Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"We're alive - guess that's all that bloody matters anymore"

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Hat tip to myself for showing superhuman restraint.

Back in January, I ran through The Maze Runner (2009). I was so enthralled with the premise that I soon after ordered The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, part 2 and 3 in the trilogy, respectively, but my constant raving ended up biting me in the behind.

I reluctantly allowed my sister Margot AND her friends, AND my brother Marlon, AND my girlfriend Sarah to talk me into lending them the books. Fortunately, I had some new arrivals lying around in the meantime, but this weekend my time had finally come.

After escaping The Maze, Thomas and the other Gladers hope to find answers and maybe, eventually, even peace of mind. Unfortunately, their escape merely sets into motion "Phase 2", which sees The Creators push the boys even further. The new arena? A quarantine wasteland crowded with murderous Cranks. The challenge? To travel north for 100 miles and reach the safe haven. Perhaps that sounds like a cake walk compared to The Maze, but The Creators have some brutal tricks up their sleeve.

The Scorch Trials is one of those sequels that frustrate me. Dashner follows much the same formula as #TMR, and who can blame him, but he so desperately tried to create tension and confusion that eventually it becomes annoying. Every other chapter, perennial do-gooder Thomas passes out, new questions are piled upon unanswered ones, and some type of forced cliffhanger is introduced. Even though these techniques quickly lose their desired effect, I kept plodding along, desperately and igorantly seeking closure.

Which, of course, never came.

Onwards to The Death Cure!

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