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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner [Review]


Written by: James Dashner.
Published by: Delacorte (US) / Chicken House (UK).
Format: Hardback.
Released: 12th October 2010.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "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?

Two years have passed since I read the first book in the trilogy, The Maze Runner, and nearly two since this book was actually released, so this review is a case of better late than never! I actually only read this a few months ago in preparation for the release of the prequel to the trilogy, The Kill Order, and I'm actually reading the final book of the original trilogy, The Death Cure right now so it's all go in world Dashner for me.

The Maze Runner ended on something of a cliff hanger. The Gladers were safe. Or so they thought. Once again, WICKED have tricked Thomas and his friends. Taken again from the relative safety, they are thrust into a world of danger and hideous, blood thirsty Cranks. The Scorch itself is a nightmare. For me personally too. I hate Summer. I hate heat. And so the thought of an expanse of land hotter than the desert and dry as can be, with no protection from the suns rays actually terrifies me. Add that to the horrifying lightning which actually evaporates your eye balls when it hits you and you've got hell on earth, right?!

Again, as with The Maze Runner, the plot is taut, and the writing rich. The only thing for me that is really missing is character development. By the end of this book, we still don't really know who the characters are, any more so than at the end of Book One. Yes, the back story is beginning to be filled in, all those gaps closing in, but there's still a missing connection with the characters that I was looking for.  But the plot more than makes up for this. It's surely action packed, danger fuelled and scary in places.

And as with The Maze Runner there are a billion and one questions raging around in your mind once you finish it. I'll be honest, it made my head swim a little bit. I'm just hoping those questions are answered in The Death Cure!

For sure, please do not miss this trilogy. I'm only two thirds through, and despite the lack of character development, it really is something special!

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