*WARNING If you haven't read book one there are a few very mild spoilers which shouldn't be an issue since they're all predictable. The spoilers only concern events in book one. Except the blacked out word.*
The Scorch Trails is the Sequel to the YA Dystopian Maze Runner and is much better than the first one I feel. We follow Thomas again, and despite the same desolation and characters, the book feels fresh and anyone could pick it up and understand and enjoy the story.
Having finally escaped the maze, our group believes everything will be okay, but as returning readers will know, the epilogue of book one revealed something else was going on. We don't have to wait long to find out what's what and the story is quickly on its way in a gruesome way. That first bit with the bodies in the main room area? Gross. But also really good since it got the message across and the cold-hearted determination of WICKED.
Thomas is still a great narrator. He's intelligent and entertaining and all that, but the most interesting for me is the amnesia element of the story. He realises that, in some way, he was involved with the planning of the Trials and the Maze, and the confusion of that- who he was and who he is- just mesmerises me. Also, though we have some idea of why the Trials are occurring (which I expect to be overturned at some point for the surprise), we never actually know. And Thomas, who we believe is good, was involved so it can't have been all bad. As the message creeps up all the time, WICKED is good (apparently). It's a huge mystery that we are kept engaged in because we are fed scraps like starving beasts, and just as we're about to lose interest, we get something more. It's really well written.
I also like how we all assume Thomas would be the natural leader, but he's never chosen. All I can think at these moments is "Why, why, why?"
The little rag-tag group of boys plus Theresa, is split up in a number of ways in no time at all. We are left with enough from the last book that we don't hate Dashner for what he does, and I think that's partly because we can see the world they're in and the situations they face. I only remembered two people from the last book and that was Thomas and Theresa. I didn't even remember who Thomas' former best friend was until halfway through (after he'd been mentioned like a gazillion times). But then, I'm just glad I remembered anyone. Occasionally I'd realise who someone was and what they did in the last book. I guess the whole point of my rambling is to say that maybe one should re-read the book (or an online summary) before picking this one up. I wasn't confused, but I think I missed out on some important details.
There is the beginnings of romance in this book (*groans*) but it's only like the seed has been sown. It uses it more for the (Spoiler- Highlight to see) betrayal element. Which, I have to say was well done. I didn't see it coming because the ambiguity of the events leaving up to it had me doubting myself and then doubting my doubts. It was confusing, but it kept me hooked and reading. I'm actually really glad they romance wasn't over played because I think I'd rage and break things if I had to read Thomas- who is amazing- become a love sick, pining fool.
And a final thing, I absolutely adored the idea of a second, mirror group. It seemed to tie in so well with what one might expect. Okay, they're not overly important here but they did seem perfect and really fitted with the story
I really liked this book, and I'm glad I decided to get it (I was unsure). I think that it's well written, the characters are great and the plot is engaging. The only reason it doesn't have a 5 is that it just didn't feel real. It was more escapism. Of a masochistic kind, if you think about it too much. Or hopeful. Let's go with hopeful.