books, dystopian, james dashner, lady ozma, post-apocalypse, review, the death cure, the maze runner, the scorch trials, young adult
Today you get a three-for-one review as I cover The Maze Runner Trilogy. It’s the last of my reviews from what I read in 2011. I read the books in about a week, around Thanksgiving. It’s dystopian, it gives you a lot to think about it, and the first book was a “book club read”.
I just don’t like hanging and this series didn’t even try to mimic stand alone novels. It led me to believe the trilogy was really written as one large tome and then got split.
Fine by me.You know I’m good with chunky monster sized books. I can easily nab all three of these and tear right through them. Which I did.
Just know, this series comes with the following disclaimer: Do not read unless you have all the books. You will just be a far happier reader that way.
On to the reviews (It’s a long post if you read the book summaries in blockquotes, sorry):
The Maze Runner
(Maze Runner #1)
Written by: James Dashner
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.
Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.
The first book holds back nothing. You start right with the action and with a main character with full amnesia. You discover things as he discovers things. You struggle to piece together the purpose of the Maze as he does.
It’s a classic writing tool and for a good reason. You immediately want questions answered and that allows you to relate with the character in the same boat. Sometimes that makes a book harder to get into, but I didn’t find that the case for this one. (Note: It did for several of my book club readers.)
One of the things I like about dystopian novels, is the look at a “not ideal society”. I’d say a society comprised of several dozen boys trapped inside a gigantic labyrinth easily qualifies for “not ideal”. They run remarkably well, which was nice given how easily this situation could turn into a “Lord of the Flies” nightmare.
I will admit, this is definitely my favorite book. I liked the questions about the maze itself, the construction alone took quite a bit of architecture/science and that led me to ponder what sort of society could create this and why.
The Scorch Trials
(Maze Runner #2)
Written by: James Dashner
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 second book takes you out of the Maze and into “The Real World.” If anything, this world is an even more broken society than what the boys created inside the Maze. Again, the broken society is what draws me to dystopian novels. This also touched onto my other favorite – post apocalypse/end of the wold catastrophe.
I even like the bad science end of the world scenario. Good thing.
What we face: A world scorched by a solar flare. Don’t ask me what happened to the Van Allen Belt or how it only scorched part of the earth and not the whole planet since one would easily surmise a flare of that magnitude would turn our entire rock into a crispy ball of death.
What happened after: Pestilence. No really, a massively infectious disease plagues all of mankind. I’d say it’s a tad zombie-like, and I’d not be that far off. Apparently it affects the mind and makes everyone a whole lot crazy and a touch murderous. And yes, there’s even the mention of cannibalistic flesh eating. Yum.
The plan: Dump the infected into scorched wastelands and ghettos and wall the uninfected off in a germ-fearing society while hoping a band of kids wandering about will lead you to a cure. Don’t ask me how treating children like rats in a literal and then figurative maze will actually cure a disease, I’ll never know. It’s not, in any way, the method used to cure any sort of actual disease.
This book was a lot of walking. Through desert wasteland scorched by the flare. Even with the time deadline to make it to the other side of the “Scorch” I didn’t feel the pressing tick-tock of the clock like in the first book. Mostly I ended up with more questions than answers.
The Death Cure
(Maze Runner #3)
Written by: James Dashner
Thomas knows that Wicked can’t be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they’ve collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It’s up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.
What Wicked doesn’t know is that something’s happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can’t believe a word of what Wicked says.
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?
The third, and final, installment of the Maze Runner trilogy answers some of the questions, but leaves a few unanswered. It even adds a few as you close the cover on this interesting dystopian saga.
What I disliked: I still say that this was no way to discover a cure to a disease.
What I hated on but secretly loved: Government conspiracy. Oh yeah. Life is better when government conspiracies. When government conspiracies go bad, it’s even better. Let’s just say, without spoiling, that is what happened.
The ending: I gotta say, I saw most of it coming a mile away but I wasn’t expecting what happened to the group. And that led me to those added questions. I’d tell you what they were, but that would be spoilers.
Overall, I enjoyed the trilogy. It made me think, which I like. I recommend it to YA lovers and dystopian lovers alike. I will say I think that the first book is far better and more enjoyable, but I wanted to know the whole story. The third book did bring back most of what I liked about the first. “The Death Cure” is my second favorite of the series.