Title: The Death Cure Series: The Maze Runner Trilogy
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
What’s that I hear? I finished this book months ago and haven’t posted a review despite the fact that the book’s been out for over two years? Pipe down shuckfaces, I’m getting to it. Who’s ready for a chat about the conclusion to James Dashner’s dystopian sci-fi trilogy? Where do I begin, how about I start at ‘can I get an Amen now that that’s over?’ AMEN! Also, fair warning, this review will contain SPOILERS.
Not that it matters, because no questions were answered in the making of this book, apparently. And there were a lot of questions to be asked. Like why Thomas joined WICKED in the first place, and why wouldn’t you want your memories back in order to understand what exactly you were rebelling against?! And who the hell makes a ‘plague’ to control entire populations without first testing out what exactly the bloody side-effects are? If you scratch the plot enough I feel it’ll crumble like a brittle branch on a tree that’ll see you plummet from that place you sit suspending your disbelief. If, like me, you tore through the book trying to find a reason to like Thomas let me save you the trouble- there isn’t one. I’m kidding, but seriously I think in the end he should have sacrificed himself for the sake of the others. Because sure he considered everyone his friend, he may even have had conflicted emotions in regards to Teresa and Brenda (more of which I will discuss further below in it’s own category of ‘What the actual?’) but in the end Thomas felt like someone being pulled along by forces outside of his control no matter how he responded.
Minho and Newt were the only characters I liked, aside from Jorge who was just around and did cool things like calling everyone ‘brother’ in Spanish- every time he spoke, ‘hermano- what jew doing? Hermano, no don’t do that ese.’ Great characterisation. Now I liked Minho because he was a simple guy- wanted to survive, did what it took and was just likeable. I don’t know whether it was because in contrast to Thomas, anyone could have been likeable, but I found Minho much more pleasant than I did Thomas. Also, the emotion. Minho had more human emotion in his pinky than Thomas seemed to have in his entire body. Chestnut aside, Minho was an interesting character which I would gladly read more about. Now Newt. Dear, sweet, unfortunate Newt. Another well-written character having to interact with poorly-written ones- I’m looking at you, Thomas. I felt more of an affiliation with the Cranks than I did with Thomas, and I don’t know if this says something about me in particular, or whether it’s because I have a point. I’m going with the latter.
Newt, struggling with the weight of knowing he’s slowly going insane with the Flare, wants Thomas to kill him. He’d given Thomas a note to read when the time was right, “Kill me. If you’ve ever been my friend, kill me.” Thomas doesn’t have the balls to do it until much later, shooting Newt in the head. Understandable, who’d want to shoot one of their best friend’s in the head? But it’s choosing the lesser of two evils, letting Newt live out the rest of his days the way he was going, as a Crank, would have been the cruelest option by far.
What the Actual?!
I understand the need for a triangle, the romantic angle appeals to the reader, I suppose, keeps ‘em in suspense. Here’s the thing, while romance and a romantic triangle have the potential to humanise a book, when done well, it just aggravates the reader when executed poorly. And it was executed rather poorly here. First of all, it would have benefited from fleshed out female characters. Teresa was around for all three books and I felt like I hardly knew a thing about her, certainly not enough to decide whether or not I liked her- and then she’s just killed off. Thomas’ reaction is priceless. It’s like he’s watching Teresa get onto a train, rather than be crushed to death by a slab of ceiling which she saved him from. If Thomas were to be examined by the authorities, following the death of a spouse, they’d rule that he’d concocted the entire thing in order to start dating Brenda. It just seemed that way, okay? And who the hell is Brenda in the end, but someone who also lied to him from the beginning of their relationship? At least Thomas had known Teresa since he was a child and what she did she did out of necessity- at least in her own skewed way. We won’t really know because Teresa’s motivations were largely kept from us. And we’d also never know if Thomas and Brenda knew each other before the Flare because Thomas refused to let them return his memories. In the end Teresa’s death seemed almost inconsequential to Thomas, I think he cared more about Chuck’s death- and Chuck’s death was a product of WICKED’s control. I suppose it was a way to redeem Teresa’s transgressions and open up the pathway for Thomas and Brenda to skip happily off to a paradise filled with Munies (derogatory term for Immunes), but it just came off looking like a cop out. Yeah, I said it. Suddenly Teresa was expendable?
Honestly, Dashner should have made the ultimate sacrifice and killed off Thomas. I don’t know if I have much else to offer, if you’ve made it this far I’ll give you this. Dashner’s writing improved, his characterisation took a dive and his world-building, granted it’s ours just set in a world where the our Ozone layer’s gone kaput and the sun’s scorch has ravaged the land and the governments stupidly released a plague to control people but it backfired and ended up making them UNcontrollable, is pretty cool. But this is a series I’m quite happy to be done with. Doesn’t mean I’m not excited for the film. Yay!
Honourable Mentions: – I was left feeling like one of the subjects, kept in the dark for the most part and wishing I was somewhere else. – Even Janson felt more developed than Thomas and he was the bad guy. Also, what a wack job- but then again he had contracted the Flare. What was Thomas’ excuse? – Chancellor Paige stepped out of those memos and into our hearts. Not really, but Wicked is Good. Also, not really. Every government that took part in the release of the Flare were incompetent fools. Wicked is Stupid, more like. – I may review Rae Carson’ Fire and Thorns trilogy next. Great female protagonist, interesting world and lore, an all-round epic read. Any thoughts? Anyone? Anyone out there? *echoes*