Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.
In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.
Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.
The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.
Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?
THE SCORCH TRIALS does not hesitate to get into the action. Already by the first chapter, the reader is thrust into Thomas’s world after the “rescue” with very little development. It would be impossible for a new reader to the series to jump straight into this book. While the reader is reminded of what happened in the Glade, this limited information would not be enough to establish a foundation for a new reader.
THE SCORCH TRIALS was an enjoyable read but I do not think that it surpassed the standards of THE MAZE RUNNER. The first book was able to make me think. I was there with Thomas, Newt, and Minho solving the puzzle of the Maze. While THE SCORCH TRIALS was entertaining, it did little to make me think. It reminded me of a movie jam-packed with CGI and other special effects. Lots of explosions, lots of gore, lots of dead bodies.
However, there is still a lot of mystery behind WICKED and the Trials. We get a glimpse of Thomas’s past, giving small clues behind WICKED, but the limited information we are given are not substantial enough to lead the readers – and Thomas – anywhere closer to solving the mystery. We are still left as confused as Thomas. It’s difficult to guess what the purpose of the Trials are other than to save humanity – which is more than a little vague.
I felt like Dashner’s writing style is still a bit abrupt and choppy, but it works for the action scenes that he writes. Each chapter still leaves off with a cliffhanger that makes THE SCORCH TRIALS impossible to put down. There was a little bit of romance in THE SCORCH TRIALS, though I was doubtful as to whether or not Dashner could pull it off. While THE SCORCH TRIALS is not the next big romance novel, the romance became a nice touch, adding another layer to Thomas’s character.
THE SCORCH TRIALS is a fast-paced, action-packed book. While it is not as great as THE MAZE RUNNER, readers will not be disappointed. But be warned: THE SCORCH TRIALS will leave you craving for even more than the first book.