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This review is from: The Death Cure (Maze Runner, Book 3) (Hardcover)
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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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 29, 2011 11:52:16 AM PST
the books arent over, there is going to be a prequel called the kill order which will explain it
Posted on Jan 7, 2012 7:39:22 AM PST
13th Reality is so much better, and I've been waiting on the edge of my seat for years for the fourth book to come out. I'm fairly sure he took a "detour" to finish Maze Runner, which is unfortunate, since Reality is certainly much better.
I really, really hated the antagonist of WICKED--and not in a good hate-the-antagonist way, but in a the-antagonist-was-not-well-written way. Urgh.
Posted on Jan 7, 2012 1:44:06 PM PST
Your review pretty much sums up my thoughts on the third book. I'm hopeful that the announced prequel will help answer a few of the lingering questions-- but Dashner shouldn't have needed a prequel to tie up all of the story's loose ends.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2012 11:19:53 AM PST
Marie B. says:
Kind of a let down for this series, as the first two books hiked my expectations really high, but I've since moved on. Thoroughly enjoying Jami Lynn Saunders' Werecat Saga at the moment: Feral: Book 1 in the Werecat Saga. What post-apocalyptic fun!
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 4:15:26 PM PST
Glad to hear about the 13th Reality. Will look forward to reading it. I was pretty disappointed with the Death Cure, and this reviewer had excellent comments and was spot on. I think this book got pretty melodramatic after awhile, and I found myself looking forward to the end.
Posted on Mar 19, 2012 12:29:24 AM PDT
Jim Purtle says:
I was getting ready to write a very similar review (although mine would likely not have been as well-worded). In particular, I was going to mention the similarity of parts of this book to the Transformers movies. Well said.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2013 12:37:30 PM PST
Did you read the last book? I haven't been able to bring myself to give the series another chance.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2013 12:38:01 PM PST
My son hated the way the last book in the 13th Reality ended. I haven't read it yet, what did you think of how he ended the series?
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2013 12:38:28 PM PST
Did you read it? I haven't yet... I'm nervous about giving the series another chance. I was so annoyed after this one.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2013 12:38:40 PM PST
Thanks for the recommendation - I'll check it out!