Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Release Date: October 12th 2010
Genre(s): Young Adult, Science Fiction
Purchase: The Book Depository | Amazon
❝ Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.
There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.
The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them. There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive. ❞
The second book in The Maze Runner series wasn’t as good as the first one in my opinion. Some of the decisions Dashner made in this book concerning characterization and plot do not sit right with me.
For starters, I was getting really tired of the author’s insistence and constant reminders why Thomas is the protagonist. He is unique, he is special, everything is about him and for some reason everybody accepts all of his bullshit. He annoyed me in some parts of the first book, but mostly I thought he was okay. The spectacular amount of shuck-decisions he makes in the second book really made me hate him though. Most importantly, I do not like protagonists who are consistently portrayed as unique and better than the other characters, even though they really are not. As some other reviewer put it, Thomas is a typical Gary Stu.
I’d much rather read about Newt’s point of view, or Minho’s, or Brenda’s even. They are much more diverse and interesting characters in my opinion and it is a shame that we as readers were left out off part of their journey in the Scorch because our protagonist Thomas was (again) separated from them and naturally unable to tell their tales. I missed the focus on other characters and some insight into whom they are.
In addition, I hated that The Scorch Trials involved a love triangle. Love triangles are outdated and are often so forced, as was the case here. Why are the girls forced on Thomas, why do they have to hate each other? Dashner could have just as easily paired one of the girls up with one of the other boys or girls, but insisted on incorporating a love triangle instead. It did nothing for me.
However, I did really like many other aspects of the book. Let me applaud the author for the addition of more female characters! Not only that, they kicked ass completely and performed better in the Trials compared to the boys, while still being likeable characters and not complete bitches. As much as I liked the almost-all boys group in the first book, the addition of more females created more diversity and certainly resulted in some interesting situations.
Furthermore, I got a lot more insight into what is going on with the Trials and what WICKED is. Piece by piece you’re filled in on background information, but enough is left out to keep you guessing about what is really going on. The world building was spectacular too, better even than in the first book. I loved to read what the Scorch looked like and get hints about what the real world is like. At some points I felt anxious myself because the world Dashner has created is a truly terrifying place.
To summarize this all, I dislike Thomas as a protagonist and I loathed the love triangle. All the drama and suspense, the addition of new characters, the old characters developing, the snippets of information, the world-building and new words in the Glader-vocabulary made for an exciting story though. I read this book in about two days because I simply couldn’t stop turning the pages. The Scorch Trials gets you absorbed into the story until the very last page.