The Scorch Trials by James Dashner | Book Review

June 13, 2014 Reviews 4

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner | Book ReviewThe Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner #2
Published by Delacorte Press on October 12, 2010
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 360
Length: 10 hours 22 minutes
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

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.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

My Initial Reaction…

The Scorch Trials was not quite as good as The Maze Runner, but I still liked it and am very curious to see what’s coming next.

Note:There are some series spoilers in this review.

The Characters…

I mentioned in my review of The Maze Runner that I felt like it was the story that made it strong, not the characters. I continue to feel that way with The Scorch Trials, but I think that was more of a problem this time around. The mystery has been lifted a bit, so while there are still mysterious elements, you know the bigger picture. And that means that caring about the characters is SO much more important… and that’s probably why I didn’t like The Scorch Trials as much.

The main character is still Thomas and it’s definitely still good that the story is told exclusively from his point of view. But where The Maze Runner had almost no romance, in The Scorch Trials romance is a dominant theme – and, for me at least, it didn’t work. Thomas cares deeply for Teresa, but she’s disappeared. Meanwhile this other girl – Brenda – shows up and he starts having confusing feelings for her. It seems like maybe she likes him romantically, but he can’t see her as anything more than a friend because he still holds out hope for Teresa. I think maybe I’m supposed to see the telepathy that he has with Teresa as something that fostered a really close bond, but I couldn’t see that because they hadn’t spent that much time together.

The other characters fade in and out so much that I really can’t say much about them – this is really Thomas and Teresa’s story. And we’ve seen SO LITTLE of Teresa in the two books combined, that I don’t know her at all (neither does Thomas IMHO, which is the problem). So anyway – yeah – the characters were a bit of weak point for me in The Scorch Trials.

The Story…

The story for the The Scorch Trials was still very good – James Dashner manages to pile on layer after layer of mystery. After the Gladers escaped from the Maze at the end of The Maze Runner they believe they’ve been brought to safety, but after one night they wake up to find out that they are in the middle of another test. And Teresa has vanished – replaced by a boy who just escaped from his own version of the maze. A maze populated by all girls and one boy. A Maze trial that was almost exactly like the one that the boys escaped. This is probably the strongest mystery in the series for me – why the two separate groups? What are they hoping to discover?

The Gladers end up in another test – transported to a land so hot they can’t walk under the sun without protection. And they have to walk 100 miles north through a city populated by Cranks (people infected with the Flare) and that brings trials and challenges of it’s own, especially when the two groups – the boys and the girls from the mazes – cross each other’s path. I enjoyed seeing the two groups come into contact and I’m really curious to see what the story has in store for them after this. Another really interesting element are the memory flashbacks/dreams that Thomas has throughout The Scorch Trials. I’m fascinated by the hints we get about life before the maze and it definitely added to the mystery.

Concluding Sentiments…

I wish that The Scorch Trials held as much mystery as The Maze Runner or that the characters had been a bit stronger. But the story is still compelling and I look forward to seeing the final resolution.

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About James Dashner

James is the author of THE MAZE RUNNER trilogy and THE 13TH REALITY series. He also published a series (beginning with A DOOR IN THE WOODS) with a small publisher several years ago. He lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

4 Responses to “The Scorch Trials by James Dashner | Book Review”

    • Berls

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      Me too 🙁 I was in such a rush to read book 2 and 3 and even a prequel after reading book 1, but after reading The Scorch Trials my enthusiasm faded. I even had to return book 3 and the prequel to the library unread. I know I’ll read the last book eventually so I know what happens but I’m not as enthused. Probably won’t read the prequel anymore (it’s not a novella, it’s a full length book)
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 50th EditionMy Profile

    • Berls

      Book 3 is actually out, I just haven’t read it yet. When I finished the first book I jumped right into book 2 – I just couldn’t wait. But I’m not in a huge hurry to read the third. I do have it on my calendar for a few weeks from now though – I want to finish it, but I’m ready for something different. I hope book 3 is as good as 1 was.
      Berls recently posted…When do you listen? #JIAM | Fun QuestionsMy Profile

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