A while back, I did a review of The Maze Runner, by James Dashner. I believe I said something about potential and that The Maze Runner had issues but I was confident Dashner would work through those in the The Scorch Trials. I am back to tell you that I totally lied.
The Scorch Trials got off to a promising start but fizzled fairly quickly under one convoluted plotline after another. Just writing about it now kind of makes me want to smash my head into my desk until I get a concussion. We finish The Maze Runner with Thomas, Teresa, and the Gladers being rescued and making it to saftey after their harrowing experiences in the Maze. However, this rescue mission was just another test given by WICKED (the group that seems to be running things? Two books in and I still don't know). All of their rescuers are murdered and Thomas and the Gladers are given instructions: they've all been infected with a disease called the Flare, and have two weeks to travel 100 miles due north to reach a safe haven, where a cure awaits. Teresa goes missing early on and Thomas ends up separated from the other Gladers. He teams up with Brenda, a teen living in a city the government has abandoned to the Cranks - people who suffer from the gradual madness caused by the Flare. He promises her the cure if she will help him get to the safe haven.
Matters are further complicated by the arrival of a new boy - Aris - and the revelation that there was a second Maze full of all girls and Aris (the way Thomas' Maze was all boys and Teresa). This group of girls is also wandering around, and from what we gather from Aris, they aren't friendly.
Weird thing after weird thing happens to everyone involved. Thomas has plenty of opportunity from Brenda to learn about the world he can't remember, and while Brenda gives him some information, it isn't nearly enough for readers. In fact, I don't understand why Thomas doesn't make her sit down and tell him everything. I'm not a fan of huge info dumps, but Dashner gives his readers the bare minimum of background information. It's like Dashners' world is a giant fucking whale - a blue whale? - and he's only going to describe its blow hole. I didn't feel like I knew enough about this world or Thomas or WICKED to care who got screwed and who got saved. And by the end of The Scorch Trials, I don't think Dashner knows either. I feel like very little world building went into this series, and it shows with the complete lack of any detailed information beyond what any given character is actively doing in the present narrative. Not only do the characters know nothing - but they don't seem inclined to fix that.
I'm used to waiting patiently for information. Suspense is necessary for an engaging story, but most authors thow their readers a bone here and there. Dashner's trilogy is a complete cocktease. Maybe The Death Cure has all of the answers I want, but I don't care anymore. And maybe the whole thing is some clever metaphor for teenage gender roles, but fuck that. I'm only going to take this series out for dinner and a movie so many times before they better put out, and sister, I've reached my limit.