Author(s): James Dashner
Genre(s): Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher/Date: Delacorte Books for Young Readers / October, 11 2011
Series: The Maze Runner (Book #3)
Challenge(s): 2013 Catch Up Reading Challenge
'WICKED thinks they can complete the cure, that they're almost there. The only missing piece is me. They swear it's the truth, but they've manipulated and lied so much, it's become impossible to know what's real and what's not real. Who knows what their motives are now. Or how desperate they've gotten, or what they might be willing to do." (pg.232)Warning: This review may contain spoilers concerning The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials.
Case StudyThe trials are over and the stakes higher than ever for Thomas and his friends. The variables are all in place and a final candidate has been chosen, putting WICKED closer than ever to finding a cure for the flare. All the gang has to do is cooperate for this one last test and they will finally remember everything; but after going through so much, Thomas isn't sure WICKED can be trusted. Upon staging a daring escape, Thomas, Minho, Newt, Jorge and Brenda navigate the disease-ridden world and see the effects of the flare first hand. And suddenly, they're left questioning the reasoning behind WICKED's actions. Do the means justify the ends? Are the lives of a few sacrificed in the name of the greater good worth it? Or was there never any hope to begin with? In the end, it's up to Thomas to decide.
The Game's AfootThe Death Cure is the final chapter of Dashner's dystopian Maze Runner trilogy. Though I enjoyed the first two books, my liking for the third pales in comparison to previous installments. I was hoping for something really climactic, to be left with a big bang. Oh, there was a BANG alright, just not the satisfying kind. I feel sort of cheated because all I'm left with is a bunch of unanswered questions --- like, how was mapping their reactions to the trials going to create a cure? What point did it serve? To what extent were Thomas and Teresa involved with WICKED? Why was Thomas so much more important than all the rest? I don't always need or want my endings to be tied up in a pretty little bow, but Dashner places so much emphasis on certain mysteries that, by the end, you sort of expect to get those answers. Well, SPOILER ALERT, folks: you don't. He dances around these issues by asking more questions, and if you've ever watched the TV show Lost, you know exactly how frustrating that can be.
Another problem I had with this book (and the series, in general) is that I found most of the main characters to be one-dimensional and flat. Thomas is annoying and weak, Brenda is underdeveloped and Teresa is dull. And don't even get me started on the touch-and-go love triangle. Seriously, it needed to be omitted altogether. Clearly Dashner has some issues with writing multifaceted lead characters, particularly with regard to women which is a shame because his knack for writing engaging sidekicks is quite good. Let's just say, my love for Newt and Minho was enough to let me get over my issues with the rest of the cast. These guys are the two whose fates I genuinely cared about and they are the ones I was really rooting for. It just sucks because Dashner puts them through the ringer and no one, I repeat, no one made it out unscathed!
Overall, I really enjoyed the series though this book was my least favourite of the three. As a whole, I think the series could've been parred down to either one really long book or made into two, at best, because so much happens that wasn't necessary to the main plot, entertaining as it was. And I know it sounds like I hated The Death Cure, I didn't. There were heart-pounding moments that kept me on the edge of my seat. We lose two more Gladers and the end action takes us back to a very familiar setting. It was appropriate to end it that way, as I felt like it brought the series around full circle.
Perhaps the best thing about the book is that Dashner gets you thinking about right versus wrong and how the answers aren't always in black and white. In this war, there are two conflicting sides, WICKED and The Right Arm, and each takes an extreme stance on how to treat the disease.You start to wonder, does the end really justify the means? Is either force justified in their extreme actions? To The Death Cure's credit, I will say this--- it leaves you pondering those thought-provoking questions long after you finish reading.
Summary PrognosisThe Death Cure wasn't quite the ending I hoped for in the Maze Runner trilogy, leaving me with a maddening amount of questions. Jam packed with action though, there is some sort of resolution albeit not the one I was hoping for. There's no comparison to The Hunger Games but it's still an entertaining and interesting series at the very least. I'm intrigued to see if the prequel circles back around to answer some of those mysteries, though I doubt it'll be the next book I decide to pick up.
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