James Dashner’s The Scorch Trials picks up the story of the Gladers after The Maze Runner ends. The trials for this group of young men have just begun. The Maze was only the first part – after a brief break, they find themselves plunged into the Scorch – an area desolated by the solar flares that have scourged the planet. The Scorch is inhabited by Cranks, people who have been mentally affected by the Flares.
The boys have a new recruit, Aris, and Teresa has been forced to join a group of girls who also undertook the Maze experiment, and are somewhere out in the Scorch with instructions to kill our main character Thomas.
We find out more about the goals of WICKED in this novel – to create a mental blueprint of minds that can withstand the Flare, but it lacks the drama of the first novel. The Maze Runner was a study of human nature – how people respond to trauma and adversity. When imprisoned in the Maze some characters sought freedom whilst others looked for security. None of these conundrums present themselves in The Scorch Trials. For most characters the challenges are mainly physical. For Thomas though, he has to deal with the question of Teresa’s possible betrayal.
We don’t get any new insight into any of the characters, only a little into the world itself. Dashner is treading water a bit here. For a long time not much happens. I needed a bit more in this one.