Overall The Maze Runner trilogy is a stunning dystopian storyline that follows young teens who are scrambling through tests, or “variables” that adults have created in order to test their brains. They are doing all they can just to survive while scientists try to come up with blueprints as to why their brains are different than everyone else’s when it comes to The Flare, a deadly disease let loose on the world. I am most definitely a fan of the series, although it did take me forever to finish the last book in the trilogy (The Death Cure), due to a deterioration in storyline.
The first book, The Maze Runner, was adapted into a beautiful movie and was even more full to the brim with characters and descriptions than the film. (You can read my review of the movie from last week by clicking here.) The book introduced a world to the audience that was as mysterious as it was all-encompassing. Later, when the characters have fought tooth and nail and formed friendships along the way to escaping the place they’ve been put into (the maze), you have connected with each of them in various ways. The action in the novel is just as good as on the screen and if you weren’t taken by the depth of it in movie form, you will love how detailed the book is.
In The Scorch Trials you keep following the survivors from the maze as they are once again put into a shitty situation they have to scramble out of. Without going into too much detail as to what that situation is (and thus spoiling everything for you), I will say that there is a lot of turmoil amongst the survivors in this novel. Even still, you are given a well-formed storyline and continued character development. The characters you already knew get more action and new characters are introduced which you learn to begrudgingly accept (because they’re actually written well). By the end of this story you are ready to steamroll right through the third installment in order to get to the resolution.
During The Death Cure I found the storyline to kind of traipse off into some broken sort of path toward the ending. It starts out bold with a list of names from the survivors of the last two novels—but the result being the list of those which are not Immune to The Flare (and who subsequently caught it). Congratulations, your favourite character made it into the third book and now you get completely fucked over because they aren’t immune and you get to watch them go insane and die. Wonderful. No wait, that wasn’t supposed to be what I took away from the book. What you were supposed to take away was that after the hell everyone has gone through in all three of these books the left overs are supposed to establish a new world (basically) that somebody in power set up for them to go to if everything sucked back on Earth. It’s passed off as a ‘paradise’, but with the main character so haunted and tortured by this point you just wish the story had ended with just about anything else (like back when your favourite character was still alive, maybe). Seriously: while the storyline was inconsistent and seemed like Dashner had forgotten just what he’d had planned for the third installment, it did have character consistency and descriptions galore. If you’re a detail-oriented person you will still love this world that Dashner has set up for you, even though the ending is not your typical “everything’s alright now and everyone’s made it through.”
I would definitely recommend The Maze Runner series to 14+ aged readers (due to content and character death), but would warn that you may not like me very much for recommending it to you after you’ve finished the trilogy. I give the series a 4/5 stars, mostly due to the consistency and the detail of the world that Dashner formed. I took away that fifth star because of the (I feel) lack of coherent storyline in the final book.