012. The Scorch Trials

5 March 2015

Continuing on from The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials jumps straight back into action, as the gladers are ambushed into another adventure. Their task is to stay alive, as they travel across the deadly scorch lands.

I was so excited to read The Scorch Trials after finishing The Maze Runner. I had such high hopes for this novel, but it sadly didn't live up to my expectations. Don't get me wrong, The Scorch Trials is entertaining, and continues to hold mind blogging mysteries that keep you on your the tips of your toes. The stakes are higher than ever, and the pieces of the puzzle are being to ever so slowly fit together. But The Scorch Trials fails to truly reach its true potential. This novel needed a clear sense of direction throughout, and to expand on certain events and storylines. But instead Dashner drags out the mystery further, and puts all faith into the final book of the series, The Death Cure - which I believe will be much more fruitful.

If you haven't read the book yet - skip this review and come back when you have. Trust me you don't want to know anything at all going into this book. The best part about this series is it's mystery - don't spoil it for yourself! So time to talk spoilers ...

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In The Scorch Trials on we got a chance to actually learn what the flare really was. Learning about the flare first hand was the most horrific thing I may have read in dystopian fiction so far - and I loved it! The whole premise of the flare is so intriguingly dark, creepy and pretty frightening. It's through the glader's interactions with the flare, that I finally began to understand WICKED's perspective on the situation. I began to feel torn - identifying with WICKED's ethos and then the horrifying realisation that if I did, I would be condoning the fact that these young innocent children, were used as pawns for a higher purpose - unwillingly.  I loved the fact that this whole situation makes you question morality. Is the end goal worth the means to get there? Is it worth scarifying part of a future generation for mankind?

One of my favourite things about the novel was the dynamic between Teresa and Thomas. Their relationship is tested to the ends of the earth, with such earth-shattering consequences! I never truly expected that Thomas would end up loathing Teresa. I had always assumed they would become an item. But considering the fact that that betrayal - even though it had good intentions - was so devastating, so heart-wrenching, I can see why Thomas can't see Teresa the see the same. I loved the fact that Teresa played this ambiguous role throughout the novel - it made the ending scenes a lot more satisfying. I really can't wait to see that unfold on screen!

Unlike The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials seems to have a lack of true direction until the very end. Although I enjoyed elements of this book - it dragged out the story so much that it affected the quality of the novel. There were times I felt like skipping pages, just to get the the juiciness of the adventure. It began to feel stale. But then all of a sudden, there would be action left right and centre. And while that was gripping, it was so disorientating. The pacing of this novel needed some serious work! But thinking about it now, maybe that was the point -  to feel what Thomas was feeling. As a writer I can appreciate that. But as a reader - I couldn't help but feel frustrated. By trying to create a similar atmosphere of The Maze Runner in this novel, James Dashner didn't give this story a chance to stand its own ground. To establish itself in its own way. 

The whole novel felt sort of anti-climatic, as it kept building to this big reveal that has still yet to come. The Scorch Trials relies so heavily on the next book in the series, The Death Cure, that it doesn't establish it's own story path. When I think it over - this novel was just about Thomas and the boys crossed over the scorch lands. Sure they witness the flare.  For 300 pages, that's very little to go on. The Scorch Trials needed to build up on The Maze Runner, and more substance. I wanted to know more about the flare, about Wicked's involvement in this universe and of course about Group B! The girls of the novel were so robbed of their chance in the spotlight. We never got to know anything about them, and I'm beginning to wonder if we ever will.
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While The Scorch Trials fails to match up to its predecessor, it holds it own elements that prove to intrigue and add depth to The Maze Runner series. As a stand alone novel however, it fails to fully capture the essence of the universe, and relies too much on the promise of the final book.

I see so much potential for The Death Cure. This entire book has led up to it - especially with the ending revelation of immunity against the flare! I can't wait to finally get my answers as to what's coming next. Hopefully The Death Cure can provide a satisfying conclusion to this series!

So what did you think of The Scorch Trials?

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