Justin 3rd Letter Essay : “Scorch Trials”


       I just finished the book Scorch Trials, I was rereading it because it was one of my favorite books. In fact, it might even be my most favorite book. It is the 2nd book in the Maze Runner series and was written by James Dashner, it also just recently got it’s own movie. It is a science fiction book that takes place in a solar flare ravaged world, that had a powerful disease released in it. It is 360 pages long.

The book starts off in a dorm room after the Maze incident, the Gladers are rescued and told all will be fine, and of course they believe it, but the next morning they are woken up by drooling zombie-like people outside the barred windows. The vicious beasts outside were all covered in scabs and bruises and injuries and kept saying they were cranks, and insisted that the Gladers kill them. By the way, the Gladers are the 50, or now 20 boys from the Maze, they had been living peacefully inside their little safe home, the Glade, for over 2 years. The doors are locked and the Gladers had to bash off the lock using a fire extinguisher. When they opened the door, nothing but pitch black darkness lay on the other side, they probably shouldn’t have turned on the lights, because when they did, all they saw were purple, lifeless, hanging bodies. These were the bodies of their rescuers, they now had to later they learn a little more about their landscape… and their mission. They have to cross the 100 mile long scorch in than 2 weeks, this is where the first half would leave off. Now, for the second half. When they enter the first part of their mission, they are in a cold tunnel that is pitch dark. They start walking along the wall when they notice a muffled talk. After a few more times they could finally make out the warning, “Leave now or you will get sliced and diced.” They ignored the warning and kept walking, until they heard a scream, they went back to find a screaming Glader, Thomas, the main character, tried to grab his head to keep the boy still, only to find that there was no head, but instead a metal ball covered in a gooey, thick liquid, blood. Now they were running, as fast as possible out of the tunnel. When they made it to the end they opened up the hatch between them and the surface which nearly blinded them, after so long in the dark sunlight attacked their eyes. But before closing the hatch they caught a glimpse of the landscape, barren and sandy, with no sign of a tree or any foliage for miles. But something powered over the light… Heat, it beated down on them hard, it was like being coated in molten honey, but without anything even remotely related to sweetness. The sun and heat was even so powerful that they had to travel through the day under several sheets of blankets to avoid receiving second degree burns. They saw an abandoned city far away and decided that since they were dwindling on food and water and it was in the direction of travel that they should take the risk going through it to replenish supplies (They also have to travel north to get to the “Safe Haven” in the mountains). But when they were only a few hours away on the 5th day, a storm brewed, when they were getting their sleep several blankets got blown away, then came the lightning. They thought it would just be a regular lightning storm but when it started raining streaking bolts of electricity right on top of their heads, they knew it wasn’t. The lightning storm was nasty and took many lives, Jack one of the doctors from the Glade was one of the lost lives, he didn’t die straight from shock, but instead he bleed out. Minho the leader got blown to the side by an explosion of electricity in front of him and Thomas, but Thomas, now temporarily deaf, quickly got him back up on his feet and running. Once they, or most of them, made it to the first building in the city they did headcount, there were only 11 people left. This wasn’t going to be easy…

When I first read this, I was surprised by the landscape of the world, I wondered why James decided to write it that way. I was confused as to why the author decided to include the metal ball scene, to me it actually seems a bit unnecessary. If I were the author, I would probably have substituted the metal ball with a few Cranks that got into the tunnel or something like that.

This is one of my favorite scenes in the second half of the book. It takes place in the morning after the storm incident.

“Newt gestured wearily toward Minho. “What bloody happened to him?”

“Lightning strike somehow caught his clothes on fire. How it did that without frying his brain I have no idea. But we were able to beat it out before it did too much damage, I think.”

“Before it did too much damage? I’d hate to see what you think real damage looks like.”

Thomas closed his eyes for a second and rested his head against the wall. “Hey, like you said – he’s alive, right? And he still has clothes on, which means it couldn’t have burned his skin in too many places. He’ll be fine.” (Page 141)

I like this passage because of the dialogue style, James seems to like making clear emotions in his dialogue along with various ways to say “said”, I rate this book a 9.5/10 because from here on I feel like the book starts to get a bit hazy and boring.

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