Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review of the Death Cure by James Dashner

Delacorte Books
for Young Readers
The Death Cure
By James Dashner
2 Scribbles
First let me say that I was enthralled by the first book in the Maze Runner trilogy. I was the series biggest fan; I even made The Maze Runner my favorite book on my website for nearly a year! The mystery of the Glade and the Maze, its possible purpose, hooked me and held me. But I admit, as the series progressed, I became less and less motivated to discover the purpose of WICKED and more and more anxious for the adventure to just wrap up. I was willing to stick with book two mainly because of the addition of new characters like Brenda and Jorge, even the though "The Scorch" was just another Maze-survival formula. That being said, I found book three to be a most painful read. Typically, I don’t mind violence in a novel at all—much of what I read, even in YA, due to my tastes—includes some level of violence. But in this third installment, I found the violence to be frequent, devoid of much intense reaction from or lasting impact on the characters, random and constant. For instance, fights are drawn out repeatedly, the author even including phrases like, "yet again" to describe the repeated pummeling that main characters like Thomas take in order to stretch the action on each page. Like the characters in the story, I grew immune to the gore, skimming over conflicts and fights, attacks and counter-attacks to get to the answers—the meat of the story. When I thought I was finally at the meat of the story, a spine-chilling confrontation at WICKED headquarters reminiscent of Unwind by Neal Shusterman, I was sadly disappointed. Instead the author offered a weak anti-climax followed by more bloodletting. And so I skimmed on. I am slightly impressed that the author fearlessly killed off a few important characters, but such events happen so late in the story that it hardly challenges his skills to guide the plot into newer, more engaging territory. Worst of all is the constant reminder through Thomas’s eyes that he cannot trust anyone. Or can he? He changes his mind so frequently that I actually quit caring who is trustworthy and who isn’t. Sadly, what starts as a strong work of sci-fi, in the end might have been better as one installment.

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