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Title: The Scorch Trials
Author: James Dashner
Rating: 4/5

This second installment in “The Maze Runner” series sees Thomas and the group of Gladers through a brand new simulation. They now have to go through a vast desert landscape and reach a specific point before the deadline. Sounds easy, correct? Well, it’s obviously not going to be when the place is filled with Cranks, individuals infected by the Flare. It seems, however, that their fates are sealed along with the tattoo on their necks, planted there by WICKED to label their new roles in the group.

I’m keeping my summary (abruptly) short because anything else involves spoilers for the end of Book One, or for pivotal events of this book.

Unfortunately, those who were confused by the ending of the first book will most certainly find its sequel just as frustrating. We have a tiny bit more information, but nothing substantial as of yet. I will admit that it’s slowly starting to grate on my nerves; by the end of the second book, suspense and tension has made way to annoyance. I’d like some answer. (Edit: you get some answers early in “The Death Cure!” Don’t despair!)

The story is getting confusing. Trust and facts are blurred and confirmed and not confirmed and then confirmed once more until you (and the Gladers) literally can’t trust anyone. It’s starting to lose its shine by the end of the book; the overall feeling of shock that comes from a well-placed plot twist is beginning to feel too drawn out. The reader – and the boys – have been tossed around for two books, now; I’m starting to crave resolution of some sort. I want some ends tied.

Thomas goes through personality changes and I’m not too sure I appreciate them. They’re realistic, but he lost some of his appeal. Theresa big-time loses her appeal. Everyone seems to lose its shine – sometimes a faceless character dies… Then the plot moves along. There’s no emotional depth to most of those characters, so that aspect of the book didn’t quite cut it for me.

I’m still clinging to my thesis that this is all part of a bigger plan. I will expand on this as soon as I’m done the third book. Nonetheless, I’m still giving it a 4 stars review (though it closely came to being rated 3.5, but I felt kind and gave it a 4), and I am still very excited for the movie. I’d say that the book is a clear 4/5 for about three quarters of the book, and then it drops a bit. It’s still a good read and I do recommend the book.

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