Book Review: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (3/5)

22 Sep

The phrase morbid curiosity comes to mind. I was so upset at the ending of The Maze Runner that I told myself I wasn’t going to read the rest of the series. But my husband liked the second one best. And I always find the second book in a series is my favorite. And the movie’s coming out. And we owned it already. So I read The Scorch Trials and was happy to find it was better than I expected.

Cover image via

Cover image via

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

As far as getting answers, we have a major improvement to this book: the phrase “Shut up, Greenie!” was never used. I was glad that Thomas was no longer being kept in the dark about everything. It made this book easier to read. I will say that there were a few things that were too strange to be unexplained, killer liquid metal being chief among these. I felt Dashner was taking too many liberties with his post-apocalyptic world. I felt the characters were better developed and more distinct in this installment. Minho and Newt stuck out well from the rest. I had a lot of mixed feelings which is what resulted in the 3 Star rating. It was much improved from the first book though I was upset with the ending again. Honestly, I’ll probably read the last book right before the movie comes out again.

Theresa was the only character that really bothered me. She flip-flopped between helping Thomas, telling him things we later find out she shouldn’t be telling him, and doing what she’s told to do by hurting him. I couldn’t understand it and I shared Thomas’s distrust of her at the end of the book. I couldn’t understand where her loyalties lay and what she was trying to accomplish. It really bothered me.

I liked Minho even more in this book. I liked how he was the leader against his wishes and to his credit, he was a good leader, but Thomas would have been better. He did a lot for the boys in their group and was able to keep leading them despite staggering losses in the end.

Brenda’s struggles were the most relatable to me. She was stuck in a bad situation and had made the best of it. She had a group of people to watch over her and a pseudo-family unit where she worked hard to stand out and be helpful. It worked well for her because she was chosen to help the Gladers and even though she wasn’t sure she would benefit in the end, she took a chance and tried anyway. I think there are a lot of things in life where we’re not sure of the ending but have to take a chance that things will turn out well in the end. We just have to take a risk.

James Dashner Image from Fansite

James Dashner
Image from Fansite

I liked the travels through the underground passages. It was exciting to follow Thomas and Brenda when they had no idea what was going to be in front of them. To me, it was the most unpredictable part and one of the most high-intensity.

I was not a fan of the ending at all. I felt it was too similar to the end of the first book and I hated that. I have some guesses at what the third book will bring and if I’m right, it will be very similar to this book and I’ll be upset at a repetitive plot. Oh boy.


The Gladers have no trust in WICKED. This overseeing body has put them through hell and won’t tell them why. This might be telling of Dashner’s feelings on our government. It’s not as powerful as WICKED (or at least I don’t think so) but can put citizens into situations where they find themselves in danger without permission (military drafts) and doesn’t have to provide answers to why it’s doing something (Patriot Act). This is a common theme in dystopians, especially The Hunger Games and Divergent. To be frank, I think this theme has run its course and we won’t see as much of it in the future.

Writer’s Takeaway: Dashner gets points for creativity if nothing else. One of my favorite obstacles in the book was the killer lightening and rain storm. I thought it was smart of Dashner to think that major changes in climate would mean major changes in the weather. His big ideas like this make the book exciting. It’s an element more common in thrillers, but I thought it worked well to give this book more depth.

A big improvement on the first book, but still not a favorite of mine. Three out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

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Related Posts:
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner | Readerature
Review | The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner | Art and Soul
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner | The Bookie Monsters


3 Responses to “Book Review: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (3/5)”

  1. Claire | Art and Soul September 22, 2015 at 12:06 PM #

    Couldn’t agree more! Sadly, this is the best book in the series. And if you think the ending of this one is bad, I think the ending to The Death Cure would make you throw the book at the wall.
    Thanks for linking to my review 🙂


    • Sam September 22, 2015 at 12:22 PM #

      Thanks for reviewing! The only saving grace is that these are short! I heard the end is frustrating. I’m expecting something like Divergent where the ending was super anticlimactic. Darn. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • ramexa September 24, 2015 at 3:18 PM #

        Divergent’s end was absolutely horrible. It made no sense

        Liked by 1 person

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