Sunday, January 18, 2015

#CBR7 Review #05: The Death Cure by James Dashner

The concluding novel in James Dashner’s “Maze Runner” trilogy has a similar, helpless and not really know what the heck is going on feeling as the preceding two novels of the series. Yet being unsure and running around just trying to figure things out fell a little flat in this book, and almost seemed redundant and like they were treading water for far too long, until a hasty (though reasonably good) showdown near the end. I am glad to have gotten to the end and to finally have at least some answers as to what the maze and everything was about, though a few things still seem to be up in the air… and I don’t know if I’m entirely satisfied.

The first book of the trilogy (The Maze Runner) is very strong and interesting, and leaves you with so many questions that you just want answered. The second book (The Scorch Trials) were difficult for me to get through, and I found them tedious and not nearly as intriguing as the first novel, and even though it ended on a cliff-hanger, I found myself really not caring all that much about what happened after the final page. This concluding piece to the trilogy (The Death Cure) falls somewhere in the middle, and I finally brought myself to reading it after seeing the film for the first novel and realizing that, hey, I kind of do want to know how it all ends. Plus Dylan O’Brien has really pretty eyes.

The Death Cure picks up with Thomas and the rest of the Gladers at the WICKED headquarters after being picked up from crossing the scorch as a part of their second phase of testing. They learn that they were chosen for testing to read their brains due to being immune to the Flare disease that is infecting countless people on the planet (well, most of them are immune anyways), and WICKED plans to give all the subjects their memories back in order to complete the final phases of testing. Thomas, Minho, and Newt, however, refuse to learn about their pasts in helping WICKED and break out of the facility with Brenda, who they met in the scorch but happens to actually work for WICKED as well.

From there, they finally get to see what has become of the world and what cities look like now. Upon reaching the city of Denver, they realize they need to figure out what to do next, what the best plan is for not only their survival, but also others who may be threatened by WICKED’s continuing plan to wrangle up new subjects to put through grueling trials in a search for a cure for the flare. There is a lot of running around and not really knowing where to go or what to do, and new alliances are made with a group called the Right Arm who want to take down WICKED, and old alliances are put to the test. There is always a continual question of who is to be trusted and if what Thomas and his friends are doing is the right thing. Just like in the other books, we have as little knowledge of what is really going on as Thomas does, which sometimes can be intriguing, but can also be frustrating as there always seems to be more questions than answers. Inevitably, everything ends in a showdown between Thomas, his allies, and WICKED.

Dashner writes quite good action sequences, though sometimes they fall into the trap like what often happens in The Hobbit films: something or someone pops out of nowhere to save a person right before they are stabbed/shot/fall off something, etc. You could also see that there was an attempt to make an emotional piece with Theresa and Thomas near the very end and yet I found that I just stopped caring for Theresa a long time ago. And some others. Though not everyone. It was kind of mixed-bag in terms of affection for characters, to be honest. 

Overall I feel as though the ending somewhat makes sense and ties things together reasonably well, and yet I still feel like I wanted more. I’m not sure what it is that I think is missing, but there’s just… something.

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