Customer Review

159 of 165 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing finale, October 30, 2011
This review is from: The Death Cure (Maze Runner, Book 3) (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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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 31, 2011 5:30:41 PM PDT
Great review. I agree with everything you said and especially the part about Teresa; you were spot on about that. I also agree with you about Thomas's memories. I felt like ever since he had been getting glimps of his memory back, that we were closer to finding out about his past, but no. Nothing was revealed becasue he decided not to get his memories back. All the build up for nothing. I too was excited and interested by the first book but by this one, everything is just a jumbled mess and I feel like Dashner himself doesn't even know all the facts about WICKED and its motivations. I really wanted to like this book, but I was unfortunatly disappointed :(

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2011 5:58:51 PM PDT
Bookphile says:
Thanks, Donald. It's such a shame because The Maze Runner was such a novel concept. I can't help but wish that it had been a stand alone book. Had it been, its ingenuity would have been preserved, but being part of the series tarnished it for me.

Posted on Dec 11, 2011 5:07:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 11, 2011 5:09:40 PM PST
I agree as well. And so many plot holes! When Teresa's group escaped in the Berg, she insists to Thomas later that his group was the one missing, and that they'd searched for him. Well... where was everybody then? Not explained. And whatever happened to ole Hans? And where were the other kids when Thomas was in his white room? And, and, and... well, in the end, I was quite disappointed and impatiently skimming past the endless fight scenes.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 7:28:31 AM PST
Bookphile says:
Yep, this just reinforces my belief that this novel was basically unfinished. There are so many plot holes I can't even remember them! And I was also getting tired of the fighting scenes. I don't mind action in a book (sometimes it's exactly what I crave), but action is meaningless if there's no character development and no plot, both things in which this book was severely lacking. Whenever I think about it, it makes me sad. This was such a great series, so it really stinks to see it all fall apart in the end.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2014 7:36:03 AM PDT
C. Wilder says:
Thank you for these reviews, everyone, I loved the first book, the second was disappointing to me but I was thinking that I had just missed some key point the author made that tied it all together. But, after reading all of the responses above, I think not and I'll not waste my money buying the third book. I have seen the previews for the Maze Runner in the theaters, looks like it will be good, hopefully! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2014 6:01:50 PM PDT
Nath Drouin says:
Oh! finally somebody that read this book like me. I did skip over a lot of fight scene but didn't want to put it in my review. Thanks for sharing. Makes me feel better.

Posted on May 12, 2014 8:29:59 AM PDT
Capt. McPl0x says:
I was gonna write a review but you pretty much summed it up. Very week ending.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2014 4:10:18 PM PDT
Bookphile says:
It's a shame because this series started off so well. I'm curious to see how it'll translate into a movie.

Posted on Jun 1, 2014 1:49:56 PM PDT
goongirl says:
Totally agree.... I literally just skimmed the last 50 pages because I was so bored with the writing and the characters. What a waste of time to get to the end and not have any real answers. This was the worst trilogy I have ever read.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2014 7:41:56 PM PDT
Bookphile says:
I hear you. Few things are more disappointing than a bad ending to a series that you love.
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