“The Death Cure” by James Dashner is the third book in the Maze Runner series, and the conclusion to his tale. Dashner also wrote a fourth book that is a prequel, which I’ll be reading in the not too distant future.
At the conclusion of “The Scorch Trials” Thomas is separated from the rest of the group. When “The Death Cure” begins, he is still on his own and trying to hold onto his sanity. “He didn’t know why the stench of his own body was the thing that scared him the most. Perhaps that in itself was a sign that he’d lost it. But for some reason his deteriorating hygiene pushed against his mind, causing horrific thoughts. Like he was rotting, decomposing, his insides turning as rancid as his outside felt.” (The Death Cure, pg 2). Once Thomas finally gets out, he retains the suspicion that he had for Theresa. This builds and he truly trusts no one. In truth, I think that Thomas did lose it a bit when he was kept in isolation from everyone else. Who wouldn’t? But this small element of madness slipped through in the suspicions he felt towards everyone. “She turned and looked at Thomas. It was a look he knew so well – she expected him to side with her. But the difference was that now he was suspicious about why she wanted it so badly.” (The Death Cure, pg 30). That being said, there have definitely been elements to warrant his uncertainties about the world around him.
The Maze Runner series is set in a dystopian world, which is a rather popular theme nowadays. After the sun flares, which destroyed a large part of the world through natural means, a disease spread that made everything so much worse. What makes these books unique is the fact that the characters are part of a trial group in an attempt to fix everything, to find a cure. Things would never go all the way back to normal, but people would have a chance to rebuild a new society, one with a real future. That is the whole reasoning that WICKED has for putting these kids through everything they did. They want to find a cure for The Flare. As the characters learn what is real and what is part of the trials, loyalties are questioned and it is near impossible to know whom to trust. The constant uncertainty that the characters live in adds an extra element of excitement to the books. “Thomas didn’t say anything. He was barely able to breathe because of a strange anticipation, the simultaneous desires to know and not know.” (The Death Cure, pg 262).
Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. The writing improved over the course of the books, but it was nothing extraordinary. I think that overall the series is an entertaining read, but I’m not sure I will go back and read it again. It seems more like a borrow-from-the-library book than an own-and-reread book.