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The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2) Paperback – September 13, 2011

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The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2) + The Death Cure (Maze Runner, Book Three) + The Kill Order (Maze Runner, Prequel) (The Maze Runner Series)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385738765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385738767
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,701 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Questions for James Dashner

Q: Where was the worst place you’ve ever been lost or trapped? Did you use Thomas-like ingenuity to figure out the problem?
A: Interesting you should ask that, because The Maze Runner saved my life last Halloween! Ok, not really, but close. My son and I went to a corn maze, and we got lost and stuck. It made me realize how mean I am to my characters! I hadn’t been thinking when we entered and I have to be honest, I wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t think I’d get lost in a Halloween corn maze! But as soon as we realized that we had no idea how to get out I used the trick Thomas learned in the first book--turning right no matter what--and sure enough, we got out. I have a lot more respect for corn mazes now!

Q: The Maze Runner has been compared to other popular YA series like The Hunger Games and The Uglies. What do you think of those series? (And what do you think the draw is to post-apocalyptic societies for YA readers?)
A: First, let me start by saying that I love both of those series a lot! I think everyone is attracted to the idea of a post-apocalyptic society because it’s fascinating to imagine what the future could hold, and scary to know that maybe, just maybe, it could really happen. Although we hope not. Or do we?

Seriously, though, there’s so much that teens today have to deal with. Life isn’t as simple as it used to be with media everywhere at all times. And our country has been at war for a huge part of most teenagers’ lives. It’s a reality that kids face these days, and to see that life could go on could be almost reassuring.

Q: How did you come up with the shuckin’ Gladers’ slang? And have you ever accidentally used it in real life?
A: The slang had several purposes, but mainly it was to give the Gladers' language a different flavor. To show how a community can evolve. Not only is it in the future, but they've been isolated as well.

And on a more realistic note, an unsupervised group of boys would definitely be using language that could begin to take over the story itself. I wanted it to be realistic, but not a glossary of bad language. It would have become limiting for the book in terms of readership and, well, I’m a parent!

Q: What made you decide on a solar flare as a catastrophe (vs. all the other apocalyptic scenarios)?
A: I have to admit, I’m somewhat of an apocalypse buff. When I first started working on The Maze Runner I read an article somewhere about solar flares and I was fascinated. Not only were they a unique idea back then, but it seems completely plausible. Solar flares are natural occurrences, and the cycle for larger flares is again approaching. We’ll be seeing larger flares that really do affect things like communication and space travel. I just took things a little farther.

I also didn't want it to be a nuclear holocaust because I think that's overdone. And it doesn’t seem like we’ll need something that violent anymore to cause our own end. We’ve done a great job of making Mother Nature pretty angry!

Q: One thing that always bugged me: Why couldn’t the Gladers climb up and run around on top of the walls? (At least during the day.)
A: There's a part where Thomas asks Minho about that actually. Minho answers that they've tried it and can't get up that far. The maze has a lot of illusion and technology to make it seem bigger than it is. And I wanted the reader to imagine a maze with walls so high that you could never get to the top.

Q: I’ve heard that The Maze Runner might be made into a movie. If it is, what would you like fans of the book to see up there on the screen? Sometimes literary elements can be lost in translation to film--what’s important for you to remain unchanged?
A: I would love to see a movie made! My biggest hope would be that they cast it well, write it well, and really transfer the mystery of it to the big screen, not just the action. Not much to ask, right?

Q: There are a lot of scenes in the first two books with very graphic violence and death both against and initiated by teenagers--why did you choose to make the brutality so prevalent in a YA series?
A: There is a lot of violence, yes. Next question?

Really, though--I wanted to show what a brutal world it has become, and what a desperate situation the Gladers’ are in, so the reader can understand the stakes. If everything is safe, why would the boys want to leave? I also wanted to blur the lines of what is acceptable to survive in such an environment. We’ve been interested in the idea of survival for as long as we’ve been telling stories. And in modern culture, we’ve gone from Swiss Family Robinson, to Lord of the Flies, to Lost...if there’s no law anymore, who’s to say what’s right and wrong?

Q: You ended The Scorch Trials with a cliffhanger to rival the ending of The Empire Strikes Back. What sorts of things can your readers look forward to in The Death Cure?
A: I just turned in the third book, and I'm very proud of it and excited about it. Every last question is resolved, you see much more of the real world, and the ending is not what people may expect but I'm confident they'll be satisfied with the resolution. And lots of twists and action of course!

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–This dystopian novel begins where The Maze Runner (Delacorte, 2009) ends. Thomas and the rest of the group's escape from the Maze and the horrifying creatures called Grievers has proven to be short-lived because WICKED, the group behind it all, has another trial in store for them. Sun flares have destroyed most of the Earth, and a virus called the Flare has ravaged its population. Infected people turn into zombies called Cranks that attack and eat one other. The kids are told that they have the Flare but if they succeed in surviving the second trial, they will be cured. With few supplies, they must travel across 100 miles of hot and scorched land within two weeks to reach a safe house to receive the cure. When Teresa, Thomas's best friend and the only girl in the group, disappears, and he loses the ability to communicate telepathically with her, he and the other guys determine to find her. As they trek across the barren desert encountering crazed Cranks, the teens' loyalty to one another and the group is tested. The fast-paced narrative and survival-of-the-fittest scenario is reminiscent of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008). Although these characters aren't quite as compelling and their made-up slang takes a little getting used to, each character's personality is distinct. The unresolved ending will leave readers impatiently waiting for the conclusion to the trilogy.–Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

James Dashner is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series that includes The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order. He has also written The Eye of Minds (book one in the Mortality Doctrine series), the 13th Reality series, and two books in The Infinity Ring series: A Mutiny in Time and The Iron Empire.

Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. To learn more about James and his books, visit, follow @jamesdashner on Twitter, or find dashnerjames on Instagram.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

(What's this?)
#13 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#2 in Books > Teens
#13 in Books
#48 in Kindle eBooks
#2 in Books > Teens
#13 in Books
#48 in Kindle eBooks

Customer Reviews

Action packed book that keeps the pages turning.
david durik
Some of the issues I had with the first book were toned down a bit so that I felt a little relieved while reading this one.
Roxana W.
Good book that kept my interest and kept me wanting to find out what was going to happen to Thomas and his friends!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Scorch Trials / 978-0-385-73875-0

As full disclosure, I wasn't a huge fan of The Maze Runner - gave it 3 stars, if I recall correctly - but I really love dystopia fiction and I really hate not finishing a series, so my curiosity got the best of me and I picked up The Scorch Trials at my local library, prepared to dive back down into the futuristic mind games perpetuated by W.I.C.K.E.D.

First impressions were initially good - the book starts off a lot faster than "The Maze Runner", with disaster setting in almost immediately after the daring rescue of the first novel. It's nice to see a dystopian future come up with a creative merge of massive global climate change and zombies, and it's especially good that we start the first chapters off with a strong and steady dose of creepy-bordering-on-terrifying.

After the first few chapters, though, the paces slows drastically, and the novel starts to suffer from "middle series syndrome". Despite being out of the Maze and immersed in the "real" world, we actually learn very little of the details of this dystopian future, which makes it very difficult for the reader to connect to the global problems that W.I.C.K.E.D. is supposedly trying to solve, which makes it hard to get attached to these increasingly nebulous "experiments" that are somehow supposed to come up with some kind of cure...for something. Around the halfway mark, it starts to feel like we're killing time to get to the end of the book so that we can then get the THIRD book and find out some actual answers, and after awhile one starts to wonder if the ending will be worth it.
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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) on October 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Scorch Trials picks up right where The Maze Runner left off and it certainly starts with a bang. James Dashner incredibly makes this installment even better than the first. There is non-stop action and unexpected twists and turns in every single chapter. Thomas is once again thrown into this crazy environment, fighting for his life, as well as the lives of his friends.

WICKED is more involved in this one, but we still don't really know much about them. Is WICKED good or is WICKED bad? That really is the question to ask throughout this entire book. Dashner really made me question everything and everyone. Like Thomas, I wasn't sure what to believe.

Be prepared for more than a little creepy action going on because the Cranks sure are terrifying. Dashner vividly describes the pure nastiness that exudes from the zombie-like creatures. The short chapters kept me completely enamored with the story. It was more than a little difficult to put the book down because things just keep on happening. Whenever the action seemed to slow, Dashner did something that had my jaw hanging open. I frequently found myself asking what? How? Why? Why? Why?

Nothing is what it appears in this book and Dashner perfectly captures Thomas' confusion, his anger, his fear, his every emotion about being thrown into this hellish world and trying to come out of it alive and relatively unscathed. His dreams about his memories were one of my favorite aspects about the book and the tiny clues they offered made me want more and more.

The Scorch Trials is a jaw-dropping thriller filled with the most insane and unexpected twists.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Pretty Little Reader on February 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
As I start The Scorch Trials, all I can think is, why do they bother? I understand that when pushed, humans have a very strong survival instinct. But I feel like these kids have been pushed beyond the farthest limits you could set, and are still expected to keep going. With no trust in WICKED, and no security in the promise of a safe haven, why bother? At one point, Thomas does mention revenge against WICKED as his motive for pushing through his impending meltdown, but I just can't see revenge being worth it at this point. I guess that wouldn't make me a very good candidate! Anyways, its these thoughts that permeate my experience of The Scorch Trials. I had a hard time getting in to the story, as I felt how tired the Gladers were, especially Thomas, and it made me tired. Their acceptance of their inability to change anything made me feel hopeless and again wonder, why bother?

For me, Dashner is unable to distinguish between creating suspense and just being plain annoying. I admit, I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of this book, as the twists were unpredictable. The problem I now face, is that I am left with next to no resolution. I waited in anticipation for almost 400 pages to find out that I have to read the next instalment to get any answers. Yes, bits and pieces were revealed, but nothing that really added to what I already knew from The Maze Runner. This does not sit well with me. I found myself having to put down the book and walk away because I was so frustrated with the lack of answers. And so many of the various plot twists introduced seemed needless and just added to my overall frustration, like Dashner was just making things up as he went.
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