Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Maze Runner Trilogy

Title: The Maze Runner The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure 
Author: James Dashner   
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 2009, October 2010,  October 2011 (respectively)
Genre/Format: Science Fiction/Novels

Spoiler Alert! Be warned! 
If you haven't read The Maze Runner, you may not want to read about the other books in the series!

Summary: The Maze Runner - Thomas finds himself waking up in an elevator shaft, Gladers, boys who have been living...or maybe surviving?...in the Glade, are staring in at him. Like Thomas, none of the Gladers have any idea why they are there. All they know is that every morning a giant stone wall opens and at night it shuts again. Every 30 days a new boy has arrived until after Thomas a girl appears with a message that Thomas can't ignore. 

The Scorch Trials -  Thomas and the Gladers were relieved to finally be rid of the maze but they soon find out that their "trials" are not over. The world outside the maze is in turmoil. WICKED claims the kids are helping them find a cure for The Flare. The kids embark on a long journey as they are forced to cross the Scorch and face people who have been infected with The Flare.

The Death Cure - Thomas is back and this time WICKED seems like they are being honest with Thomas and his friends but he never can be sure. They offer to give all the kids their memories back but Thomas trusts Brenda when she tells him not to trust them and to follow her lead and escape. He ends up escaping with a few others Gladers to Denver where they meet up with an underground group trying to take down WICKED once and for all.
What I Think: In general, I liked the series as a whole. It was frustrating to read each book and know at the end of Maze Runner and Scorch Trials that nothing was solved. Similarly, it was annoying to start Scorch Trials and Death Cure and know that things were equally as crazy as where they left off. Honestly, you don't really know anything about what's happening until the epilogue. They very, very end of the book finally gives you an explanation of why everything has happened in the entire series. It kind of reminds me of the TV show Lost. My husband and friends and I watched that show and talked so much about it; we analyzed it and discussed it, and then nothing really made sense until the end. (Well, in Lost things still didn't really make sense once we got to the end.) James Dashner did a great job of messing with your brain throughout these books. I've heard he's going to do a prequel and I think that will clarify a lot of what went on and why. I can say that I felt better having read the end and being able to set it all straight in my head but the whole time throughout the series, I had to tell myself to just keep reading as much as I wasn't sure what was going on. In the end, Dashner does make it all fall into place. I think the whole point of the series was for it to be so unpredictable.
     The hardest part about reflecting on this series is thinking about the students to whom I might recommend this series. I guess if you like always guessing what's going to come and reading about how characters deal with hard situations and just keep on trucking, then this would be a series for you. It's kind of a sad series now that I think about it. It reminds me so much of other apocalyptic books or movies when the characters just survive to survive even though they have no idea if there is a world worth surviving for or if a world will even exist.
Read Together: 7 - 12  
Read Alone: 7 - 12 
Read With: The Road Cormac McCarthy, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card,  Life As We Knew It, The Dead and Gone, and This World We Live In (The Last Survivor Series) by Susan Beth Pfeffer (The movie I Am Legend also comes to mind but I'm not sure about the book version.) (I can think of lots of other post-apocalyptic or dystopic books but none seem to have quite the same mood as these, in my opinion.) 
Snatch of Text: From The Maze Runner:
"The lightless elevator swayed back and forth as it ascended, turning the boy's stomach sour with nausea; a smell like burnt oil invaded his senses, making him feel worse. He wanted to cry, 
but no tears came; he could only sit there, alone, waiting." p. 1

This comes from The Death Cure. I like how there is a similarity in how both of these books start, and The Scorch Trials also has a similar feel to it.
"Alone in an unbearable silence, with unlimited time to think about the disease rooted inside him: the Flare, that silent, creeping virus that slowly took away everything that made a person human. 
Topics Covered: Friendship, Loyalty, Courage, Intelligence, Leadership, Taking Risks, Post-Apocalyptic, Survival,
Translated to Spanish: Yes! Correr O Morir (Maze Runner)

FYI: James Dashner has mentioned that a prequel will be 
published next year that explains more about Thomas' past!

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