The death cure
Review by Julian Virgona
The Death Cure, written by James Dashner, is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, science-fiction novel and the third and final book in the Maze Runner trilogy. The central character of the trilogy, Thomas, finds himself locked up in the WICKED headquarters, continuing to be used to find a cure for the disease known as ‘The Flare’ that is quickly killing off the human race. While being faced with the choice of whether or not he wants his traumatic memories back from before the Maze, the first book in the trilogy, Thomas has managed to remember more than WICKED thinks. As a result, he is determined to do whatever it takes to rescue his friends and bring WICKED, and it’s seemingly evil ways, down. Thomas is conflicted about many issues driving his motivations. Who of his friends can he really trust? And is WICKED truly evil… or are they good?
As I said before, The Death Cure is the third book in the Maze Runner trilogy and I have not read the two books preceding this one, so I’m writing this review as a newcomer to the series. Nevertheless, I still managed to enjoy this book quite a lot, minus a few small things that hardly take away from it.
The concept of the novel is very unique. It is intriguing to read and you do not necessarily have to have read the previous books in order to enjoy this one. Of course, there were quite a few moments where I was confused about what was happening because an event in a previous book was referenced, but it is easy to catch on to what has been happening throughout the series and understand characters, story elements and the different colloquial language the characters use. That’s another thing I liked about this book. The way the characters speak, act and even live is vastly different to the way we do so today. Dasher clearly made an effort to really show these people are living in the far future, and it paid off to create a very realistic and immersive atmosphere.
Though the disease-ridden, post-apocalyptic, oppressed nation story element has been done to death by now, Dashner puts a new spin on things with a group of children being put through gruelling and horrific tasks, or rather ‘trials’ as they are known as, in order to find a cure for the Flare, which the subjects are immune to. The Flare is a disease spreading throughout the world that slowly turns the infected into mad, flesh-eating zombies, known as cranks. Of course, there is to be some resistance against the kidnapping and mistreatment of young children, which gives us the basis of Thomas’ mission throughout the book.
Thomas as a character is well-written. Dasher makes you really care for Thomas, and the rest of his friends for that matter. You feel what they feel, you understand their pain, the trauma they’ve gone through and just how rare moments of happiness are in this near-barren wasteland once called Earth. You always know what Thomas is thinking and what he may be arguing to himself about in his head, often leaving you on the edge of your seat about what he may choose to do next.
The book is split into seventy-three chapters. However they are quite short, around five pages in length, which makes it easy to read. Nearly every chapter ends on a sort of a mini cliff hanger as well, and mixed with constant action scenes and dramatic scenarios, it makes the novel, again, extremely intriguing, resulting in you wanting to keep reading for hours on end without putting the book down. Everything flows well together and while at first you think a scene is just being used to fill up another ten pages, it leads onto another event that can make your jaw drop. Not much feels unnecessary, except for one or two scenes that seem to be there to instil teary emotion into the reader, but is over too quickly to do such a thing.
There were only a couple of other small things I didn’t like about the book. The first was the clichés. While there aren’t that many, they still appear a few times throughout the book, and it is little annoying hearing a character say ‘you’ll know when the time is right’, which appears in nearly every tragedy movie and book around. The second was the romance between two characters that felt a bit forced, from holding hands to kissing in random scenes without any build up or sign they liked each other until the last few chapters.
In conclusion, The Death Cure by James Dashner, despite a couple of minor flaws, is a unique, enjoyable and intriguing book. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and reading for hours, wondering what will happen next and to whom. The characters are relatable and the story is interesting and original, providing for many action and dramatic scenes that will surely surprise the reader more than once. I highly recommend this book for fans of post-apocalyptic, action books like The Hunger Games that want a different story with a similar feeling of the need for survival and the values of friendship.