Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Death Cure - James Dashner (The Maze Runner # 3)

"And remember, if any of your body parts become detached due to an unfortunate encounter with a Crank, I highly advice you to leave said body part behind and run like hell. Unless it's a leg, of course." - James Dashner, The Death Cure.

I can rightfully say after reading this series that James Dashner has successfully mastered the art of writing a terrible book that I would however, still recommend to people because as badly written as it is, it remains entertaining.

So let me start right of by saying why The Death Cure is a badly written book. Main character Thomas seems to have become even more of a cliché in this book, taking the responsibility of the world’s fate upon him despite not having enough experience. He is noble, martyr like and hopeless without his friends. His inner monologue is stuck on the same record – flitting between trusting Teresa and not trusting her as and when convenient to the plot. 

This book should have been right up James Dashner’s alley, given that he specialises in creating suspense and anticipation. His books are like long gripping action sequences. And The Death Cure doesn’t require introduction of new characters (with one exception) or any explanation of previously established sub plot. And he does deliver when it comes to the action. But The Death Cure despite its constant action feels disjointed, like a set of escapades encountered by Thomas linked together by fragile connections. It also, by the way of ending, nullifies any purpose that the content leading up to that point had. It feels towards the end like a parody of itself and dystopian Ya novels. Further the lack of female characters remains just as much of a disappointment. 

But having told you why I didn’t like the book, let me focus on why I still read it all the way through. The book doesn’t pick up right after TST ends but takes a gap of three weeks. Thomas has been alone and in captivity for these three weeks as another phase of the WICKED Trials. Once these weeks are over, WICKED assures them that they are free to go once they have restored their memories. Not trusting the WICKED with their brains, Thomas, Minho and Newt attempt to escape the WICKED headquarters and this is when the book truly begins. Once again the rest of the gladers and group B separate from Thomas and his group, meeting only towards the final pages of the book. 

After finishing two books of The Maze Runner trilogy, one is left with the same burning question – Why would you kill off a bunch of teenagers when they are the only hope for humanity? The book addresses this question by admission of a loophole and then correcting it. It’s a hopeful ending with sunsets and grassy fields – no, literally. I can’t be more specific without spoiling it for you. The book has surprising moments of hilarity. The highlight for me personally is the character of Newt which changes and grows exponentially throughout the book. And for once, I can as a reader imagine him as an individual, separate from Thomas. It nicely brings together all the loose ends from the previous book s and finished the series with a flourish. 

I guess, at the end of the day, it’s one of those books you read and think - it was alright but I wouldn’t read it again. It's more exhausting than satisfying. And if you set much store by Oscar Wilde, then I guess you know not to read The Death Cure.

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