Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Death Cure, James Dashner

Title:  The Death Cure
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Year: 2011
Pages: 325
Genre:  Science Fiction, Dystopian
Themes:  Morality, Dystopia
Age Range: 7th Grade and Up

Summary: from Goodreads

It’s the end of the line.
WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.
Will anyone survive? 
What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.
The truth will be terrifying. 
Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all. 
The final installment of The Maze Runner trilogy has all of the action and excitement that you've come to expect from Dashner's dystopian novels.  You finally get to see what the world outside of the Maze and the Scorch is like, and the picture is not a pretty one.  Cities with uninfected people have become uneasy oases surrounded by hordes of Cranks (those infected with the Flare who have completely lost their sanity), and it is only a matter of time until the virus infiltrates their walls.  Thomas and his friends have no one to trust-they don't always trust each other.  They get connected with a group called The Right Arm, which purports to take down WICKED and end their experimentation, but will they be able to pull it off?  And are their motives as noble as they seem?

I felt like The Death Cure did not have the same level of emotional intensity as the first two books, at least not until the last quarter of the book or so.  There are some questions that are left unanswered, though I assume that at least some of them are explored in the prequel, The Killing Zone. We never get an explanation of how Thomas worked for WICKED before the Maze, nor do we learn very much about the genesis of the plague, though the epilogue answers one major question-how did the virus get out in the first place?  And if you are someone who likes their stories neatly tied up in the end, knowing what happens to all of your favorite characters, you may be frustrated with the conclusion.  But overall I think this trilogy is a fine example of YA dystopian literature, and I think it will especially appeal to readers (mot of who are probably male) who would appreciate the male protagonist and the lack of a real love story.