Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review : The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

I finally finished reading The Scorch Trials! I spent around two or three weeks reading it. I used to be a pretty fast reader but work has made me a very slow one...

So The Scorch Trials is the second book in James Dashner's The Maze Runner series. The book starts exactly after the ending of the first book, The Maze Runner. This means that I can't say anything about this book without giving spoilers about the ending of The Maze Runner. So if you haven't read the first book, or seen the movie adaptation that was released last month, and don't want to ruin the fun by getting some spoilers, please stop reading.

After escaping from the Maze, Thomas and his fellow Gladers can finally be relieved and feel safe. However, it doesn't last long. The second phase of the mysterious trials begins unexpectedly. Teresa, the only girl among the Gladers who is also Thomas's closest friend, is taken away by WICKED and is replaced by a boy named Aris. Then, an odd man appears with odd instructions about the second phase of the trials: The Scorch Trials. Thomas, Minho, Newt and the rest of the Gladers must face the harshness of a scorched land in order to survive. In this phase, they don't have to run in the Maze or fight the Grievers. They have to fight something worse: extreme nature, zombie-like creatures, fellow humans with their own agendas and, the hardest one, betrayals.

The book cover

The book shocked me by putting the characters in a completely different situation. In the first book, the most frustrating thing is the isolation and the fact that the Gladers have no idea what's actually happening to them. In The Scorch Trials, they're sent into an open-space with thousands of possibilities: they could get killed by a wild storm or zombies or other people who are forced to kill them to survive. I like this because it makes things very unexpected and surprising. There is a surprise at the end of every chapter in the book, which made it so hard for me to put this book down. Very, very tense. I don't know the correct English word to describe it, but the best Indonesian word to describe this book is "seru".

What I don't like about this book is the way Thomas reacts to the things that happen around him. In the first book, he is so eager to get out from the Glade and free himself from whoever it is who puts him there. He is very, very eager to break free and he fights so hard to achieve freedom. In this book, he knows that he is used as an object in WICKED's experiments. I expected that it would anger him even more, would make him more eager to fight back. I don't mean to compare this saga with The Hunger Games, but I expected Thomas to do something like what Katniss does in Catching Fire (destroying the arena of the Games at the end). But it turns out that he doesn't. It turns out that he tends to just do whatever he thinks WICKED wants him to do. He finally shows this eagerness near the end of the book, but, still, I don't feel the burning spirit to reach freedom that I felt when I was reading The Maze Runner. When I was reading Scorch Trials, I kept yelling in my head, "Fight, Thomas! Fight!!!"

Despite Thomas's weakening spirit that I don't like, I like how my feelings about some of the characters get twisted in this book. I used to like and trust Teresa, but the way I see her is completely turned around in this book. I've always loved Minho and I still love him here. He is a bit more sarcastic and rude in this one, but it was so uncomfortable when I had to read some parts where Minho is separated from Thomas. I miss Minho sooo much when I read those parts. I like Newt more than before now; I like how he keeps the togetherness in the group. Brenda, the new girl, is also a fun character.

My favorite characters portrayed by the talented actors: Ki Hong Lee, Dexter Darden, Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O'Brien, Will Poulter and Thomas Sangster

So, I enjoyed reading The Scorch Trials, but I still love the spirit of The Maze Runner more. I'm currently reading the third book now, The Death Cure. Hopefully, the final book would be satisfying. I also hope that the movie adaptation, which is coming in 2015, would be good. I really enjoyed the movie adaptation of the first book.

Rating : 3/5

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