Okay, remember how critical I was of The Scorch Trials? Well, James Dashner redeems himself with the third book in the series, The Death Cure. His final book wraps up loose ends, and unlike The Scorch Trials, I feel like everything that happens actually drives the plot toward that wrap-up.
In The Death Cure, Thomas and friends discover that WICKED hasn’t quite found a cure yet. They also find out that not all of them were immune to the Flare after all – which gives them an added reason to find a cure. Most of them get their memories back. But all of them realize they’ve been brainwashed, that WICKED is going to stop at nothing to find a cure, and that the organization is now kidnapping more “Munies” (people who are immune) to return to the old experiments. The new question is: cooperate with an inhumane agency to find a cure, or fight the agency and allow a disease to ravage mankind?
I really like the personal battle that goes on in this. Thomas is faced with a lot of moral issues, and no matter what he does, people will die. The book shows some of the same dilemmas of war or self-defense, but uses disease to create the moral dilemma. While Thomas can see people going crazy and dying around him, he also can’t condone torturing people in the vain hope of finding a way to make it stop.
One thing I did not like about the book is that it is graphically – I would say unnecessarily – violent. I would recommend The Maze Runner to a mature twelve- or thirteen-year-old. I wouldn’t recommend The Death Cure until a kid is about fifteen or sixteen, however. (I wouldn’t recommend The Scorch Trials at all, but that’s a different book review.) There’s blood and guts everywhere. People get shot in the head. If (when) this is made into a movie, I think they’re going to have to do some careful camera shots to keep it PG-13. And I think Dashner’s writing does keep it PG-13: he doesn’t tell you about brains flying all over the place, or anything, but the violence is nonstop and very intense.
The Death Cure is still not as clean, self-contained, or as thrilling as The Maze Runner. But what the book does is wrap up the series very well while continuing to take you on twists and turns. It does a great job, and actually leaves you pretty satisfied with an ending that can’t be totally happy. ♦
If you want more spoilers, and a more complete review of the book, check out: