The Death Cure
By: James Dashner
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Genre: Young Adult
Genre: Young Adult
Wow. I’m hesitant to even review this book, considering it’ll be very difficult to do so without revealing too many spoilers. Particularly since many of the issues I had with the book revolve around these “spoilers.” But I will try. Forgive me if the review completely sucks. >.<
The Death Cure is the final installment of James Dashner’s Besting-Selling Maze Runner series. It starts out with Thomas at the WICKED headquarters where they were brought after finishing the Scorch Trials in the second book. Early on the in book, perhaps within the first forty pages, all the participants in the trials were given the opportunity to get their memories back, or to have “The Swipe” removed. For a reader like me, who had grown very frustrated over the course of the series by knowing next to nothing about Thomas or his history, I was pretty excited! We’d finally get to see what he had done in the past – why he’d believed that WICKED was so good in the first place! But does he get the procedure done? Nope. He, Minho, and Newt all decided that they didn’t want their memories back, both because they didn’t want WICKED messing with their heads anymore (which is understandable, I guess) and because they just don’t WANT to know what they chose in their past.
This was really where my first issue with the book started. I have a healthy respect for books in which you read and discover the plot from the main character’s point of view. You get to experience the mystery and suspense of discovering the twists and turns of the plot, as well as the bonus of really getting to know the main character. (The Vault of Dreamers – which I reviewed a couple months ago – is a fantastic example of this scheme) But there comes a time when the author finally has to deliver on their promise; you have to bring the plot full-circle and let the reader in on everything if you really want to impress your reader. And I didn’t feel like we really got this from Dashner. We understood the gist – that Thomas had willingly cooperated with WICKED and that he, at one point, thought they were doing the right thing – but WHY did he think that? What happened in his past that led him to believe that such a sacrifice of human life was acceptable? I almost feel like Dashner himself didn’t know and so he just left his readers hanging. So that was where the frustration with the book began.
After that disappointment, we finally have Thomas, Minho, Newt, Brenda, and Jorge escape the WICKED headquarters. They had initially been separated from the rest of the group, seeing as they didn’t want to have their memories returned, and when they escaped, it was without knowing that Teresa had led an escape with the others as well. Eventually, they make it to one of the last thriving communities, Denver, where they hope to meet up with the other group and find out what to do from there. In a series of connected events, they meet the “Right Arm” and – together – they plot how they can finally take down WICKED for good. And I’ll keep it at that to keep from revealing too much.
Another one of the issues I found with this book is that it was considerably slower than the previous two books in the series. In the last two, we had something strange and/or exciting happening every chapter. I’d stay up late telling myself, "just one more chapter." But that really wasn’t the case for this one. It took me a good four days to read it, which is pretty long considering it was a shorter book. I just didn’t feel as compelled to pick it up. Eventually, though, after about a third of the story, it did start to pick up, only to bring in other frustrating issues.
The first is the insanely unnecessary love triangle that developed when Brenda got thrown into the series in the second book. I think that with Thomas and Teresa’s long and interconnected past, they could’ve made a very interesting couple. The fact that their memories were wiped would have given the readers an interesting opportunity to see the couple work through serious and touchy issues. But nope. Dashner just threw in another girl and made Teresa out to be the bad guy that just couldn’t be redeemed, no matter how much she tried. Add to that the fact that TWO main characters die in this book. Two of my favorite, just to make it worse. And what really irritates me is that I felt at least one of them was entirely unnecessary and did nothing to further the plot of the book. And the other one? Well, it just hurt to read about. Just plain hurt.
That said, I still really enjoyed the crazy ride that was The Maze Runner series. I definitely liked the first two installments better, but when given such a bleak setting for the story, it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate ending than what we got. (You know, besides the two useless deaths. >.>) Despite my irritation with not knowing Thomas’s past, I did really enjoyed getting to know him and his innermost thoughts throughout the series and he really turned into a hero to root for. More so that than, though, I really admire the three characters that died to help make Thomas the amazing character that he was. RIP Chuck, _______, and _______. You’ll have to read to find out the other two!
So, if you’re looking for an intense, sometimes dark and definitely confusing read be sure to pick up the Maze Runner series. Just expect to be more than a little frustrated with the final book!As for me, I'm going to be up the prequel book, The Kill Order, in hopes that I finally get some answers about Thomas and Teresa's past!