Posted in Dystopian, Rereads, review, young adult

Reread | The Scorch Trials

“The flare always wins in the end. You lose any chance of being rational, having common sense, having compassion. You lose your humanity.”

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Blurb: “Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.”

Brief Note: I am very much aware of certain allegations and I addressed these in in my blog post that is all I’m going to say on it.

When I initially started reading this series, on a film adaptation fuelled hype, this was my favourite book of the first two. In fact, it was one of the first reviews I actually did here on Charlottereadsthings and I was interested to revisit it and see what I thought of it this time around.

As to be expected with a series, The Scorch Trials is very much a “transition book.” Thomas and his fellow gladers barely make it through the Maze Trials only to be thrown into a world devastated by a disease called The Flare. They’re no closer to being free and the questions from the previous book only continue to grow in number of the course of this addition to the timeline.

I love this book because the reader starts to see Thomas make that shift from a scared, clueless boy into a sort of leader for the remaining group of boys. I adore watching him team up and work together with Minho and how they bounce off each other while focusing on keeping everyone safe. The introduction of a girl called Brenda in the scorched world really hit me a lot more this time because I was able to see the parallels between her and Thomas: Brenda is a survivor in her own way; forced to live in the “real” world seeing the true effects of the flare at work.

My issue with my reread for The Maze Runner was the attempts at dialogue and, thankfully, they are fare and few between in this book. They flow into the dialogue a lot more and I feel that the shift has a lot to do with the new characters coming in that haven’t been exposed to words like “shank.”

As I mentioned earlier, this is the second book in the series and, almost unsurprisingly, it lags quite a bit in places while the characters explore this new world. While the previous book felt claustrophobic, this one almost feels like there’s too much space. It did reach points when I felt I was forcing myself through long boring segments in the hopes it would pick up.

I like the concept of everyone having a purpose within this world. As the characters learn more about themselves, and try to piece together their lives before the maze with limited memories, they discover that regardless of whether their role is to be the leader, the glue, or the betrayer, they all have a role. And I think that is something we can all apply to real life.

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Posted in Dystopian, Rereads, review, young adult

Reread | The Maze Runner

“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.”

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Blurb: “Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive. Everything is going to change. Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.”

Brief Note: I am very much aware of certain allegations and I addressed these in my blog post and that is all I’m going to say on it.

I first read The Maze Runner when the dystopian genre was at the peak of popularity and, as you’ve probably guessed, I picked it up because of the film adaptation creeping around the corner. Dystopian was always heavily sci-fi based which often put me off – though now the genre has been left for dust I do miss it terribly. Yet, as I delved into this story, I was hooked on every single word.

This post is the start of a few weeks of posts on this series as I reread them after seeing the final film.

The story follows a boy called Thomas who finds himself trapped in a maze with no memories. The only thing he can remember is his name. Some of the people he finds himself coexisting with have been stuck in this place called The Glade for three years and are still yet to find the way out.

What I love about this story is how claustrophobic it feels: the towering walls, the limits of the place they inhabit and the dawning sense that something is definitely not right. Thomas asks question after question, which gets increasingly annoying, only to be met with half-statements from the group. As the plot thickens, it really feels like the reader is confined to this place with the character. The questions continue to build with little in the way of answers and that’s what drives Thomas forward. The amount of questions reach an incredibly annoying level, but I imagine that if I woke up in a place like this, I’d be exactly the same. It’s fascinating how the group of boys have made a civilisation and all have jobs such as farming or being doctors to keep everything running since they resided themselves to never leaving the maze.

The cast of characters is surprisingly diverse from the American protagonist, a British boy named Newt to the POC characters such as Alby – leader of the Glade –  and Frypan -the cook – and an Asian boy called Minho who is in charge of running the maze in order to map it and find a way out.

While I appreciate the attempts at dialect in The Glade, the consistent use of “shuck”, “klunk” and “just slim it” really do make the conversation clunky, especially when there’s no glossary provided to explain the meanings so the reader is forced to try and work out whether the words have positive or negative connotations.

The last time I read this book I was infuriated by some of the gladers actions towards Thomas and how they won’t listen to him and constantly shut him out. Especially the character of Gally who seems to have a personal vendetta against the protagonist. But this time around I understood him: he is partly in charge of this group of boys, he’s helped build this new home for them and suddenly a new boy comes along with a lot of questions and bad things start happening. I know for sure who I’d blame there!

The Maze Runner builds and builds until the reader feels like the tension might finally end only for it to keep dragging them along, scared and helpless to the dramatic conclusion.

Wicked is good… or are they?

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Posted in Dystopian, review, young adult

The Scorch Trials – James Dashner

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** This post is not spoiler free**

Blurb: “Solving the maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escaping meant he would get his life back. But no one knew what sort of life they were going back to… Burned and baked, the earth is a wasteland, its people driven mad by an infection known as the flare. Instead of freedom, Thomas must face another trial. He must cross the scorch to once again save himself and his friends…”
So let’s start with a quick recap.
The Maze Runner ended with the surviving gladers getting rescued by rebels and brought to a safe haven after being told that the world has been devastated by an illness called “the flare.” The epilogue revealed that the rebel group may just be another variable in this “experiment” created by WICKED.

If you thought The Maze Runner was intense then buckle up my dear readers, because this one is a rollercoaster. Pretty much every chapter ends with some kind of cliff-hanger which makes you just have to read one… okay maybe six more chapters.

In The Scorch Trials, the gladers discover that they are not the only group WICKED have been experimenting on – there was another maze. They meet the other group (Group B) and quickly realise from tattoos that appear on their necks that they are facing another test. This is confirmed when a WICKED individual tells them they are entering phase two. The Scorch.  Basically the gladers have to go outside, into the scorch and find the safe haven in a certain amount of time. Sounds simple right? But why on earth would they willingly take part?

They don’t. If they stay they die… If they go… they need motivation. And boy does WICKED give it to them. They have been infected with the flare. The safe haven contains the only known cure.

Good things about this book: the second phase taking place outside the maze means that we get to see what little is left of the world. (yay for world building)

Not so good things: everything else.  A lot of serious shit goes down in this book. You thought the grievers were bad? JUST YOU WAIT!

The character that really stood out of me in this book is Minho. He really took on the role of leader and handled the situations better than I would have; I really liked seeing the growth of him and Thomas working together after the events of The Maze Runner. They made a really great team and it was interesting watching that grow throughout this book.

I didn’t expect this book to be as intense as it was but I was hooked.

The movie is out 18th September 2015 in the UK and I don’t know how they filmed this but it will be really interesting to see.

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