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

4.4 out of 5 stars 3,851 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Maze Runner Series

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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.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: HL720L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; Reprint edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385738765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385738767
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,851 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: 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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Format: 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.
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