Good news! I finished The Maze Runner series (sort of – I didn’t read The Kill Order). This is all I’ve been reading for the past three weeks, and I’m happy I’m finally finished reading. Now here’s my review of The Death Cure.
The Death Cure
By James Dashner
Published by Delacorte Press in 2011.
Warning: Do not read this review if you haven’t read The Maze Runner or The Scorch Trials. Also, minor spoilers for The Death Cure ahead as well (from the first few chapters).I don’t think it’s anything that will ruin the story, but if you really don’t want to know what’s going on, stop reading here.
Thomas and his friends survived the Maze. They made it through the Scorch Trials. And they were promised a cure for The Flare. But they’ve been lied to again and again and now Thomas knows WICKED is not to be trusted. And so, with Brenda’s help, Thomas, Minho, Newt and Jorge flee WICKED’s headquarters to a nearby city. There, they unite with an old acquaintance and discover something sinister lurking in the shadows.
Overall, I liked The Death Cure a lot, though I find it hard to pinpoint exactly why that is. Possible reasons why I liked this book more than The Scorch Trials:
– I stopped expecting to get concrete answers. If you just go along for the ride, and stop expecting Dashner to delve into the reasoning behind everything, then the book is kind of interesting and fun. I liked getting a tour of the world Dashner created – one that was only hinted at in The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials— and seeing how it’s been impacted by both the solar flares and by The Flare. If anything, I wish this series had spent more time in this collapsing society, and less time in The Scorch. In fact, Dashner could’ve halved the second book and combined it with this one to make a much more interesting read.
- The action isn’t as non-stop, but it’s much more meaningful. The Scorch Trials, if anything, suffered from too much action. It was one giant chase scene through the Scorch. In The Death Cure, the plot keeps moving, but Thomas and company actually seem to interact with each other. For instance, I don’t recall Thomas having many conversations with Newt in the second book, but in The Death Cure we get a very sad and powerful moment between the two of them.
- Teresa is mostly absent, from both the physical pages of the book and Thomas’s thoughts. If he thought about Teresa every two seconds, then maybe I missed it. Or maybe I’d grown so used to it it didn’t bother any more. Hard to say, but I did think Teresa’s presence was less noticeable. We also get some more Brenda time*, though I’m still not 100% sure that she and Teresa are actually different people.
- The ending was satisfying in many ways. Yes, we don’t get the answers to many of our questions, but we do get some form of closure. It’s probably that some of my other lingering questions will be answered in The Kill Order, but I’m not sure yet if I want to read that. I don’t actually care to read about the formation of WICKED. And much as Thomas annoyed me at times, I think I would kind of miss him. Thinking about it, Thomas was, if anything, the opposite of Katniss in The Hunger Games. Katniss wanted to know what was going on, but everyone kept her in the dark. In The Death Cure, everyone wants to tell Thomas important things, and he shuts them down. It’s frustrating for the reader, but I have to applaud Dashner for sticking to his guns on this. And it did make sense that Thomas, who had been so overloaded with false information, and who had his trust irrevocably broken, wouldn’t really want to hear what other people have to say anymore.
Once again, there was a lot that could have been improved upon in this book and in the series in general, but I think The Death Cure provided a solid ending to the series. The action goes right up to the end of the book (literally, to the very end) and still somehow keeps you guessing. There are a lot of emotional points in this book. I didn’t shed any tears, but I was still shocked by the very dark turn this series took. Sure, there were horrific deaths and gruesome sights in the previous two books, but none of them hit me like some of the events in The Death Cure. The dystopian elements of this book are much more apparent than in the previous two, and parts of it read more the like a book about a zombie outbreak than anything else, so that was fun.
The Death Cure doesn’t answer all of the pressing questions you have, but it will clear up some questions and ultimately provides a solid ending to the series. I enjoyed Dashner’s belated world-building and getting a glimpse of a collapsing, dystopian society. I can’t say I will ever read these books again, but they were fun while they lasted. Un-put-downable to the last page, The Death Cure and The Maze Runner series were entertaining to the end.
*Also as an aside, one of the things that really bothered me about this book was how all the boys hated on Brenda for lying about things, but Jorge lied about the same things, and no one seemed to care all that much.
After thoughts (a random selection of sometimes related content):
Follow up question: Should I read The Kill Order? Does it answer any more questions, or is it just annoying WICKED people the whole time?
Other books in The Maze Runner series:
Check back next Sunday for my review of A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan.