08 November 2012

Book Review: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Title: The Scorch Trials
Author(s): James Dashner
Genre(s): Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher/Date: Delacorte Books for Young Readers / October 12, 2010
Series: The Maze Runner (Book #2)

‘Yeah.” Somehow Thomas knows this version of himself in the vision he’s seeing feels dead inside. His words mean nothing. “All that matters now are the patterns. The killzone. Nothing else.’
Warning: This review may contain spoilers concerning The Maze Runner.  

Case Study
The Gladers have finally escaped the maze only to find themselves stuck in an even more dire situation. With their saviors dead and surrounded by infected crazies called “Cranks”, they are forced to make their way across a barren, arid stretch of land known as “The Scorch.” Should they refuse--- well, let’s just say they won’t, otherwise they’ll all die at the hands of the insidious infection that’s ravaged the Earth. But there is hope. A cure lies on the other side of this wasteland and the fate of all humanity rests on their success. Or so Wicked claims. As they unwillingly become a part of “The Scorch Trials,” Thomas and the gang will have to face dangerous obstacles unlike what they’ve faced before, even in the maze. If the heat and Cranks don’t do them in first, it becomes likely that one of their own will.

The Game’s Afoot
I recently picked up The Maze Runner and though it wasn’t my favourite in the dystopian genre, I enjoyed it enough to want to read more. The Scorch Trials picks up right where The Maze Runner left off, with Thomas and the remaining Gladers at a safe-haven of sorts, a mere day after their daring escape from the maze. There’s a lot going on in this book with plot twists and turns filling every chapter. Dasher threw so much out there that I was reeling by the end. If I thought the first book was a doozy, I was wrong. There were too many questions in this one and not enough answers and it just left me confused. Dashner was trying so hard to amp up the sequel that he got lost in all the action. There was little in the way of depth or character development which is what I really wanted to see.

What I did like about The Scorch Trials is that we’re actually shown what happened to the outside world and many of the people in it. We get up close and personal with a few of the Cranks and learn that they’re not all bad. I actually felt sorry for them because of the terrible things they were forced to go through. I liked hearing that part of the story. In fact, we’re introduced to several new groups of people, including another set of kids affected by WICKED’s trials. But it eventually becomes hard to distinguish who is who or even care about them because we don’t get much of their backstory. It’s too much—too much action and too many people to keep it all straight. Also, much of The Scorch Trials is told with Thomas being separated from rest of the Gladers. These are the peeps I grew to know and love and I was invested in them from the beginning. I cared more about their fates than the fates of the new additions. Give me more Gladers, dammit! Dashner also decided to throw my beloved Minho through the ringer in this book. Not cool man, not cool.

Another thing I could’ve done without was the love-triangle between Thomas, Teresa and Brenda. It felt out of place and too forced for a novel like this. The Maze Runner was a decent debut for Dashner. It had so much potential and unfortunately for me, The Scorch Trials just didn’t measure up—like many sequels, it fell flat. I wanted more background information on WICKED and what their big plan was for the world, but Dashner just kept raising more issues and provided no resolution to any of them. Sometimes I wondered if he even knew where he was going with it all. Despite my misgivings with this book though, I figure I’ve invested enough time and energy to come back for the final chapter. Dashner did keep me intrigued enough to want to know who is behind WICKED and why they’re basically torturing these poor kids. I need to know—can the Gladers achieve their destiny and save the world or will they meet their end? I suppose I’ll just have to keep on reading!

Summary Prognosis
Overall, I have to say I liked The Scorch Trials less than its predecessor. Though there was an abundance of action, the book can get confusing with all the questions raised and the new character additions. It’s difficult to tell exactly how Dashner plans to reconcile all of WICKED’s plans but I am intrigued enough to stick around and find out.

Rating: ★★★

Read It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Discuss It: Goodreads | Author's Website


  1. Too bad this sequel fell flat. It sounds like you had a few issues with this installment, and when there's a love-triangle that doesn't sit right, that can ruin the whole story.
    Thanks for the honest review! I hope the next book is better.

    1. Thanks, Naida! I figure, I've come this far and the concept is still a promising one regardless of the issues, so I might as well push through. They can't all be stellar, I suppose.

  2. I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.
    Plot Giant

  3. Anonymous1/30/2013

    :3 Awesome book

  4. I love the book but what is the time frame?


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