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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Jaw-Dropping Thriller
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...
Published on October 20, 2010 by Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)

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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Killing Time Until The Third Book...
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...
Published on December 9, 2010 by Amazon Customer


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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Killing Time Until The Third Book..., December 9, 2010
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. And then the reader actually does get to the ending, only to find that really one could skip over this second novel entirely and be none the worse for wear - just like the first book: nothing is explained, everything is a mystery, please buy the next book, kthxbye.

Some of the things I didn't like about "The Maze Runner" the first time around crop up again here. Thomas continues to have more than a whiff of Mary Sue about him; way too much angst is expended on the designated love interests (and, really, I think Thomas has more romantic chemistry with Newt than with either of the two girls provided here); and almost the entire "cast" of Gladers are anonymous red-shirts - in fact, whenever anyone other than Minho, Newt, or Thomas is suddenly granted a name and/or minor personality, it's pretty much a given that they're about to die horribly for insta-angst. I understand that it's difficult to write a group of 20+ well-rounded individuals, but Thomas' continued insistence on not learning the names or personalities of the people fighting and dying around him starts to inadvertently make him seem like a psychopath or - immersion-breakingly - the only important character in a story.

I guess a recommendation for The Scorch Trials depends on your reaction to The Maze Runner; if you loved the first book and want more of the same, this sequel delivers. If you were less than completely enthralled with the first novel, however, and are more interested in answers than in dragging out the Thomas/Theresa love shipping, I'd recommend giving this book a pass and skipping over to the third book entirely. I didn't feel like it was a waste of time reading this novel, and there were definitely several high notes in the first half, but I just can't help but feel that it could be a lot better with a little less ham-handed "mystery" and a little more character development.

A word about the audiobook for this novel: The audiobook is fairly well-narrated. The reader paces and pauses well, although his voice could perhaps be a little more animated during the "action" scenes. My favorite parts are when he speaks as Newt, because he brings out this wonderfully outrageous accent that I suppose is meant to be Scottish. Overall, though, the audio is well done and worth listening to.

~ Ana Mardoll
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Jaw-Dropping Thriller, October 20, 2010
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. Dashner will blow your mind with everything that WICKED puts the Gladers through and for every question raised, we get the teeniest insight into what is really going on. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you begging for the final installment.

Opening line: She spoke to him before the world fell apart. ~ pg. 1

Favorite line(s): He didn't care about the others anymore. The chaos around him seemed to siphon away his humanity, turn him into an animal. All he wanted was to survive, make it to that building, get inside. Live. Gain another day. ~ pg. 136
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leaves you scratching your head and chomping at the bit to read on., October 18, 2010
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Food to eat while reading: Scorched Crème Brulee ([...])

I am not usually a fan of middle books in a series, but this middle book in The Maze Runner series reads like a great beginning--all over again.

What I liked:

The setting kept changing and with each new place came dangers, creatures and people that kept me on the edge of my seat.

The main characters remained consistent and believable, yet they changed and grew from their experiences, like good little characters should. In fact, I almost cheered at the end for Thomas on the last page when he makes a difficult decision. Hooray for characters that change and show us that we can too.

Brenda, and Jorge are a great addition to the cast. They throw more variables into the equation and complicate the trials. And I love that Dashner introduced a second love interest for Thomas. Let the cat fights begin!

The balance of intrigue in this story is perfect. The questions and answers are braided together so that I am always wondering what will happen, but satisfied by the questions I have already received. Dashner has gained my trust, and though I still have unanswered questions, I am willing to read through quite a bit before I get the answers because I know that he will deliver.

I am eager to see why all of these horrible things are happening to these kids and how Thomas had a hand in creating the trials that he now is subjected to. I have an idea of why the variables are there and what the patterns are for, but I am content to wait until 2011 for The Death Cure.

I can't wait to see this on the movie screen-it will lend itself easily to media.

What I would have changed:

The Scorch Trials is quite a bit more violent than The Maze Runner. My son is currently reading the first book and I am unsure about giving him the second one just yet.

It bothered me that Aris' character is so underdeveloped. He mozies along with the Gladers, only showing spunk when he is required to act out a role for WICKED. Perhaps the author has hidden Aris from us for a reason and we will see his character unfurl in The Death Cure.

Much of the jeopardy was killed for me by a scene in the middle of the book. I just didn't worry so much for Thomas' safety and that led to a loss of intensity.

The verdict:

The Scorch Trials is an excellent addition to the very popular dystopian genre. It will leave you scratching your head and chomping at the bit to read on.
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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Hard Desparate, October 13, 2010
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I loved this book, frankly the crazy, hap hazardous, rushed, psychotic things that happened fit perfectly with the plot line. The whole point of the Maze Runner and the Scorch Trials are to trick the readers' heads. Do we trust Teresa? Who is Brenda? Thomas should be the leader! No Minho should! The whole trilogy is an experiment on us, we don't know what is real, or what is fake, and at the end of the day we don't know if WICKED really is good or bad.

Thomas, wow what a character. Since we're basically living in his head and experiencing his emotions I feel for him. Do you trust your best friend? Isn't she the Betrayer? I completely understand why he's concerned about WICKED when the only things he can remember from it, are tests, subjects and Teresa. Scorch Trials is a harder book than Maze Runner because people die in the book for seemingly no reason. I mean we know it's for `patterns' and `killzones' but it is so seemingly pointless from Thomas and the other Gladers' perspective. How does lightning killing roughly half of your group help these `patterns'? And who do you trust when Cranks try to shoot you and drug you up. I trust Dashner though and know that what he reveals in the final book will be completely unexpected yet perfectly fit with everything we have gone through.

I don't know how I personally feel about WICKED, throughout the entire story they are eluded to being good, to trying to save humanity, yet their actions show otherwise. What was the point in the final battle? Were they really trying to wheedle down their `perspective candidates' but then what about the rest? I read this book in three hours because it was that good and I couldn't put it down. I feel as if Dashner captured human character and emotion perfectly. You have to remember these kids lived together in the Glade first, they know about death and dangers and how WICKED can change things in the blink of an eye. It doesn't take much more to believe that WICKED would set up elaborate games and plans that would force people into doing something they don't want to. They have the power of life and death absolutely. After so long of being under that kind of power you either are dead or accept it. I am anxiously awaiting the third book, and know that it's going to be one heck of a kicker.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Teeters Between Being Suspenseful and Just Annoying, February 26, 2012
This review is from: The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2) (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. This gave the book an almost careless and unplanned feel, like a lot of the looses ends won't be explained because they weren't given much original thought. I'm sure in the next book I will finally get some type of resolution, but I feel like there should have been something given in this to make me WANT to pursue the next instalment. Instead, if I want to know anything, I HAVE to read The Death Cure. Seems like a pretty dirty and sneaky way to make sure I don't stop halfway through the trilogy.

My next problem is that throughout the entire book, there is no sense of time passing...like, at all. When I got near the end, and the Gladers announced they had only 3 days to get to the safe haven, I was genuinely shocked. It was the first indication that any significant amount of time had passed (that I noticed) and the fact that almost two weeks had passed really surprised me. Part of me wondered how it took them so long to get to their destination, then I remembered they were supposed to be covering 100 miles. All the times they spent running kind of blurred together, and I kept catching myself wondering how long the Gladers had spent running, and how it was physically possible for them to run for such long periods of time. I probably missed sections of the plot contemplating how a person could run that often, on such little amounts of food/water in a desert-like landscape.

Finally, continuing from The Maze Runner, I don't really care for any of the characters. I was glad to see Minho took more of a main role, but I still can't relate to Thomas (who has next to no personality, considering he spends half of the book sleeping or knocked out), I can't stand Teresa (she's all over the place!) and the other more minor characters all kind of blend together - we don't even know all of the Gladers' names, even though by the end, there's only 11 of them. I did like the introduction of Brenda, even though she freaked me out a couple times, but I didn't care for the love-triangle (kind of) thing that was happening between her, Thomas and Teresa.

Overall I feel pretty meh about this, and will only read The Death Cure to find out why they were put through all of this in the first place.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Please no more! Make it stop!, October 17, 2011
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This review is from: The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2) (Paperback)
Book 1- the Maze runner was awesome. Book 2- The Scorch Trails was painful. James Dashner said in an interview that he came up with the whole story and mapped it out in 2 hours. Nuff said. He had a couple cool ideas, spaced them out over 3 books, and just FILLED and FILLED and FILLED the spaces in between with material that was so stretched out it was as thin as dental floss. I was so mad I actually wanted to punch this book. Dashner can take something as simple as a person taking a bite out of an apple and turn it into an entire chapter. Describing how the apple was eaten, the surroundings, and shade of light, the emotions of the person eating the apple...DASHNER I DONT CARE ABOUT THE APPLE!! LOTS of emotions in this book. Too much to deal with. It got to where I was actually just scanning pages quickly looking for something that might be important. In the first book he developed the characters well and I liked them quite a bit, but in the second book that development ended, and he proceeded to repeat the same emotions of the characters over and over. Dead Horse...comes to mind. The only thing that keeps you reading is that you MUST find out what the heck is going on here, and still....you never find out. I haven't read book 3 yet, but i HAVE TO READ it so I can get some conclusion. Do I want to read it? NO! As far as I'm concerned, book 2 could have been completely eliminated. Skipped. At the end of book 2 we're still at the exact same place as the end of book 1!!!! HAHAHAHA I'M NOT JOKING. I swear it, Dashner, after paying $9 + $9 + $16 for grand total of $34 for these 3 books.....you BETTER deliver with this last book. Otherwise you owe me at least $26 (book 1 was good, I don't mind that I payed for that one).

With all that said, I'm optimistic about book 3. I'm holding it in my hand right now. I want to believe. I notice the back of the book says "THE TIME FOR LIES IS OVER". Well I guess he listened to the reviews. I really really hope that he redeems himself with this book. I will be reviewing book 3 very soon.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Think my brain has been scorched...., October 16, 2012
This review is from: The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2) (Paperback)
I am a 30-something woman who enjoys reading Young Adult dystopian/sci-fi/fantasy novels. My local YA librarians have been talking this series up as something that I'd *love.* Um, sorry...but no. The Maze Runner was okay, not great. It started with a good premise, but lacked fleshing out. The overused, made-up slang -- and the suspense & gore -- were irritating as the novel progressed. But any-hoo, this review is for THE SCORCH TRIALS. Second verse, same as the first. Well, not really because I think Book 2 was not as good as Book 1.
A simple summary:
1. WICKED: "Haha, punked you. Reset, do-over, but TOUGHER!"
2. Gladers: Hot desert, walk, walk, walk. LIGHTNING!!! Walk, walk, walk. ZOMBIES!!! Walk, walk, walk. BETRAYAL, oh the pain!
3. Thomas: I'm not a leader. I'm a leader. Theresa? Brenda? I'm confused! I'm angry! My feelings are hurt!
4. WICKED: "Haha, you made it to the safe haven, but we tricked you! More lightning! More bio-creatures! Just wait and see what we have in store!"
5. James Dashner: "Oh yeah, hehe, tricked you again. Read Book 3."

Seriously, though.... the one main thing that bothered me was the pitting of Group A vs. Group B. Both groups of kids had been manipulated and tortured and abused at the hands of the same group. And now, one of those groups is willing to harm the other because the abusers told them to...in exchange for their freedom/cure? And they believe them, after all the lies....really?!?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I felt Scorched by the end!, May 29, 2012
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This review is from: The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2) (Paperback)
I read and enjoyed "The Maze Runner" on the recommendation of a student of mine, who neglected to tell me it was the first of a series. I don't mind reading a series, but I do expect each installment to move the story line along and to give us further insight into the protagonists and antagonists. "The Scorch Trials" fails to do this. We still know little about WICKED, too little, except that they will intervene when necessary, which essentially negates the whole idea of trials for the Gladers and the girls they have met. If WICKED can simply drop in and save Thomas' life, then what is the purpose of the trials? Cranks are too similar to zombies for me, seemingly playing on the current craze for zombies in novels and movies. I felt a little like I'd undergone my own Scorch by the time I finished the novel, as again and again the characters appear to be safe, only to have their hopes dashed. And what's with all the forewarnings that Teresa is always giving Thomas? Please, just tell us the story without the heavy-handed attempts to create suspense with ominous warnings like "Things are going to get bad for you, Thomas." I was disappointed and frustrated with this book, to say the least.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It feels just like LOST (the tv series that had a weak ending), January 28, 2013
This review is from: The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2) (Paperback)
I did like the Maze Runner - until the end when the entire construct of a 2 year experiment in a massive artificial environment that involved many deaths of youths seemed largely unjustified and, regardless of money and technology available, totally unrealistic in a post apocalyptic world. To me, after reading the Scorch Trials, it really seemed like Dashner's whole talent is directed at depicting curiosity and suffering simply for the sake of doing so. The story arc is ridiculous - just putting mystery after mystery on top of suffering and pain and then, at the end, trying to patch the story together with a weak explanation of WICKED and its goals. I suppose an angst ridden teen might like this just for the emotional stimulation but as a story, I was just frustrated and annoyed. Reading a spoiler synopsis of the 3rd book didn't encourage me to continue with the series - rather it convinced me to pack it in and move on.

The problem is that the entire story would make much more sense if the experience was taking place inside the minds of the characters as they slept in a Matrix-type storage. But that would be lame. So placing the story in the real world is much better because it defies that cliche. But putting Thomas and his friends through trials that seem like they're from a video game is also ridiculous if the reason for doing so isn't good enough. And the reason for doing so, not to mention the credibility of the resource management required for doing so, isn't good enough.

The justification for the suffering of characters (and we the readers as we empathize with them) isn't nearly good enough to make this a satisfying story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as The Maze Runner, June 3, 2012
This review is from: The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2) (Paperback)
I fell in love with the first book of this series, The Maze Runner. I was so excited to see how James Dashner was going to twist this story to make it as thrilling and intriguing as the first book. So, I read and read, waiting for that big moment that was going to knock my socks off, but it never came. I needed a big shocking plot. Yes, it did have some twists here and there, new characters, and a new scenario, but it was BORING. All in all I was not impressed. I guess he set the bar really high with his first book, where as the second book was just trying too hard.

I kept putting it down, and not really wanting to pick it back up. If you know me, when I like a book, my face is literally buried in that book until I'm done.

I tried really really hard to finish this book, and after forcing myself to sit and read, I did accomplish to finish this book. Now I am left with a "I just read a really bad book" feeling. I am really hoping that the next two books in my summer list are good, so this feeling goes away!

I don't think I will read the third book, since I lost my interest.

From: [...]
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The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2)
The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2) by James Dashner (Paperback - September 13, 2011)
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