Book 2 of The Maze Runner hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. And before you brush this series off as just another teen utopian/dystopian/love story along the lines of The Hunger Games or Divergent, think again.
In The Scorch Trials we get all the action of The Hunger Games, all of the intrigue of Divergent, and none of the distraction of a love story. In this episode another layer of the experiment is revealed and Thomas continues to not like what he is finding out about himself. At least, his old self.
The value of human life is openly questioned in this novel. As in, who has value? Those that are well? Those that are sick but not far gone? How far gone is too far gone? Is all this story just some big game or is there really something bigger going on?
On multiple levels, we wrestle with these questions today – the old, the sick, the poor, the unborn. Is life just a big money grab or is there a deeper purpose? Is ‘God’ real or just some higher being playing games with humanity?
The Scorch Trials doesn’t spend a lot of time answering these questions. It’s too busy moving our characters into the third act. The coming conflict facing Thomas will be which identity will he embrace. The one he has formed inside the intensity of the Maze or the one he apparently left behind to be in the Maze.
The Biblical parallels are deep. Entering a larger story to save as many as possible, individuals having to choose what to believe yet that choice also affects the larger community, a community focused and organized for a mission…we could go on.
As with most middle episodes of trilogies, there is a lot undone and unanswered in this act. It works here to draw you into the final act.
If you liked The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials will not disappoint.