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The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more Variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety... until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, much of the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated--and with it, order--and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim... and meal.

The Gladers are far from done running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder--does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

I don't know how to rate this book. I do know that this book pushed me over the edge to keep my promise NOT to read trilogies until all three books are published.

James is a good writer.

That said, I had a hard time with this story. I knew it wouldn't be easy on the youth who had escaped the Maze. But they never seemed to get a break. They had a day here and there of easiness before James plunged us into another terrible situation.
He made sure the reader didn't know who to trust which is frustrating. The whole time I kept hoping they would get help/food/out.
This book is way more brutal than Maze Runner.
 It drove me crazy that they knew who was doing this to them but they couldn't get out. They couldn't do anything to help themselves except get to the place they were told to go. One time WICKED even intervened.
The tats were as big of a deal as I thought they would be.
Thomas is amazing how he just keeps moving forward.
I did skim ALOT in this book. There was a ton of internal dumping (it felt like anyway).
I can't decide if I want to read the next one.
*sigh* But I will! I'll do it for James because he is awesomesauce.

Page 69 test:
"...singled Thomas out somehow It was a sad thought--Chuck was the one who had lost his life. Teresa was the one missing But taking those two away from him...
His life felt like a black hole He had no idea how he would muster the will to go on in the  morning. To face whatever WICKED had in store for them. But he'd do it--and not just to get a cure. He would never stop, especially now. Not after what they'd done to him and his friends. If the only way to get back at them was to pass all their tests and trials, to survive, then so be it.
So be it.
With thought of revenge actually comforting him in a sick and twisted way, he finally fell asleep.

Every Glader had set the alarm on his digital watch for five o'clock in the morning. Thomas woke up well before that and couldn't go back to sleep. when beeps finally started filling the room, he swung his legs off the bed and rubbed his eyes. someone turned on the light and a yellow blast lit up his vision. Squinting, he got up and headed for the showers. Who knew how long it's be before he could clean himself again.
At ten minutes till the time appointed by Rat Man, every Glader sat in anticipation, most holding a plastic bag full of water, the bed sheet packs at their sides. Thomas, like the others, had decided  he'd carry the water in his hand to make sure it didn't spill or leak. The invisible shield had reappeared overnight in the middle of the common area, impossible to pass through, and the Gladers settled just on the boys' dorm side of it, facing where the stranger in the white suit had said a Flat Trans would appear.
Aris was sitting right next to Thomas, and spoke for the first time since...well, Thomas couldn't remember the last time he'd heard the boy's voice."


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