The Scorch Trials picks up right where the Maze Runner left off. Thomas and his friends are now in a holding center with little knowledge of the outside world and no idea who to trust. Thomas can no longer hear Theresa telepathically, and he is worried that she is dead. After nearly starving for a few days, the gladers are given another challenge. They step through some kind of portal into an underground passage that contains a horror that makes the grievers look like bunny rabbits. When they finally reach open air, it is in a place that sounds like the title… a scorching hot, desert wasteland. The boys must survive deadly lightning storms, victims of The Flare who are more like zombies, and another group of gladers full of girls. James Dashner explains with great detail each new horror the boys encounter. When WICKED tells the boys this new trial would be worse than the maze, they weren’t kidding. The action is nonstop and the plot keeps twisting as new characters join the game. We learn a little about this new scary world, but not much. Thomas picks up old memories, but they are sketchy enough to keep the readers guessing. Readers who loved the Maze Runner will enjoy this sequel. Book 3: The Death Cure comes out in 2011.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Should Thomas have trusted Theresa?
What about Brenda and Jorge?
What do you think WICKED means by variables?
Would you rather face the silver ball that decapitates you or the orange, faceless monsters with the bulbs?
What do you think the next trial will bring for Thomas and the gladers?
What could WICKED possibly hope to gain by putting these teens through these trials?
Would you rather be in the Maze or the Scorch?
Why do you think WICKED allowed the girls to have weapons, but not the boys?