Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Man, I've been busy. I've been reading my butt off. Okay, maybe that's a little hard to do, but it sure feels like it.

Once again, we are in the Whitney Awards season. You can check out more about them here: This year, I'm tackling the adult speculative category, even though it has several books that are also considered young adult. The first nominee I've read, and have been wanting to read for quite some time, is The Scorch Trials by James Dashner. Other books in this category include Orson Scott Card's Pathfinder, Brandon Sanderson's Way of Kings, Dan Wells' Mr. Monster, and Rachel Anne Nunes' Imprints.

I loved Dashner's 2009 hit The Maze Runner. The Scorch Trials ended up being a worthy successor to the first book. I have to admit, I liked Maze Runner a little better, but many of the things I enjoyed about it were expertly continued in its sequel. For one thing, James makes it incredibly hard to put his books down. I lost a lot of sleep because I kept saying to myself, "Just one more chapter, it's short." Then, three hours later . . .

This book continues the adventures of Thomas, Teresa, and the surviving members from "The Glade" in book one. They now have the task of racing across a hot, barren landscape known as The Scorch. They encounter and battle people with a disease called the Flare, whom they call Cranks. In the process, they learn more about the mysterious group WICKED that put them up to all this, but they also end up with more questions.

You know that scene in Jurassic Park when the guy is in the utility building trying to turn the power on? And then that blasted velociraptor jumps out of the wall and makes you wet your pants? Well, this book gave me that same experience. That's the first time a book has ever made me jump like that. I muttered several unflattering insults toward James (like 'clunk head' and 'shuck face') for doing that to me. I won't tell about where it is, but if you like things that scare the pants off you, this book will do it. But in a good way (just keep your belt cinched tight and your pants should stay on).

This book was fun, intense, and exciting. I should warn, for the faint of heart, that there is violence and some mild language. The worst thing about this book is: I now have to wait several more flippin' months for the flippin' sequel.

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