I finished The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure pretty quickly after wrapping up The Maze Runner. The Scorch Trials I was done with immediately but I ho-hummed through The Death Cure (mostly because I got sucked in by another book to be reported on momentarily.)
The Scorch Trials picks up right where The Maze Runner left off, aside from the few preview chapters. And it should be said, if not for the previews, I may not have read the second novel. I was happy enough with the conclusion of the first novel, but I am glad I read the second. Things just get worse for Thomas and his friends. We find out that WICKED doesn’t even seem to know what WICKED is up to. There are multiple mazes, the scope of which is mind-boggling. Just when Thomas thinks he can breathe a little bit, he has to walk 100 miles through Crank-infested lands. His girlfriend “betrays” him (I’m still not sure what was going on there.) This book left a lot of questions that I don’t know that I got answers for. What was the green smoke that Teresa trapped Thomas with? Is Brenda really on his side? Why is she so touchy with him? Why is everyone so surprised that Thomas is reacting to things in this way, I mean, they took his memories….
Anyway, I practically had to read The Death Cure which still left me with just questions! I get that Thomas was infected with the Flare but immune to it, as were a handful of others. What I didn’t get is how the blueprint worked. I’m good at suspending reality, it’s science fiction after all, but the brain thing threw me. Did his brain physically produce something that worked as a cure? Did they make some sort of implant that would correct the Flare? Why would they have had to remove his brain to study it? What made Thomas so special?
My theory is that Thomas died at some point. It could have been in the Maze but I think it happened as they were taking Thomas to surgery. He’s already drugged and we know he goes unconscious for a while, and I don’t think he ever wakes up. In my opinion, Thomas invents a story for himself where he escapes and manages to find all of his friends (located a little too conveniently close), gets revenge on Rat Man, kills off Teresa, and escapes into Paradise (no really, it’s called that in the book) with Brenda, Minho and the others. It was all coping.
This, in turn, reminded me of the Buffy episode where she’s poisoned and flips between reality and the asylum and we’re left not knowing which is actually which. Of course, this made me look back at the whole Maze Runner series making me think…maybe they were in Thomas’s brain the whole time. Maybe he never physically did any of it. We know WICKED is capable of anything (Flat-Trans, liquid-metal-decapitators) it’s not too shocking to think they put Thomas in some sort of coma and mapped out his brain’s reaction that way. They finally got their blueprint and were able to let Thomas die, so he invented a Paradise for himself and his friends.
If that was Dashner’s goal…that is absolutely brilliant.