The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (#2 Maze Runner)

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Published: 2010



The Scorch Trials by James Dashner is the 2nd in the Maze Runner Series.

Written for young adults, it is a post-apocalyptic/science fiction/dystopian novel.  I am not young adult, but still enjoyed it, although not as much as the first in the series.

Thomas and most of his friends have escaped the maze (Book 1), and find themselves locked in a dormitory-like structure, with a group of “Cranks” outside.  Upon waking after  a restless night, the group finds Teresa missing, and all their “saviors” dead.  A new boy, Aris, has shown up, and tells them that he, too was in a maze, but with all girls.

Thomas is even more confused when he can no longer communicate telepathically with Teresa, but can do so with Aris?  Strange.  As well, his dreams are starting to bring back more memories from his childhood, and Thomas hopes he will soon understand his true purpose.

Eventually, a man from WICKED shows up in their dormitory with instructions.  He tells them that the sole purpose of WICKED is to save the world from catastrophe, and that each of them are part of the plan.  Apparently there are two groups in this “experiment” – the Gladers, and Group B (the girls).  Those of each group that have survived the Maze are now moving on to Phase 2 of the trials.  The hardships they had encountered were all planned, and their responses analyzed, and patterns noted.  Now things were going to get more difficult, as new Variables will be added.  Told that they have all been infected by “the Flare” (the virus that is affecting the Cranks), their new goal is to travel across the “Scorch” (land which has been destroyed by solar flares), and finally arrive at their safe haven, where they will be given the cure.  They have two weeks and 100 miles to go, through the Cranks, the hellish heat,  sun that burns on contact, and lightening strikes that kill.  Not all will make it.

Thomas is seriously struggling with the loss of Teresa, while still mourning the loss of his friend Chuck.  But when he finds her again, things are not as they seem.  The two groups have been separated by more than just space, as their goals appear to be somewhat different.  Thomas and his group get some unlikely assistance from Jorge and Brenda, two “Cranks” who tell them they will help them get through the city if they give them the cure.  Thomas does not know who to trust anymore.

This book continues the fast pace of the first, but didn’t capture and keep my attention as well  as the first.  I think Dashner is slowly building depth in his characters, but I think the way he has Thomas fluctuating so easily between Teresa and Brenda, makes him seem both childish and annoying.  As well, he seems to have a bit of a “God-complex”, and others have shown both better judgement and courage.  Personally I am rooting for Minho and Newt.

Re-Read: November 2016

Favorite Quotes from The Scorch Trials:

“The betrayal meant he couldn’t trust her anymore, and his heart told him he couldn’t forgive her.”

“I’m a Crank. I’m slowly going crazy. I keep wanting to chew off my own fingers and randomly kill people.”


About the Author:  In addition to the Maze Runner Series, Dashner has written the Mortality Series, and a new 13th Reality Series.   Born in Georgia, he now lives in the Rocky Mountains.  He has a Masters in Accounting.    


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