Dashner, James. 2009, 2010, 2011. The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure. New York City: Delacorte Press.
Rating 3 stars
(review in Indonesian, click here)
(review in Indonesian, click here)
WARNING! THIS ARTICLE (YOU MIGHT NOT SEE IT AS A REVIEW, IT’S MORE LIKE A REACTION) CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILER. IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE MAZE RUNNER TRILOGY, I DON’T SUGGEST YOU TO CONTINUE READING THIS. UNLESS YOU ARE OKAY WITH SPOILER (JUST SO YOU AWARE, I'M GOING TO SPOIL EVERYTHING AND PROBABLY WON'T EXPLAIN BASIC DETAILS) OR YOU’VE ALREADY READ THE TRILOGY, PLEASE PROCEED.
Yup! Three books in one article! In my review for this trilogy in Indonesian, I blabber about how I feel that something seems odd with the translated version. I give some examples like the use of words ‘shank’, ‘shuck-face’, ‘klunk’ and many others that are kind of weird when it’s translated into Indonesian. I just felt something was not suit there. I couldn’t really enjoy reading it while the story was actually captivated me. Before I realized why, my reading experience with this book was slow and I was distracted too easily. I even thought to buy the other two books, just so I have a complete trilogy, I even haven’t finish The Maze Runner when that thought came up to me. It’s like I was really trying to distract myself. And somehow, I got my hands on the e-book version for The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, in English. I also got The Maze Runner e-book because I was curious to read it in its original language.
And... oh boy. I found out that Dashner uses ‘uncommon’ words and sentences in this trilogy. I actually like it, and I wouldn’t notice this fancy thing if I read the Indonesian translated version. Since I started to read the trilogy in English, I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN. After I finished with The Maze Runner, I didn’t have it in me to sit still and patiently write the review for it. The freaking mysteries were killing me! So I just continued reading the rest of the trilogy. I purposely review it in one go in order to be more efficient, and it will be one long article (for my standard). So be it.
First, let me explain my VERY generous 3 stars rating that I gave for this trilogy. That came from the average rating of each book. Personally, I rate The Maze Runner 4,5 stars, The Scorch Trials 3 stars, and The Death Cure 1,5 stars. And, oops, I can’t put any quotes that I thought are cool, because I was too busy drowned in the mud of mysteries, no thanks to Dashner, and I constantly felt utter confuse during the reading of this trilogy. Ooh, and I really have no idea why so many people shelf this under science-fiction. Science-fiction, really? Which part you call science? Is it when WICKED ask Thomas' brain LITERALLY in order to 'learn its pattern'? Is that really necessary to slice it up? This, my friend, is science and how you learn about brain.
The Maze Runner begins with the story of memoryless Thomas who came to The Glade, you know, just a place with an enormous maze and killer thingy inside it. I actually really reaaaally like The Maze Runner, which is the first book of this trilogy. And may I add, after reading Dan Brown’s Inferno and then this, I now realized that I have a soft spot for story with amnesiac character. It’s mystifying, and I’m always excited to finally uncover all the mysteries for good. And that’s exactly what happened to me when I was reading The Maze Runner, I was excited SO BAD. There are so much (or is it way too much?) things mentioned and happened that raised dozens questions in my head. It’s rather frustrating though when I got through almost half of the book and STILL hadn’t acquire significant answers. But I guess this is the strong point of The Maze Runner, besides the cool characters and intriguing plot.
So, my reaction for The Maze Runner...
And that’s why I, so innocently and happily, continued to read the second book, The Scorch Trials. I kind of disappointed with this one. It barely gave me anything meaningful, felt almost like a filler. After reading The Maze Runner with so much cool mysteries in it, I expected at least a bit cool answers to unrevealed the mysteries before. Unfortunately, I found myself more and more heavy with the unanswered questions, it actually out-weighted me. But I didn’t ask questions like, “What happened? What’s behind all of this?” like I did when reading The Maze Runner, instead I questioned Dashner’s writing style due to my disagreement with what happened in The Scorch Trials (later in The Death Cure too). I kept questioning things like, “What in the world is it for when Thomas got beat up in the head with a bladed spear by Teresa and got sent in the gas room which magically healed him up?”, “How could Minho survived after struck by lightning, he even still had his cloths intact, when Zart or Jack or whatever also got struck by lightning but he ended up with bald head, stark naked, and worst, melting eyeballs?”, “Why it’s so easy peasy for Thomas to dodge the ‘fate’ as his tattoo said that he was supposed ‘to be killed by Group B’ and he just talked them out of it?”, and sooooo many frustrating questions like that. Not cool, I tell you that. And my reason to rate it 3 stars is my fondness to Minho and Newt. I love Minho so much! He’s awesome. Newt is such a darling, love him too! I also felt more humor and sarcasm in this book, so, good job there Dashner. Not forgetting that I also fascinated by The Glader’s weird talking style.
But still, my reaction for many parts in The Scorch Trials was...
And I read the third book because I have no choice. I won’t let the mysteries and the questions left unanswered just like that. And I thought, I still have Minho and Newt in the third book, so I’d give Dashner one more chance. But, of course, Dashner HAD to disappoint me even more! I came to the last ten pages and freaked out myself because I still had MANY questions in me and doubted very much the last ten pages could answer them all. And yeah, it really couldn’t. UGH! EPIC FAIL!
I also found some annoying things in The Death Cure. For example, somehow Minho looks less smart in this book, right? Anyone agree? Look when Thomas can’t control his own body because WICKED manipulates his brain, and Minho, the supposedly the best of the best Gladers of all, initial reaction is, “You okay?” Uhm, OBVIOUSLY NOT! But maybe he’s still in shock, let's let that one go. And then Thomas raises the knife ready to throw it toward Minho, and Minho smartly says, “You gonna kill me, slinthead? Do it, then. Throw it.” You say that to a person who’s under someone else’s control? Smart move, not. Minho’s characteristic is so charming in the first book. He is that kind of bad boy but still smart, brave, tough, strong, witty, honest, totally a perfect character. In the second book though, Dashner makes Minho more arrogant and temperamental, but still awesome nonetheless. It’s getting annoying when in the final book Dashner portrays Minho as not as brainy as before.
And Thomas’ decision to decline the chance in getting his memory back? Dude! Knowledge is everything, since you’re the main character here and I want to know what happened! There will be so much answers if you just get yourself on that chair nice and calm and accept your memory back. Tsk. Don’t even get me to talk about the coffee shop scene. That event right there couldn’t be more ridiculous. But, THE most anticlimax moment from the whole things in this book is... Newt’s note. I had had my imagination gone to its wildest limit, hoping Newt’s note will tell me the desperate incredulous high-level very important secret of all human history, and it’s really just... ‘KILL ME’??? Are you too busy to just say it directly so instead you write a note? What’s with the ‘right time’ nonsense anyway! Forget it. Anywaaay, to be honest, the scene when Newt is practically shouting and begging to be killed is just gut-wrenching and somehow Dasher pulls it off perfectly. That’s incredibly sad, I cried, yes, but it’s necessary for the sake of the story plot. Oh, poor Newt. That’s the only reason why I give 1,5 stars rating for The Death Cure. Saved me from my first big fat 0 star.
And my reaction towards almost every part in The Death Cure...
As I mentioned earlier, the main character in this trilogy is Thomas, whom I like one time and dislike many more times. Okay I know he is loyal, brave,... what else? Those are the only two good points from Thomas that make me accepted him in my mind realm. Even from the beginning I kind of irritated with him. In The Maze Runner, our dearest Chuck offers Thomas a nice simple friendship and Thomas has a gall to say that he doesn’t need friends! Excuse me? You’re in the middle of unknown bizarre place fulls of people that you don’t understand half of what they say, plus you don't have your memory on you! Kid, you obviously need friends. I thought you are supposed to be a genius in this story.
More disturbing things about Thomas? Sure. I simply couldn’t fathom Thomas’ way of feeling things. He constantly ‘feels’ that he and Teresa have a tight relationship, BUT he also ‘wants to be around’ Brenda the newcomer. It’s really unacceptable when in the first book Thomas’ world seems to revolve around Teresa (he can ‘feels’ the presence of Terese INSIDE his head, yeah right, he always has the urge to holds Teresa's hands, he is dazzled by Teresa’s smile, he can’t bear Teresa’s sad face). Then in the second book, out of nowhere, Dashner puts Brenda in the picture, she is a-girl-who-likes-hugging-and-kissing-(Thomas)-because-it’s-just-normal-from-where-she-comes-from kind of girl.
Remember the underground tunnel? Thomas and Brenda are trapped in the underground tunnel because someone just bombed the entrance, it makes them split up with their friends. Then, when they are in the searching for the way out, in the middle of that dark creepy tunnel, they chit chat a bit, and Brenda constantly hugs, kisses, holds Thomas. I mean, come on! I really felt that Dashner wants the reader to dislike this character. Okay. Mission accomplished. I dislike Brenda. And what do you think my reaction was when I came to the end of the trilogy to find that this promising story ends up with Thomas and Brenda kiss each other while they are enjoying the sunset right AFTER Teresa’s oh-so-tragic death? Her death cause? You know, just the occasional heroic stunt to SAVE Thomas’s life and she was crushed by the fallen ceiling. No biggy. Thomas and Brenda get theirselves (with many other survivors but not poor death Teresa) to the fantastic paradise-like island which is, I must say, ridiculous to no extent. That’s it. End of story. BRWKFHA*IE!!RWYWIABSKUE#WBD!IKJWOF%!!!!! I now pronounce it as THE MOST UNACCEPTABLE story ending of my entire reading life (what’s yours?).
Special reaction for the ending...