Book Review – The Death Cure by James Dashner

I did it…I finished another book! Yay! Total to date for 2014: 3. I know. It’s not great. I’m working on it…

Anyway… *people die and this contains spoilers!*

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To be honest, after The Scorch Trials, I was a bit disappointed. It was a good book, but it didn’t have me on the edge of my seat like the other two (it took me 4 hours in the middle of the night to read The Scorch Trials…Death Cure took me about a month!) In fact, it’s taken me so long, I can’t even remember how it started…

Thomas has been left in solitary confinement for 3 weeks (I’m not entirely sure why…probably another part of the trials) and is eventually let out to gather with the rest of the group where they are told by Rat Man (whose name is Janson) they are going to be given their memories back. They’re also told that some of them are immune to The Flare, but some aren’t – Newt is part of the latter group (sad times!)

Thomas, Newt and Minho refuse the procedure and plan an escape. The next day, they are forced to get their memories back anyway, but with the help of Brenda they manage to escape before anything happens. After thinking the other Gladers had abandoned them and had their memories restored, they realise they too have escaped on a berg and are probably heading the same way. Before they leave, Newt hands Thomas a note, with instructions to not read it until the time is right.

Luckily, Jorge is a pilot and Brenda has worked with WICKED and knows where they can go for safety – Denver. Apparently the Rocky Mountains recovered from the sun flares really quickly so it’s the perfect place to go. There’s also an ex-WICKED doctor who can remove the implants WICKED put in their brains so they won’t be tracked or controlled any more. They steal a berg, just as some guards make it to the hangar and start firing at them with Launchers (electrical stun grenade things…they’re not very nice).

When they arrive in Denver, they are greeted by a man with a note from Gally (from the Maze, way back in the first book). He has been living in Denver and is part of a group called the Right Arm, planning to take down WICKED. They leave Newt on the berg and set off to find Hans the doctor. When they find him, WICKED manage to control Thomas and attempt to kill Hans to stop him removing the implants, but they are unsuccessful and Thomas’s implant is removed. After the implant removal, Thomas, Minho, Jorge and Brenda venture out to find something to eat at a cafe. A man is discovered to be infected by a Flare tester, and Thomas accidentally reveals himself as a Munie (immune) by staying to watch, instead of panicking and running away like a sensible person. He is dragged away by the tester too, until a law enforcement vehicle shoots the tester and Rat Man/Janson appears on the screen telling Thomas he needs to return to WICKED for Phase 3 of the trials.

Thomas makes his way back to the others at the berg, when they discover Newt is missing. They find a note telling them he’s gone to a Crank sanctuary. Brenda knows where this place is and they fly over to bring Newt back. They bribe a guard and find Newt, even though he told them to get lost. Thomas tries to persuade Newt to come back with them, but has no luck. Newt tells Thomas he’s let him down, leaving Thomas confused, but eventually they leave without Newt. When they get back to the berg, Thomas reads the note that Newt left with him back at WICKED. It says ‘Kill me. If you’ve ever been my friend, kill me.’ Thomas realises that the right time to read the note was before the Flare took hold, and he had failed Newt.

The group is captured by people working for the Right Arm, and they meet up with Teresa and the others, who were also captured. They demand to be taken to speak to the leader of the Right Arm, and one of the kidnappers’s, Lawrence, drives them there. On the way, the van is attacked by a group of cranks, who have started to take over the city. They make it through, and when they arrive, they are taken to meet Vince. 

Together, they plan to infiltrate WICKED’s headquarters and plant a device that will disable all weapons and allow the Right Arm to gain control. Thomas volunteers to plant the device by pretending to return to WICKED for the last phase of the trials. On their way back to the berg, Thomas sees Newt and demands to be let out of the van. He finally carries out Newt’s request and shoots him. (It was horrible…I cried a bit.)

They get back on their way, and drop Thomas off a few miles away from WICKED’s HQ, so he can walk the rest of the way, appearing on his own. He is greeted by Janson, and plants the device as soon as possible. Janson tells Thomas that he is the Final Candidate and in order to find a cure for the Flare, they need to operate on his brain – killing him in the process. Thomas tries to postpone the operation for as long as possible, but the Right Arm do not arrive in time. Just as Janson and another doctor are about to start the procedure an alarm goes off and all hell breaks loose. There are explosions and screaming, but the operating staff are ordered to get on with the operation – Thomas is sedated. 

Thomas begins to wake up, and he sees a woman who tells him ‘I have faith in you’. When he is properly awake, he finds a folder with his name on. Inside is a note from Chancellor Paige (the head of WICKED), telling him that no more subjects are needed. He is told to rescue his friends, and the other Immunes they have gathered, and follow the paths marked on a map which lead to a Flat Trans which will take them to a safe place, away from WICKED.

When Thomas looks at the map, he realises that the Immunes have been hidden in the maze. He is full of dread at the thought of going back, but time is running out. He sets off to find the others, but is caught by Janson and another WICKED worker. He manages to stop one of them and makes a run for it, closely followed by Janson. He eventually reaches some members of the Right Arm, and they all watch Janson running towards them – and realise he has been infected with the Flare. He is furious that Thomas has got away, and runs off into the dark. Thomas asks where Vince is and he is told that he is off planting explosives in the building, at which point Thomas realises they had very different ideas of what should happen.

Thomas runs off to find him, and tries to stop the plan but Vince tells him the bombs are already planted and if Thomas goes to find the Immunes, he will consider it as him going against the Right Arm. Thomas decides to go anyway, and asks Gally to come with him. Gally agrees, even though Vince tells him it would be thought of as betrayal. They find the others, and set off to save the other Immunes.

When they get back to the maze, they find several hundred Immunes in the Glade – young, and old. They split them into groups and head into the maze. It soon starts to collapse from the Right Arm’s explosives, and many of the Immunes are crushed by falling rocks. When they finally escape the maze they come face to face with Grievers waking up – Teresa tells Thomas how to deactivate them before they kill too many people. The last Griever manages to wake up properly before it is deactivated and Teresa sacrifices herself to let the others escape, but Minho and Thomas manage to save her just in time.

By now, there are only about 200 Immunes left. They continue on their way to the Flat Trans, and finally reach it. Thomas is amazed that the Chacellor of WICKED actually told them the truth and has helped them so much. He steps through, just to make sure it is safe and find himself in a shed but through the open door he can see green everywhere he looks –  grass, flowers, trees. He returns to tell the rest of the group it is safe. People start making their way through, when suddenly Janson appears with six WICKED guards. He plans to take a group of Immunes and continue running the trials. The two groups fight, and eventually the Immunes win (it was 200 against 6…) The walls are starting to fall in because of all the explosives, so people rush to get through the Flat Trans. A large piece of stone falls from above Thomas, but Teresa pushes him out of the way and it crushes her instead. They have a final moment together, and both apologise for everything they have said and done to each other. Thomas is forced to leave her behind as the whole building collapses.

The Immunes are left in this new paradise, to make a new start without the Flare.

In the Epilogue it is revealed that the Flare was intentionally released in a desperate attempt to control the population after the sun flares, but this plan went completely wrong. Chancellor Paige did her best with ‘two wisely placed Immunes’ to come up with a new plan, and show the world that WICKED really is good.

Like I said, I was a bit disappointed. I felt like many questions were left unanswered – how did Thomas and Teresa know each other before the trials? What were they responsible for in the development of the trials? Was Brenda really such a good girl, or was she still working with WICKED?? Why did Thomas not want his memories back?! WHAT WAS IN THOSE MEMORIES?! There’s so much that I need want to know that wasn’t in the book. 

I’ve got The Kill Order, which is a prequel to the series…I’m seriously hoping that will clear up a few questions. But I’m not holding my breath.

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