Movie Prep: The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner Book 2) by James Dashner

Scorch Trials Book

Even with the cool concept, The Maze Runner was a disappointing book. The main character, Thomas, was pretty annoying as he continually asked questions nonstop due to the inability to accept his situation, and this just pointed out that the author was refusing to give the reader any answers as well. Thanks to the casting of Dylan O’Brien and some key changes to the story, the movie tricked me into giving this series a second chance. Darn you Dylan O’Brien.

When the Gladers left the maze at the end of book 1 things were supposed to change as all the secrets of the maze and WICKED were finally going to be revealed. That was the hope anyway. In reality, The Scorch Trials doesn’t just pick up right where The Maze Runner leaves off story-wise, but in unanswered questions as well. Apparently the first test wasn’t enough for WICKED to accomplish their end goal, whatever that happens to be, and the Gladers are forced out into the world outside the maze without much explanation.

The task is simple enough: get from point A to point B of the Scorch in the allotted time. In other words: run. As if the runners of the first book weren’t outside the norm enough when it comes to human capabilities, now everyone who has survived the maze has turned into marathon runners as they travel for hours at a time, including someone with a rather noticeable limp. WICKED has given them motivation to make it to the safe haven at the end of this task, but still, I don’t know if I can believe these kids are capable of this. Then again, as out of shape as I am I would run for as long as it took if I had a metal orb on my heals threatening to Pac-Man my head off. Capabilities or not, if these kids are the only hope for WICKED to find a cure for whatever has turned citizens of the world into zombie like creatures, then they sure have a weird way of showing it.

Once we get past the hallway of decapitation and into the world of the Scorch, things get a little more normal as far as these stories go, with the main threats being the environment and those still managing to survive in it. Apparently at some point, in addition to the world’s climates drastically changing, people started losing their minds in an “I’m going to eat your nose off” sort of way. Though the Cranks don’t actually feel like that big of a threat past one chapter of the book, they remain a large driving force for the Gladers within this story seeing as they don’t want to wind up like the mindless inhabitants of the world.

So with a very small hint of the why, there is still not a lot to go on when trying to determine the purpose of the trials themselves and how torturing and killing kids could be for the greater good. I was OK with not really knowing during The Maze Runner seeing as the maze is largely its own interesting and self-contained story, but book 2 feels more like filler more than anything else, giving more questions than answers. All it adds to the series is an unnecessary love triangle that actually weakens the relationship and conflict between Thomas and Teresa. I am so sick and tired of love triangles…

With book 2 being a bigger disappointment than the first I seriously doubt that I will continue reading the series. So now it is up to the movie adaptation of The Scorch Trials to determine if I will even continue on in that medium. I want to know the explanation for what all WICKED has done; I just don’t know if I want the explanation THAT much.

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