The Scorch Trials: Maze Runner, #2 -- James Dashner
So apparently, I never wrote about The Maze Runner. Weird.
For those of you who haven't read it, SPOILER ALERT: They get out.
Something that has bothered me since the beginning of the first book: If the organization WICKED is good, why in the world did they go with such a ridiculously shady acronym?
The Scorch Trials begins mere hours after Thomas, Teresa and the rest of the Gladers escaped the Maze. The morning after their rescue, they find their rescuers dead, their building surrounded by plague-ridden people, and Teresa inexplicably replaced with a boy called Aris -- but not before they see a sign on her bedroom door that indentifies her as "The Betrayer".
Also inexplicably (though none of the guys should be surprised by anything at this point), Aris claims to be from the Maze -- but in his Maze, the Gladers were all female. Oh, and over the course of the night, every Glader received a tattoo: Thomas' says "To be killed by Group B".
Yes. As you may have guessed, the Trials are far from over.
Like The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials is an action-packed page-turner with a high body count*. The prose is sometimes awkward:
"With thoughts of revenge actually comforting him in a sick and twisted way, he finally fell asleep." (p69)
"He cast his special look that meant he was only kidding, but Thomas wondered if a little truth might be hiding in there somewhere." (p103)
but the story moved along so quickly that I didn't stop to complain. (Much.)
I found it less compelling than the first installment, as there was less mystery: In Book One, the characters didn't know anything about anything, and part of the fun was piecing together the story, whereas in The Scorch Trials, they have a more precise goal.
That isn't to say that there aren't surprises. There are. And plot twists galore. And there were certainly moments when I didn't know who to trust. But it very definitely has that Typical Middle Of A Trilogy feel -- less Story For the Sake of Story, more Move Plot and Characters to the Necessary Places for Big Reveal/Final Showdown -- which is unfortunate, but, as we all know, not uncommon.
Judging by the very end, I do think, as with Mockingjay, that the third book will be a complete gamechanger, and invested enough that I'm looking forward to it.
*This one weeded out most of the rest of the red shirts** -- I suspect that we'll lose some Major Characters in Book Three.
**Then again, there was also an influx of new characters.