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The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

The Scorch Trials is the second in the Maze Runner series by James Dashner. It's your standard YA, post-apocalyptic, Possibly Evil Government Is Manipulating Teens situation. CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE. 


After the first book, the hero (Thomas) is out of the maze. As perhaps indicated by the title, there is another trial, and it involves things being very hot. Namely, an extremely hot desert to cross. 

Now, I'm probably going to read this whole series. I want to make that clear. I like mysterious trials and I really want to know what the hell is going on and how Dashner is going to justify what the characters are going through (there're a lot of scenes with government officials giving vague hints and it's maddening). 

But I still have a LOT to complain about, because it's a YA dystopian series and I am a 30 year old woman who will not just put up with shit.

1. Again? Again we have one girl? ONE GIRL. It's not even the same girl! Original Only Girl disappears at the beginning and New Girl shows up. Who, guess what, is immediately into the protagonist because why wouldn't you be, amirite, ladies? They're all racing against the clock for their lives, but hey, that doesn't mean you can't fit in a little romance.

Some girls are added in later, but only in the most token of ways. Just kinda "oh yeah, and then there were other girls. In addition to New Girl. They didn't say much."

2. James Dashner, I already said I was going to keep reading your books, so right now, listen to this advice, because this is someone who wants to enjoy those books: stop writing kissing scenes. Stop it immediately. You don't know what you're doing and it's embarrassing for everyone. No one "suddenly" finds themselves kissing someone. Also "And then they were kissing" is the worst ever.


3. We have to spend a lot of time with Thomas, and I don't want to hate him, but can you not Mary Sue your hero. So he's the smartest and the fastest and the best leader? Is he? He's all of those things? If that's even true, can you have him shut up thinking about how everyone else is making bad decisions and how he knows the right thing to do? People who think that all the time are terrible and I don't want to ride around in their heads.

I KNOW THIS ALL SOUNDS BAD. And yet I've already started the next one: The Death Cure. Will more girls speak in it? (maybe) Will they be sexually interested in Thomas? (probably) Will the ham-handed love triangle Dashner has created be furthered? (ugh yes) HOWEVER WILL THERE ALSO BE MORE MYSTERIES AND MAYBE SOME EXPLANATIONS? (also yes, which is why I am continuing)

Look, there is a plague that has ravaged the planet, and for some reason, putting kids in psychologically traumatic situations holds the key to that plague, and I'm gonna find out how that could possibly be the case.


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