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The Death Cure (Maze Runner, Book Three) Paperback – January 8, 2013
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Praise for James Dashner and the Maze Runner series:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling Series
A USA Today Bestseller
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year
An ALA-YASLA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
An ALA-YALSA Quick Pick
“[A] mysterious survival saga that passionate fans describe as a fusion of Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and Lost.” —EW.com
“Wonderful action writing—fast-paced . . . but smart and well observed.” —Newsday
“[A] nail-biting must-read.” —Seventeen.com
“Breathless, cinematic action.” —Publishers Weekly
“Heart-pounding to the very last moment.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Exclamation-worthy.” —Romantic Times
“Take a deep breath before you start any James Dashner book.” —Deseret News
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
James Dashner is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, The Kill Order and The Fever Code, as well as the bestselling Mortality Doctrine series: The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts, and The Game of Lives. Dashner was born and raised in Georgia, but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. To learn more about him and his books, visit JamesDashner.com, follow @jamesdashner on Twitter, and find dashnerjames on Instagram.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I have no problem with a series in the teen-dystopian genre borrowing from other stories or some of the other criticisms lobbied at the book by others. I can suspend belief when Thomas and Minho routinely take more stabs, punches, cuts, falls, and abuse than Bruce Willis in all the Diehard movies combined, only to recover hours later to run for miles and fight again. What this book fails to do is far more basic. Warning: there are spoilers in the following parts for this book and those in the series that precede it.
First, as is a problem in all three books, the dialogue is absolutely awfully rendered in this novel. It is unbelievable, stiff, and terribly cliche in many, many instances. Even if it didn't seem like it was written by an online protagonist phrase generator, a reader can only be subjected to so many uses of "shuckface", "slinthead", and "good that" before they wear out. Also, apparently Dashner believed his readers can't tell that Jorge is supposed to be Hispanic, which is the only explanation for him ending every sentence he says with "muchachos". The conversations between characters feel mechanical and predictable, and would lack authenticity--except that the characters don't feel authentic to begin with, so it would be difficult to have authentic dialogue from inauthentic characters.
Second, the characters--already predictable and flat--actually become more predictable and less dynamic in this story. Will Minho overreact angrily to something and punch a person multiple times in this book? How many times will he respond to Teresa with spiteful, sarcastic remarks? Will Thomas make irrational decisions for his "friends" (who, like the readers, he knows nothing about other than their stereotypical behavior)? How many times will Brenda act affectionate toward Thomas for an undetermined reason? Will Thomas's veins fill with hatred every time Rat Man speaks? There are dozens and dozens of questions like this that a reader can answer without ever picking up this book, because the characters were cast in their mold hundreds of pages ago and not only fail to evolve, but repeat their stereotypes multiple times (in some cases, dozens and dozens of times) in this book. The most dynamic character, and the only one who truly evolves, isn't even an active character in the story. It's the Chancellor. Aside from her deus ex machine moment when she saves Thomas from surgery (the how and why of that is skipped by expositioning a surgical blackout) she makes no appearances until the epilogue. In her memo she laments the failure of WICKED, while still acknowledging their noble, original goal. The fact that she evidences this duality of understanding, and her ability to also transition to an alternate plan--demonstrate a change in a character not present anywhere else. Thomas pays lip service to moral dilemmas, but never considers them for more than a paragraph or two. He's too busy being irrational and acting through the linear plot line he's been tracking since the beginning.
Third, the exposition is very lazy. As an example, consider when Thomas is being told to plant the device in WICKED's headquarters. "Planting" a device is a pretty cliche thing to do, except in this case an advanced weapons expert has to instruct him on how to "plant" it; only we discover that planting it involves nothing more than pressing a button and putting it somewhere. Anywhere, it seems. So Thomas's instructions, which required an advanced engineer to explain, would have been no more than "press this button and put it anywhere in any of the buildings". This of course means that Thomas wasn't necessary to plant the device. Any one of the immunes could have pressed the button and put the device somewhere at any point. In fact, they apparently didn't need to put it anywhere specific. It didn't actually even need to be planted. It just needed to be there. Even "though that's going to be our hardest task" according to Vince. Apparently not. Thomas strolls in, leaves it in the bathroom, and voila: the world's strongest organization is overthrown by a couple hundred rebels. That's just one example, and there is no need to itemize them all at length.
Mostly though, this story lacks the compelling elements of the first book. The poor dialogue and stereotypical, flat characters are still present as early as The Maze Runner, but we're distracted by a dynamic, unique environment in the maze. Dashner is able to deliver intrigue with an imaginative setting that he does a good job of creating. The maze itself, and the uncertainty about why it exists, stands as a sort of character unto itself. Once that evolving, interesting, and dynamic pseudo-character is gone we're left with little other than the flaws: below-average exposition, scant and repeating imagery, terrible dialogue, and characters who don't grow enough to sustain interest.
I was glad to finish the book to know how it actually ended, though despite all WICKED's lies and tricks and the duration of the trials and variables, and the late-introduced characters and organizations there was almost no satisfaction in its conclusion--other than relief. I'd recommend reading the first book and stopping when the characters press the PUSH button. That's the high point of the entire trilogy, and the last moment when there truly is a compelling reason to wonder what is going to happen next.
Absolutely not and I wasn't even expecting much from this book. The Maze Runner was close to a hit for me, but the Scorch Trials sucked so bad I knew the odds of the Death Cure being good were slim to none. I wasn't in love with the idea of that, but I had accepted it; kind of like the calm before the lady doing your Brazilian rips off the wax...
It was going to hurt, a lot, but you would get over it.
And then come back for more.
That was my experience with the Scorch Trials, anyways. That book blowed; I scanned the last 50 or so pages. Even with all that I was still excited about this book...but my trust was misplaced.
The beginning of this book shows us the typical cafeteria scene on the first day of school every where; the Glader's reuniting with their friends and mewling about how messed up WICKD is. I was annoyed at this, but okay with it in a way; the plot of this series had already been beat to hell, so I knew dumb things would be stretched out to fill out an otherwise pointless book.
But then Thomas starts doing that flip flop mess again and I started to lose it.
If you've read the Maze Runner, and especially the Scorch Trials, you know Thomas has a habit of being 100% sure on a decision, even going so far as talking to himself for dang near forever when it comes to said decision, but still second-guess himself and negating all those empty words seconds later; he does this ten times each chapter. I don't know if this is supposed to bring suspense to the book, but it doesn't. If anything, it shows me the author knows his story is shot. Why do I say this? Glad you asked.
When a writer doesn't have any steam to go on, any laurels driving their character, the book will always flop. For Thomas, his purpose was used up at the end of the Maze Runner. In the Glade/Maze, his ultimate goal was to free the Glader's from the maze and shake things up; he was "the chosen one", the Bella Swan in a sea of Jessica Stanleys...but all of that's over now, so he's just like everyone else; hence, sucky books. The author knows Thomas is shot, so all he has left is nonsense suspense in the form of a rambling inner monologue more Mommy Dearest, than American Psycho.
And it's annoying.
To make matters worse, we finally see Thomas's sissy behind has low self-esteem. He's crying over Theresa one moment, and then burbling over Brenda; a girl he just met. I just shook my head at this; is he a boy or Agador from the Birdcage?! (FYI: I love that movie. "I do not wear shoes, cause they make me fall down")
I mean, dang, hasn't he heard...
The best way to get over someone is to get under someone?
I don't know where I heard that, but I'm pretty sure a guy said it. Not saying it's true, but he's a teenage boy; what teenage boy is all tied up in emotions?! Anyway, Thomas is inconsistent and pissy; he starts mess, and then tells his friends to think about what they're doing. Umm...didn't his bich asp recommend what the fudge they're doing in the first place?! Shouldn't HE have thought about it first!!!!!? Bish whet?!
I have to admit, though; some parts grabbed my attention, only to turn into false leads; I'll go into this more below.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
II. The Characters: Could I Relate to Them?
Not at all. I typically break this section down by character, but all the characters in this book fell flat. The once mighty Glader's with a strong spirit of teamwork fueled by Alby's leadership are gone now. They say they want nothing to do with WICKD, say they'll stick together, but ultimately they don't.
Much like Thomas in this book, everyone else has used up their driving force. Theresa already accomplished her goal; set off the trigger in the Glade/Maze, so they could move to the Scorch Trials. Now she's nothing more than random comments, too long stares and random conversations with Thomas. Newt isn't any better. The calm-headed boy we knew is gone; he's slowly losing his mind due to him being infected with the flare and not being immune to it. Minho is pretty much the same, but he constantly deferred to Thomas which made me wonder when the hell THAT became a thing. Brenda is random and extra; a way to deliver key plot information without the work of making the plot make FREAKING sense. Everyone else in this book is just nonsense.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
III. The Plot: Was It Well Paced?
I didn't even read all of this book, but I can tell you there's no plot. Why? Because everything that could've happened in this series is straight up given to us on a platter in books 1 and 2. All we heard in the Maze Runner and especially the Scorch Trials was that patterns were needed, that everything would make sense in the end. We're initially led to believe that WICKD is watching without so much as a drop of sympathy for the kids...until they pick up Thomas in the Scorch Trials after his asp gets capped. See all that up there? ^^^ That tells us everything we need to know.
I read a couple of other reviews, along with scanning the last few pages of the Death Cure after DNF'ng around the 90 page mark; there's no plot to be found. WICKD ends up being the typical good guy who went wrong while trying to save the world. We're told this about them when they save Thomas, revealing their presence to the Gladers in Group A.
We're told patterns are needed, that they're needed to find the cure. In the first book I was curious to see what this meant because there was never concrete evidence of what the hell they were, but then you read the Scorch Trials and see those patterns were bullship the entire time; they can't even explain why they're important because THEY don't even know what they are! It's a bunch double speak & pomp/circumstance promulgated by diva scientists w/o imagination.
So then we get to the Death Cure and we're told the kill zone is the brain; they're analyzing brain patterns to get the cure. Let's line this ship up: WICKD puts kids in horrible situations to see how they'll react, but (as they said themselves) the majority of the kids are immune to the Flare; only a few aren't. So how are the reactions of those who are immune, and most valuable, important? Wouldn't the whole thing be for naught since someone immune to the Flare won't fight it in the normal way? Wouldn't there be little to no activity, since the brain is (as previously stated) immune to the disease?! With only a few in the group who aren't immune, they're the "controls". How the fudge does that work?! In any research with a control group, the ones who can provide valid results are the key; this book's fudging stupid.
And about Thomas hiring Janson and all those other nobodies. If Thomas was in charge at one time, having took over for the original people that got murked, how is it HE went into the Maze?! The boss isn't out in the field risking himself; the boss is in his office looking out a big asp window counting his money. In what world does he allow someone to erase his memory, put him in a fudged up situation and take away his power!?
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
IV. World Building: Did I "Get" It?
Not. At. All. This book was a big asp ball of random events and nonsense. We have Thomas saying he used to live at WICKD headquarters; we have Brenda working for WICKD, but supposedly she had the Flare; and so many other random asp things. We have Jorge, the once ruthless landlord of a fudged up building in the Scorch, who is now begging for explanations instead of figuring out what the fudge is going on himself.
I swear to goodness, when Jorge explained how he begged the Gladers in Group B to explain what was going on when they burst into that big asp room (whatever it's called) I threw my book across the room. Isn't this the motherfudger who was ready to cut a bish if you looked at him wrong?! Now he's begging for answers?! HELL NO!
This book was freaking horrible. I wish I could unread it.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
V. The Ending: Did It Make Sense?
I don't know, since I DNF'd it, but I don't give a damp.
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