shuck faced loser that was always told he was special but you really weren't.

Over all I give this entire series 2.2 stars. It wasn't great, it wasn't better than the Hunger Games. Not even close. It was entertaining and kept me interested, if only to see what stupid idiotic thing Thomas would do next. I probably won’t recommend it to anyone, but I won’t discourage people from reading it either.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
After the first two books in this series, i had fairly high expectations of Mr. Dashner's writing. Maybe he just got tired of writing this series, or had other projects on his table, or maybe the fault lies entirely with his editing staff, but regardless, this book had numerous glaring errors. For example, he gets the meanings of 'captive' and 'captor' mixed up, using each where he should have used the other. And fear not, the errors aren't just linguistic. When four of the protagonists get rounded up by six antagonists, Thomas notes that the odds are fair, six to six.

The plot doesn't fare much better. This series, like many before it (i'm thinking Alias, X-Files, and so on) got so wound up in countless double-crosses, betrayals, and misunderstandings that after a certain point it's all noise. Thomas starts just trusting his gut on whom to believe, but that leaves the reader out of the loop entirely.

Confounding that is how darn credulous Thomas and his friends are at times. He and his merry band go looking for someone they've heard, from a dubious source, may be able to help them. Almost immediately after, word gets to them that WICKED has put a bounty on that person's head. Never once does one character turn to another and say, "Hey, if i were WICKED, i'd do exactly these things to lure us into a trap."

What Dashner fails to include in the way of character development or answers to long-standing questions, he makes up for with nearly non-stop action. It's convenient, really, how many poor decisions the characters make, because if they'd acted like the best of the best, the fastest and smartest, they probably could have gotten everything done much more safely and easily.

And the end of the book, the reader is offered a tiny tidbit of information to tie up one loose end, but in all, very few questions are answered. If you've read through The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials expecting the third book to actually explain anything at all, you'll be sorely disappointed.

However, if you just want stories of a group of young people trying to survive in a world looking more and more like a slow-motion zombie apocalypse, this'll do just fine.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover

It started out well enough. In fact most of the plot for the first 3/4 was great. There were some sad moments with Newt and there was some good action and whatnot. But there were some things that didn't sit right with me; there wasn't nearly as much character development and interaction as there had been in the first two books. There were alot of "somehow"s. "Somehow Thomas managed to fight them off", "Somehow he Minho jumped high enough to reach the rising helicopter", "Somehow Thomas managed to evade gunfire whilst he played chess with God and defeated the entire Swedish army". It's not even physically possible for the characters to have survived as long as they did. And Dashner likes to shove things that he doesn't feel like talking about into a corner, doesn't he? But it overall the first 3/4 were good.

And then along came the ending.

No. Just no.
1)Theresa dies after being shoved into a corner for the entire book without so much as a paragraph about Thomas's emotions afterward.
2)Thomas decides to let Minho think that his best friend in the world died a slow and painful death after slowly spiraling into the depths of insanity.

3) When WICKED stuck all of the munies in the maze, frypan and some of the girls from group B were there with them. So you mean to tell me that there were multiple people who knew how to get out of the maze in the group and yet they did nothing? Seriously? No grievers, no walls shifting, nothing standing in their way and yet they did nothing at all. Apparently the main characters are the only ones who know how to take care of things for themselves

4)They had a device that could shut down guns. GUNS. Present day, mechanical handguns. Their excuse? They run off of a computer. What the HELL? Guns do NOT run off of computers. They never have, and they never will. There's no good reason for it. This might be the most obvious plot device that I have ever seen.

5)Group B? Whatever just throw them in the corner until the end of the book. They aren't important

6) Apparently, WICKEDs idea of a happy ending is sending 250 people to start anew in some random corner of the world while the rest of the human population dies slowly, painfully, and violently.

7) So THIS was W.I.C.K.E.D's plan all along? Then WHY THE HELL DID YOU BOTHER?! Why the maze? Why the scorch? Why the EVERYTHING! Congratulations, Dashner, in the very last page of your trilogy, you've managed to turn every single part of the entire thing into irrelevant and nonsensical bull****.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Wait...what? That's it? It seems the end was a bit rushed and the ending in general needed some more thought. Like the last two books, I had a lot of questions at the end...BUT this is the I don't exactly see how that comes to work out well. Pretty frustrating.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I was a fan of the Maze Runner trilogy from the beginning of the first novel. I tore through it like it was my job, did the same thing with the Scorch Trials, and then I spent months and months pacing around my dorm room and trying to bring it up in conversation as often as possible like a pissy bridezilla waiting for her wedding day. I counted down the days and tweeted James Dashner like a weird creepy stalker, and when I FINALLY got that email from Amazon saying that the novel was waiting in my Kindle, I basically went nuts.

I was excited; you get the picture.

My sister and I had several conversations about our favorite YA series, and I always said, "Mine might be the Maze Runner, but it all depends on how the last book ends."

Womp womp. Cut to me, a feverish 10 hours later; I ditched lecture, finished the book and said to myself, "Huh..." It wasn't that bad, but it wasn't that good either.


Everything I liked about the Maze Runner and the Scorch Trials was absent from this novel. As a reader I grew accustomed to the ever present mysteries in the novel. The answers to mysteries about why WICKED exists and why all those kids were trapped in a maze were quickly and unceremoniously answered. Dashner proceeds to create a semi-unnecessary sub-mystery in the form of a note with hidden contents, given to our protagonist by one of his fellow Gladers. I genuinely thought that the note would be something stunning and revelatory...nope. It was a request, and one that I don't even think was necessary, given the way Thomas actually responded to the contents of the note. I think it would have been more effective to take Thomas to the side and say, "Bro, if I'm about to go, just kill me. If you don't, I'll probs try to kill you and you'll have to do it anyway. For real, I was a one dimensional character and we weren't even THAT close, when you think about it."

And then, the nonstop action and go go go? It was fine, but it just seemed excessive for a trilogy that deals with introspection and the troubles of forced waiting and uncertainty. The characters have been at the whim of others for hundreds of pages, and for some reason they seemed foreign when they were forced to be assertive and to make their own decisions.

And while this may be an excessively picky critique, I have to say it: I have never witnessed a more boring love triangle in my entire life, and I sat through Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. Did he really like either girl? This romance was so forced. And not appealing in the slightest. If Dashner didn't want to bother with a romance, he didn't need to; the trilogy would have been fine without it.


Bottom line, we finally get some answers. Some. Any fan of the Maze Runner needs to read this book, just for some closure. It'll leave you wanting more, but it's necessary. It's like the dessert course at the end of a five course meal--you're not hungry, your stomach hurts, and it doesn't even taste good, BUT you just keep eating because you're not a quitter and you've made it this far.
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