You Should Be Reading: The Maze Runner – The Scorch Trials

“He didn’t care about the others anymore. The chaos around him seemed to siphon away his humanity, turn him into an animal. All he wanted was to survive, make it to that building, get inside. Live. Gain another day.”

Rating:

The second book in James Dashner‘s The Maze Runner trilogy, The Scorch Trials follows Thomas and the rest of the Gladers through their next chapter. After escaping the maze, the Gladers are told that they are now being taken to safety. But the truth quickly becomes apparent, and as the Gladers search for clues about the mysterious and powerful organisation known as WCKD, it seems that the maze was only the beginning. Now, their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape that was once a major city, now scorched to the ground and consumed by a disease known as the Flare. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers uncover the shocking plans that WCKD has had planned for them all along.

Adapted once again by Wes Ball, the second film adaptation, The Scorch Trials, is set to be released at the beginning of September.

The following post is a review of the book only, looking at how it is going to be adapted. You can read my review of the film adaptation in comparison to the book here.

Series Catch-Up:

The first book, and its adaptation released in 2014, introduced us to a post-apocalyptic setting known as the Glade, following a group of teenage boys and a single girl. Waking up in a maze with no memories of their previous lives, the group had to work together to survive and escape the maze, as they tried to figure out why they were put there in the first place.

The group begin to piece bits of information together in the first novel, figuring out that an organisation called WCKD are behind their situation and that the world that they once knew is no longer in a good state, but nothing more than that is really revealed. A scene at the end of the film gives a short explanation as to WCKD’s aim, revealing that the maze was an experiment, but by the end of The Maze Runner we’re still left with many unanswered questions as to who is doing this to them and why.

Book Review:

Published in 2010, the second book follows on from the Glader’s escape, as the The Scorch Trials gives us our first glimpse into the outside world. As the Gladers head for ‘safety’ by their rescuers, a night’s sleep and an over-indulgence of food is all they get until they realise that maze was nothing in comparison to what’s coming next, as they are attacked by aggressive zombie-like people called Cranks, who have been affected by a plague known as “The Flare”.

As ordered by WCKD, the Gladers enter into the Scorch, a desert landscape that was once a city before sun flares destroyed Earth’s surface. Here, the Gladers meet some of the survivors of the apocalypse, who have been sent to Scorch because of their infection. Through these people and a number of visions that Thomas has, we slowly start to piece together what is happening, as WCKD’s intentions start to become a little clearer.

Just like the first novel, The Scorch Trials is full of adventure, action and anticipation. The novels are incredibly fun to read, with a new twist springing up in every chapter to keep you excited and engaged. There are new technologically advanced monsters, personal tests of humanity, and struggles against a world controlled by others, which all keep the pace up, the scares coming, and the readers on edge.

But The Scorch Trials does become quite repetitive at times. Thomas passes out at the end of almost every chapter, and we are somewhat undermined as intelligent readers as the novel constantly questions whether his visions are memories or just dreams. We knew that Thomas’ visions were memories from the first novel, but as more and more is revealed with the amount of times that Thomas is left unconscious, it becomes a little tedious at times.

Other than that, The Scorch Trials is another impressive young adult dystopia, filled with dark tones, character struggles, and relationship tests, which all ensure that this is a novel that you won’t put down.

As an adaptation, there are a number of scenes that are going to look amazing on-screen, although the story is somewhat flatter in comparison to the first novel.

The Director:

Wes Ball returns as director, which I am both happy and nervous about. It’s great that there will be a strong continuity with style and tone in the film with having the same director, but there were so many small annoyances that I had with the first adaptation, that I’m now expecting the same with this latest adaptation, too.

I love The Maze Runner books, but the first film – as an adaptation – was very average. There were a number of small and unnecessary changes from the original novel in the film, such as it raining in the Glade when it’s never supposed to rain in the Glade, and whilst they were only something a fan of the novels would know, they were all factors that made a huge difference to the plot if you had read the novels beforehand. These many inconsistencies may have only been minor, but they built up into a huge flaw, leaving fans of the novels disappointed.

With the release of the trailer for The Scorch Trials, which you can see below, it’s obvious from the two minutes of footage alone that this second film is going to be filled with the same minor differences, as well. The trailer sees a lot more communication with WCKD, which may be to make the films more understandable, but it then sees the Gladers go off into the Scorch by choice and with Teresa, both of which make huge changes to the plot. And this is only at the beginning of the story.

I can only hope that the trailer is edited badly and that Ball sticks closer to the novel this time around, otherwise I’m going to be leaving the cinema disappointed for a second time.

The Cast:

For the characters who survived the maze, all of the actors will be reprising their roles, including Dylan O’Brien as Thomas, Kaya Scodelario as Teresa Agnes, Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt, Ki Hong Lee as Minho, Alexander Flores as Winston, and Dexter Darden as Frypan, as well as Patricia Clarkson as Ava Paige.

Additions to the cast include Rosa Salazar (Insurgent) as Brenda, Jacob Lofland (Mud) as Aris Jones, Giancarlo Esposito (Once Upon a Time) as Jorge, Katherine McNamara (Contest) as Sonya, Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones, Hollyoaks) as Harriet, and Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones) as Janson/Rat-Man.

The original cast were fantastic so it’s great to see them all return, and I can’t wait to see more of O’Brien’s and Scodelario’s chemistry on-screen. It’s also brilliant to see two Game of Thrones actors in the new line-up, which can be nothing but a huge bonus.

The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is set to be released on 11th September.

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