The Maze Runner & The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (Book Reviews)

Well, these books weren’t very good at all. So let’s get my crappy reviews out of the way while the Americans are off work & won’t be reading this! Plus, The Scorch Trials movie is due out in the UK this Thursday so, yeah – let’s just do this…

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Book 1)

What It’s About: (from the book’s back cover)
When the lift cranks open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone – an army of boys welcomes him to the Glade, an encampment at the center of a terrible maze. The Gladers have no idea why they’re there, or what’s happened to the world outside. And following the arrival of a girl with a message, they must find a way out – or die.

My Thoughts:

First of all, I’ll say that I try to always read the book before seeing its movie (if it’s a book I’m interested in, at least). But I saw The Maze Runner last year (my review is HERE) and liked it enough that I decided it would be the next Young Adult series that I would tackle. Dammit! Well, I remember it was partly because I thought the book would explain what happened in the movie a bit more and that it would flesh out the characters (especially the girl, who seemed a bit pointless). Oh, hell no! It does none of those things! The movie is actually much better in this case (I still quite like it & do plan to see The Scorch Trials). Honestly, the story itself is decent enough that, if it interests you, just skip the books & go straight to the movies.

James Dashner has… I don’t know – an odd writing style?? It’s hard to explain. It’s like he says the same unimportant things over & over & over (it’s like one of my reviews!). The books would be a quarter of the length if he didn’t treat the readers like idiots. We’re paying attention – stop repeating everything! And, especially in this first book, it got super annoying how no one would tell Thomas a thing about the Glade & what was going on. It was always “We’ll tell you later” and this went on for the whole damn book and just got so freaking boring after a while. I mean, I’ve never written a book – I wish I had the talent to be a writer! I give the guy credit for an original story, which I did like, and he came up with some great “killer robots”, the eerie maze, etc etc. The story itself is okay but the only way I can describe it is that it feels like you’re reading something written by an 11-year-old instead of reading what an adult wrote FOR an 11-year-old…

I didn’t care about any of the characters, other than  Thomas a tiny bit. Two books in & I still don’t really care about their fate – they’re all so poorly developed. At least Thomas is the only somewhat likeable one – I was surprised at the difference in how the characters are treated in the book & in the movie (don’t expect to like Alby – he’s nothing like in the movie). I do actually want to like the characters in a story – luckily they realized this when making the film adaptation & did a far better job on character development.

Sorry – it’s impossible to not compare this to the movie! As I wanted to get through The Scorch Trials before this next movie, I read the first book really quickly. The movie is actually quite faithful to the book other than it changing some of the characters a bit to make us care about them. I feel bad trashing a book that someone put their heart into – I suppose, as it’s YA, it’s written in a style meant more for that 11-year-old age group but, considering it’s just as violent as The Hunger Games & that series is very well-written, it just feels a little odd & unsure of its target market. I still like the story and thought the mystery of the maze was really cool. Considering that I’ve picked up the final book (The Death Cure), I obviously like it enough to keep going.

My Rating: 2.5/5

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (Book 2)

What It’s About: (from the book’s back cover)
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…

My Thoughts:

I guess I’ll have to talk about the actual book this time! This book has the same writing style issues as the first book but they’re so similar, just in a different setting, that you should like it fine if you liked the first one.

I thought The Scorch Trials started out pretty good & I was kind of enjoying it more than the first book. This could partly be due to the fact that the story was new to me as I hadn’t seen the movie first but I preferred the diseased, post-apocalyptic desert setting to the Glade in the first book. I’m a sucker for all things post-apocalyptic and the desert setting is how I expect my post-apocalyptic stories to look (Mad Max: Fury Road! Hardware!). What it reminded me of, really, was the first book in the Wool trilogy by Hugh Howey. I reviewed that (HERE) and enjoyed it but for some reason never continued. I should be reading that series instead of this one! (I know why I went with this one – they’re short & quick to read while the Wool books are thick. Long books are exhausting).

So, things look good for our surving Gladers. At first. Then it all goes to shit! Of course. These kids never get a damn break, do they?! I did enjoy the book at first but hated whatever the hell it is Dashner is doing with Teresa (the girl from the first book). Speaking of girls, there are more of them in this story! But they don’t really show up until a little over halfway through & only one new female addition really has anything to do.

What started out okay & slightly more promising than the first book totally fell apart by the end. The situations got more & more ridiculous & one character’s unexplained behavior just got on my nerves. But I’m sure it’ll be explained in the next book. Of course! So if you’re looking for answers to what’s happening in this world, don’t expect any in The Scorch Trials! Seriously – if The Death Cure doesn’t come to a saisfying conclusion, I’m gonna throw the book out of the damn window. I feel that a lot of the dystopian YA books that are around these days kind of feel like the author is making it all up as he/she goes along but The Maze Runner series is the WORST for this (so far)!

Like with the first book, the story in The Scorch Trials is decent & I really liked the creepy instruments of death used toward the beginning (trying to avoid spoilers) but, overall, it’s becoming a bit of a convoluted mess & the “mystery” is starting to just piss me off. I’m off to read the final book now – wish me luck! I’ll try to not hit anyone if I end up chucking it out of the window.

My Rating: 2.5/5

30 thoughts on “The Maze Runner & The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (Book Reviews)

  1. Hmm…I hate that whole repeating everything thing. Like when you’re watching a US show and they say ‘coming up after the break’ and they tell you what you’re going to see after the break and then when the show comes back on they recap what happened before the break. I think American shows are a lot shorter than people think.

    I saw The Maze Runner and thought it was kind of ok but it sort of pissed me off, honestly, the big reveal was a big of an up yours, wasn’t it? I won’t be reading these books and I’m not rushing to watch the new film, either.

    Did you see Unfriended? You want a crappy teen movie, give that a try. It was BAD.

      • Oh yeah – U.S. holiday from work seriously sucks ass!!!! I remember I got 10 days off a year & that included any days you were sick. I LOVE UK holidays and I get really ripped off at my company (the absolute minimum of 20 days a year but double what I had in America). Plus maternity leave there is only three months – women work right up until they’re ready to drop. Lol!!! Laura! You’re BRAVE bringing up the gun issue! 😉 Yes, I bloody well hope the UK continues to have more sense than America when it comes to the gun thing. It’s ridiculous. Don’t get me started on that. 😉

      • There’s a lot I like about America. Obviously there’s the films. There’s a lot of great TV too. And umm…I’m sure there are lots of other things too. Like you and Eric ; )

        The holiday/mat leave thing is weird. How do they get away with it?

        The gun thing though, is bonkers. As someone who’s grown up in a country where guns are illegal and gun crime is virtually non-existent, it really seems UTTERLY BIZARRE.

      • Well, me more than Eric… 😉 lol. I think three months is a ridiculously short amount of time to get off when you’ve had a baby. As for the gun thing.. Yeah – it IS utterly bizarre. Totally agree with you there! And being outside of America & seeing it the way the rest of the world sees it, I don’t know how I lived there so long without giving that issue THAT much thought. But it’s clearly never going to change. If they can turn a blind eye to a bunch of little kids getting killed at school, there’s clearly no hope.

    • Oh yeah…. Forgot that about American TV. I don’t miss American TV! Aw – I liked The Maze Runner movie okay but the continued unanswered questions are pissing me off now!!! lol – No – I didn’t see Unfriended. Not sure I WANT to but thanks for the recommendation! 😉

  2. OMG these books just get worse and worse. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first film considering how absolutely dire the novel was.

    • Did you read the book first? I really expected to like the books more considering I liked the movie okay! I’ll still read that third one since I’ve come this far but I won’t be bothering with the prequel or whatever…

      • I had read the first two before the first movie and then I read the third one for exactly the same reason you plan to. I am hoping the next film is also going to improve on the book… which won’t be hard.

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