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The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2) Paperback – September 13, 2011
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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
“Wonderful action writing—fast-paced…but smart and well observed.”—Newsday
“[A] nail-biting must-read.”—Seventeen
“Breathless, cinematic action.”—Publishers Weekly
“Heart pounding to the very last moment.”—Kirkus Reviews
[STAR] “James Dashner’s illuminating prequel [The Kill Order] will thrill fans of this Maze Runner [series] and prove just as exciting for readers new to the series.”—Shelf Awareness, Starred
"Take a deep breath before you start any James Dashner book."-Deseret News
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.
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OK, so, I read the first book, The Maze Runner, and was hooked. It was honestly the best young adult novel I had read in a while, and I was on fire to get The Scorch Trials (no pun intended). I was very pleased when the book came earlier than expected, and I began to read immediately.
To be honest, it wasn't that great of a story. I mean, I loved reading it and all, don't get me wrong, but it was just the kids walking across the desert, and slowly getting bumped off by new monsters (um..please tell me if anyone else was upset when Thomas didn't save Jack). Maybe Dashner was trying to do away with unnecessary characters... but, if that was a case, he could have tried a tad bit harder. I mean, Jorge - I'm sorry if that isn't how it's spelled - was barely in it, after the initial bargaining scene.
Another thing...wow. WHAT was with that movie?
All the bits about founding a society were gone, replaced by a series of events that just felt like sheer randomness. People would get kidnapped only to be rescued half a chapter later. There was no forward momentum, just a bunch of running in place. The kids end up almost exactly at the same place in the end as they started in the beginning, with very few additional answers.
A bunch of kids died, but they were all NPCs (literally labelled as having no importance whatsoever) and no one even bothered to stop for even the pretense of mourning. There were what, eleven people in the group and Thomas couldn't even figure out their names.
Very few of the puzzles could be solved mentally. Most of them were "press x not to die" - style. Survival seemed to rely on flipping a coin. And when anyone who had any actual story relevance got hurt, it never actually had any effect on the plot. Got massive burns? Don't worry. They won't have any impact on you at all, despite the fact you're running across a desert with no water. (Not that there was much thirst, despite the fact that they were traveling on something called The Scorch.)
Instead of learning anything interesting about the world, most of the main character's internal runtime is devoted to the world's most tepid love triangle. I felt like I was being slapped to death by red herrings. Does she love me? Is she going to betray me? No, because you're stuck in a stupid YA book that thinks senseless plot twists cause adrenaline rushes.
Then there were the portions of the book that just made me burst out laughing. ARE YOU AFRAID OF ZOMBIES STEALING YOUR NOSE? DO YOU BELIEVE BRAIN DISEASES CAN BE CURED BY FEELZ? DO YOU LIKE HISPANIC PEOPLE WHO ALWAYS ADD MUCHACHO TO THE END OF THEIR SENTENCES? IF SO, THIS BOOK MIGHT BE FOR YOU!!!
Or, to reiterate: ugggggghhhhhh.
(Warning there are spoilers in this review) “Thomas” and his friends have just been picked up by “W.C.K.D” The evil corporation that has been putting them through these tests. “W.C.K.D” gives the kids pizza when they get back from the maze and the next morning wake up in a weird room in “W.C.K.D”. “Thomas” is still morning over the death of his best friend “Chuck” and the rest of the guys that were lost in the “Maze”. “Thomas, Newt, Minho, Teresa, and a few other Gladers” escape W.C.K.D after learning that (spoiler!) they wanted to kill “Thomas” all along and that they put them in the maze. The Gladers escape with the hopes of not being captured and being tested on anymore but soon come to realize just what the “Flare” is face to face out in the “Scorch”. This story is amazing and almost seems hopeless for the “Gladers” but new faces will come into play in the story as well as losing some key character along the way.
This story is different from the “The Maze Runner” where everything was being controlled by “W.C.K.D” but now Mother Nature and the “Flare” control them and what they plan on doing in this hopeless story for a cure of the “Flare”. The choice is yours to whether to read this badass book about survival and zombies! Or you could just not read it at all.
Top international reviews
Scorch Trials wasn't exciting or thrilling, it didn't have me on edge wondering what's gonna happen to the characters. I found it quite boring and hard to read. Even though I read it in roughly 4 hours, I think the reason I read it so fast was because I was anticipating something really exciting to happen but it never came.
To be a bit more positive I thought the beginning and end were alright. But I was most disappointed with the middle. From everything I've learnt at school, the middle of a book should have a few interesting things happening. Scorch Trials did not succeed that.
In the first book I thought Thomas' cleverness showed through very well and you knew from the beginning he was special but in scorch trials I felt like I couldn't connect with the character and Thomas seekers to go along with what everyone else was saying without having a mind and voice of his own.
After reading the first book I was eager to read scorch trials to find out what happened to everyone but now I'm not so eager to start reading the third book.
Sorry for such a negative review I usually write more positive reviews. Scorch Trials just didn't meet my expectations.
Having said all of that I did very much enjoy the book and intend to read book 3, it was just a shame that it didn't follow on from the first book as well as it could have. I would recommend if you really enjoyed book 1, but if you had issues with book 1 then this might not be the one for you.
A FEW SPOILERS AHEAD
Very early on you realise the maze was just the beginning, Thomas and the Gladers are now facing the next test in blistering heat, with constant manipulation from WICKED and the horrors of the infected. With this book it begins as if they are now finished with the trials, lulled into a false sense of security which is instantly ripped away. It's an intense book that will shock you moment to moment. You realise that WICKED is even more powerful than you might have realised from the first book, hung bodies appearing and disappearing in a moment, invisible walls etc. What I liked most of all is that the author does not waste time, the story flows well and the chapters are short but punchy. What is fascinating about this book and the first is that all these trials and tests are being designed strictly to gather the right information they need for safe guarding humanity and yet they still don't reveal exactly why they are needing all these variables which keeps you guessing. This book will have you question some of the Gladers motives and will give you more of an insight into Thomas' life with flashbacks and incoherent memories.
So with all of that I still only give it 4 stars. Why? At times even with all that happens you question how certain characters are motivated - Teresa in particular. But WICKED is good!
The scorch trials (known as phase 2 in the book) are much harder and nastier than the maze which after reading this seems very tame! The gladers have to endure lots of horrible things on their journey like extreme storms and the terrifying 'cranks' who are people who've caught the flare and have gone insane from it resulting in them becoming basically savage zombies! Plus lots of other horrors but I won't ruin it for you by telling you what they are. They're horrible!
The characters in the book are the same as the first with a few new additions and none of the characters are irritating or tiresome (unless they're supposed to be) and you grow to like them as the book goes on and want them to survive. Minho is the leader of the group now and Teresa isn't with the group for a big section of the story which I wont say why (spoilers!)
Absolutely brilliant story and I can't fault it! Finished it in a matter of days! Can't wait for the next one
The second bok started strongly and i was again lured into the wirld of maze runners. But before i could finish the book i stopped. The book and the main male character was starting to get extremely lovey dovey and slightlhy inaproppriate for yonger readers like me. I havent touched the book since and dont think i will until feel ready to read this sort if gender.
I hope i dont sound like i hate these books . I really liked them. If you are a tennager or an adult I would tell you to most certainly read this book. Its unique . Its powerful. And its excellent . Im pretty sure when i reach teenage years i will not be able to stop reading these books.!I just dont feel quite ready to read them rigvht now
This is especially disappointing given how unique the previous book was. I loved the concept of the Maze - it was so unique and filled with mysteries. The setting of the Scorch Trials is a desert with insanity zombies. That's far less attention grabbing. Most of the characters also didn't get a lot of development this time around. Important characters like Newt and Minho are relegated to the background and new ones like Brenda and Aris aren't really given enough page time for me to feel as though I got to know them.
At least Thomas is still likable, although I worry that he's increasingly becoming a Gary Stu as the novel does have a few messianic hints about his importance. Teresa on the other hand has dropped in my estimations. No spoilers here but I really liked her in The Maze Runner. Now...let's just say that I could stand never to see her again.
All in all, I still do want to know how this series finishes if nothing else than to wrap up the mystery of what WICKED's variables are going to be used for. Unfortunately, however, I'm not nearly as excited about this series anymore.
The morning after they escaped from the Maze they wake up to find that they've been abandoned in a building with no food. After opening the door to their dorm room they find people hanging from the rafters and Theresa has disappeared to be replaced by a boy called Aris. They soon find out that he came from a Maze just like theirs, only filled with girls and Aris was the last boy to be sent to them. Their experiences were also remarkably similar, except that they managed to escape a few days before the boys. After almost starving to death they are visited by someone who they call Rat Man who tells them that they are not quite free yet. They have to travel 100 miles north to reach a place called Safe Haven and whoever makes it there will be safe and receive a cure for the Flare (the disease that has killed the majority of humans left on the earth following the devastating sun flares) which they have all been infected with. This leaves them with no choice but to do what Rat Man says.
This book relates their journey, first underground and then in a place called The Scorch which has been so damaged by the sun flares that there is barely anything left and is inhabited by people with the Flare and past the Gone. They also encounter the other group of girls from the other maze and meet up again with Theresa and along the way they meet Brenda and Jorge who help them reach their final destination.
Of course things were never going to run smoothly. We lose several Gladers along the way, although no major players. This instalment has you questioning every loyalty and friendship and leaves you trusting no one. To start with I was a bit disappointed with how Theresa was portrayed in this book, she seemed like a different person even after everything was explained. By the end of the book I was wondering whether I knew her at all and if everything she'd done in the first book was all an act. With Brenda, I was suspicious about her from the beginning. I really wanted to trust her but with everything that was happening I didn't know if I could.
The difference with this book was that I had the needed background information about what was going on and the state of the world in general which was lacking in the first book. Again James Dashner has executed the follow up to the Maze Runner brilliantly and even made me feel like I was in an episode of the Walking Dead at certain points. There was great character development for Thomas, Minho and Newt who stood out from the other Gladers. And again just when you thought they'd reached the Safe Haven, WICKED threw them another curve ball to deal with.
Despite everything you could see that there were still going to be some complications to come in the final book despite the assurance that the trials were finally over. This book was written in such a way that I couldn't wait to read the final instalment and so had to immediately buy it and start reading it to see how the story would end - bravo Mr Dashner. That's exactly what I want from a second instalment. Too many times I find that the middle book in trilogies is sometimes lacking and has a certain amount of filler used to get you to that final chapter in the story. Not so with The Scorch Trials, I was eager to see how everything would finish in The Death Cure.
That's not to say that the first book couldn't have been, but you could get the concept that some post-apocalyptic government had built a giant maze and stuck a bunch of teenagers in it - and then send in a couple of killing robots to spice it all up.
Here we have the same organisation (I think?), only this time they can make walls, people, corpses, etc, disappear. They have fancy metal balls that can liquefy and eat your head. I guess this could happen in the future. Whose to say?
To be fair, this is an exciting little book and I've been speed reading it prior to the film release and the challenges and trials are just a constant onslaught. Really constant. I did get annoyed at one point by a throw away line: 'Thomas looked back to see how many were alive but it was no-one he was close to'. I felt let down. I will keep reading the series. I need to know what happens next.
Thrown into the action right from page one, The Scorch Trials is infinitely better than its predecessor. Thomas can’t catch a break even when he thinks he’s safe. To me, this book reads more like a zombie story with the ‘Flare‘ disease, I welcomed the new found action after the slow, boring, almost too safe life in the Maze.
This book kept me reading with its constant danger, and lack of conveniences which was something that had really annoyed me in the first book. If I hadn’t had to put it down to go to work I would have finished it in only a few hours, it was engaging and compelling.
The use of fake swear words still annoyed me but they were used less in the ‘real world’ so they were easily ignored.
I liked the character of Brenda (what’s with the old fashioned girls names though?) she seemed feisty and handled herself well although I was suspicious of her most of the way through. Theresa became less likeable and I became more suspicious of her as this book progressed but I do feel she should have been more of a main character in The Scorch Trials.
The Scorch Trials is a book to make you think, it makes you wonder if human beings could really go to such lengths in desperation.
I think this is the best of the trilogy and it was worth persevering with The Maze Runner just for this sequel.
Thankfully the worst aspects of part 1 were largely missing from this book. Only slight 'Thomas...Thomas...Thomas' repetition where 'he' could have sufficed and just 'Thomas' plaque signs everywhere to make up for the previous lack of 12,371 references to the name.
It's a great teen read. Probably a bit gruesome and nightmare giving material for under 12s but highly recommended for those who liked the Hunger Games.
***POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT*** Of course at first it was a very sudden turn of events after what happened towards the end of the first book at the fact that the maze no longer was their main obstacle. The scorch trial has quite a different scenery and goal to what they'd experienced previously. Basically, the story really does have quite a large turn, and it also (luckily) explained more on WICKED and their plots. At the end of the first book, there is a letter written by the chancellor which at first was quite suspenseful and in some case confusing, but things are easily explained in the second book.
In my own opinion, I love where things went in this and it wasn't really disappointing. It had equally enough action - possibly more. It was REAAALLY good! ^o^
I also didn't think that the relationships progressed or were even really dealt with all that much. I think that part of that is probably that the book is aimed at young boys who wouldn't really be interested in the complexities of the relationships but some books (like Artemis Fowl) manage to keep the complexities as well as appealing to a younger audience and I don't think that these books do that very well.
Favourite character: Thomas
Favourite quote: "No. I kind of accepted it, in a way. That saving you was worth losing what we might've had."
Think I might take a break before reading the 3rd book as I feel I'm losing interest!