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Review/ Read Along: “The Scorch Trials” Chapters 9-12

Amanda McHugh ‘18/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

“The Scorch Trials,” sequel to “The Maze Runner” (written by James Dashner and directed by Wes Ball) will be hitting the big screen on September 18. To get psyched for more action-packed dystopia, Emertainment Monthly will be re-reading and reviewing “The Scorch Trials” chapter by chapter.

We last left off with the Gladers trapped in their dormitory with no food, and confused about the missing dead bodies and brick wall. Chapter 9 opens with Newt waking Thomas up, and telling how their situation now is similar to how it was at the start of the maze. Whoever put them in the maze and keeping them locked up are doing this for a reason. If they wanted to kill them, they could’ve done so already. It makes sense for Newt to be the one to put this together. Though Thomas is a quick thinker and a leader, he tends to do better under pressure like in the maze. But where the situation is less action-packed, Newt is the one to figure things out.

The group goes three days with no food. It’s here where James Dashner’s use of descriptive narrative shines through. He could’ve just said how hungry they were, but instead he fills his pages with rich passages, “not eating, it felt like a vicious, gnawing, dull-clawed animal was trying to burrow its way out of his stomach. He felt it every second of every minute of every hour.” Though we marveled at Dashner’s ability to write fighting scenes in The Maze Runner, his ability to write strong, emotional narrative is not let down in The Scorch Trials either.

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“The Scorch Trials” Cover. Source: Delacorte Press

At the end of the three days, food finally comes to the boys. But so does a new character Minho nicknames “Rat Man.” By his nickname, he’s supposes to be an ugly old man in a white suit. However, in the trailer of The Scorch Trials, Rat Man will be played by Aiden Gillen, who is not unattractive in any sense. Rat Man sits behind an invisible wall, and explains to them what has been going on this entire time. He tells them the maze was more than an experiment, but it was a way for them to judge and analyze their responses according to the Variables. As the boys react to the specific Variables, they (WICKED) are constructing a blueprint of the Killzone (what they call the brain).

Rat Man also informs them not to believe everything they see, or even their own mind. WICKED has control over their brains and nerve receptacles. In addition, the trials aren’t about testing their will to survive. He describes the sun flares, which had destroyed most of the Earth. After the sun flares, a deadly virus spread rapidly and uncontrollably around the world. It attacks the brain and slowly eats away at it. They call it the Flare virus. All the working governments at the time joined together to create WICKED, or World in Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department, to find a cure for the Flare. With unlimited resources, money, technology, and workers, WICKED has complete control.

Rat Man also tells them that they are to begin phase two, the Scorch Trials (yay book title). He says they all already have the Flare in them, and if the complete the Scorch Trials, they will receive a cure for the virus. If not, they’ll die anyway. He also mentions that it takes a while for the Flare to set in, so for them not to worry about it just yet. He tells them all they have to do is go through a ‘Flat Trans’, find open air, and make it 100 miles north of wherever they are in two weeks to the safe haven (essentially crossing the “scorch,” which will turn out to be a deserted city in the middle of a desert). No rules or guidelines. If they make it, they get the cure, and if they don’t, they die.

At the end of The Maze Runner movie, we already know the boys are immune to the Flare because Ava Paige told them. Obviously here in the books the boys don’t know their immune, so the incentive of a cure is strong. The Scorch Trials movie will have to be different to accommodate the major change to the series. What will be their incentive to cross the Scorch? In addition, though it is unclear in the trailer, it also looks like they meet Rat Man differently than they do here. Rat Man seems to be more involved in the movie, and will play a bigger role. However, it has been said the screenwriter for The Scorch Trials, T.S. Nowlin, has also already finished the screenplay for the third book, The Death Cure. Moreover, Nowlin mixed up a lot of the details of both books to create the two films. No spoilers, but Rat Man is a major part in The Death Cure novel, which can explain why he may also be a major part in The Scorch Trials movie.

Be sure to check out The Scorch Trials Movie trailer, coming out on September 18!

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