Erin's Reviews > The Scorch Trials

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
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's review
Mar 09, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: action-packed, dark, dystopia, little-romance
Read from April 06 to 07, 2012 , read count: 1

2.5 stars. Because I enjoyed reading it but I know it wasn't that great.

Wow... this was structured very differently than The Maze Runner was. I think that's the main reason so many people prefer the first book. It had a neat and tidy format, with a contained setting (the Glade) and a straight-forward "mystery". This, on the other hand, had no cohesive setting, and the characters' intentions changed from chapter to chapter.

In some ways, it reminded me of The Hunger Games. Not in quality, but in subject matter. Because, to me, the biggest weakness of this book is that it feels pointless. I have absolutely no clue whatsoever how putting the poor kids through so many trials is going to help save the human race. It just doesn't make logical sense to me. So it seems as though WICKED is just Dashner's version of Gamemakers, putting children through atrocities just for laughs.

At one point a character even says "Let the death games begin." omg hunger games.

The one other thing that stood out to me... and I mean REALLY stood out to me... was how boring of a character Thomas is at first glance. And this is completely intentional on the author's part! I mean, check out these quotes:

1. "For some odd reason Thomas wanted to say something funny back, but he couldn't think of anything. If he'd been funny in his old life, every scrap of humor had certainly vanished in the memory swipe."

2. "Was that a joke?" Minho said. "Did Thomas the boring slinthead actually make a joke?"

3.[after trying to be funny] "When not a single person laughed, or even smiled, he [Thomas] coughed and hurried on."

See? That was proof that Dashner wanted Thomas to be humorless and, in some ways, bland. That is a serious departure from most authors, I think. Generally people like characters with a sharp wit, but Dashner chooses to take Thomas in another direction.

I think Thomas, instead of being light-hearted or funny, is emotional. Every reviewer points this out-- he is constantly crying, puking, fainting, or moping. He is so, so, so serious. In some ways he reminds me of Alek from Leviathan, only Mr. Westerfeld is, in my opinion, the better author, and Alek is much dearer to my heart than Thomas could ever be (understatement of the year).

Thomas is not Minho. Minho is the one who takes everything in stride, and makes the kind of jokes the other boys will laugh at. Newt, too, fills this part, although I think of him as more of a mix of Thomas' seriousness and Minho's carelessness. In other words, he is perfect.

But I digress.

Thomas, like I said, is serious. He is literal and emotional and I don't imagine him laughing easily. This makes him an easy target for WICKED's mind games, I think. His reactions in the last third of the book to WICKED's most cruel tests are more palpable because of his personality traits. Thomas takes everything very seriously, and unlike the hardened boys (and girls) around him, he can't just shrug everything off.

I don't know if that makes him a successful character (like I said, many reviewers complain about how boring he is), but I think it makes him unique. And it made me pity him more during the horrible trials toward the end.


I didn't think it was significantly better or worse than the first one. Minho and Newt are still my favorites, and I was a little sad that they were expelled from the narrative for large portions of the book. It was interesting and well-needed to learn more about the post-apocalyptic world Thomas inhabits, but I'm still frustrated by how little has been revealed. If the third and final book doesn't offer sufficient explanations, my attitude toward this series will be sour indeed.

(view spoiler)

And this is a spoiler for the third book. So don't click if you haven't finished the series.
(view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

04/07/2012 page 138
38.0% "For some reason, I am reading this REALLY fast."
11/22/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Annalisa I think this one is better.

Dania Why 'Newt Gingrich'?

Dania oh, ahahhaa ;D

Megan what was the hint you marked that brenda could be working for wicked?

Erin Unfortunately I don't remember, as it's been 2 years since I read it. I'd guess that she said something that was a little off, and instead of ignoring it I guessed that it was a hint she was hiding something. But I don't really remember!

Megan Thank you for the reply. I didn't even think I would get a response considering how long ago you wrote your review! I liked your review a lot by the way. It's definitely the best one on the front page and I found myself nodding my head while reading it.

message 8: by Kelley (new)

Kelley Ceccato NEVER TRUST A WOMAN. If this is truly the ethos of these books, nothing will ever persuade me to read them.

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