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Review/Read Along: Survival of the Fittest in "The Scorch Trials" Chapters 21-24

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.

A major theme of The Maze Runner trilogy is survival. The Maze Runner was about the survival of the Glade, the Maze, the Greivers, and their ability to work together. It was a test of their intelligence to solve the maze and realize it was a code. As we enter the Scorch, the boys survival skills must exceed what they did in the Maze. While the Glade was a controlled environment with food and water given to them on a monthly basis, the Scorch leaves them with nothing but extreme weather, dust filled eyes, and Cranks.

We last left off with Thomas running away from Theresa after her ominous words “All of you need to get away from me…” So Thomas runs, and Minho and the group run after him. For three hours. It’s surprising most of the boys can keep up considering none of them but Minho and Newt were Runners back in the Glade. And it’s blistering hot in the desert. And they’re running out of water and food. But even with this minor plot hole, when Thomas finally collects himself and stops running he tells everyone what Theresa said, leaving out the kiss of course.

Dashner’s descriptions of the Scorch never cease to impress. He balances out the painful heat with the beauty of the Earth. For instance, “The dry wind scratched across the ground, filling the air with dust as the bright orange dome of the sun crested the horizon and officially started the day.” However, in between his descriptions of the environment, he still keeps the voice of the third person close narrator on Thomas in check. Thomas’s narration has “an overwhelming curiosity to find out what was in that stupid town…” Though it’s a small detail, just by calling the town “stupid” shows the frustration and exhaustion this teenager feels. Throughout it all, Dashner is sure to keep the heightened tension of survival as the boys endure the “heat, like a dry ocean through which they had to swim.”

The Scorch. Photo Source: 20th Century Fox
The Scorch. Photo Source: 20th Century Fox

When they finally get some rest, Thomas has another dream. He recounts the first time him and Theresa had to communicate telepathically. He struggles with it while Theresa is able to talk to him with ease. However, she says to him “They’ll probably kill us if we can’t do this,” referring to WICKED. Even back then WICKED was willing to kill ten year olds to get what they wanted. But in the end of his dream, Thomas finally is able to talk to Theresa in his head (Though the telepathic communication is not in the movies, the connection Theresa and Thomas shared is still there). Even when Thomas first started out with WICKED, his survival was being tested. He had to survive the countless tests they put him under, or risk being killed. In The Scorch Trials, the story hasn’t changed, just the Variables have.

The boys wake up and get on the move again. However, the sky is filled with clouds, a first since they have been in the Scorch. They’re only a few hours away from the city, and they come across an old man hunched over. He’s whispering harsh words they can’t make out, until the wind picks up beating around their heads, and the old man is shouting “storm” over and over. As they run faster to the city, Thomas realizes he was saying “stay away. Bad people.”

He doesn’t have time to think this over because lighting bolts “fell from the sky in jagged streaks, like bars of white light, slamming into the ground and throwing up massive amounts of scorched earth.” The brown fog and flying branches didn’t help them either. The sound of the wind and lighting caused Thomas not be able to hear, though he knew some of the other boys were screaming with terror. Then a lighting bolt hits Jack, he’s writhing on the ground, nothing below where his knees should be. Thomas realizes there’s nothing he can do for him but keep going. He finds Minho and Newt and follows them along, but lighting strikes Minho and he falls. Thomas goes back to pick him up and carry him out to the nearest building. Once under cover, the rain starts to fall.

Before the boys even encounter Cranks or the city, they must survive nature’s worst. Between the heat, wind, and lightning storm, the Gladers who are left – Minho, Newt, Thomas, Frypan, Aris and their friends – are the strongest and bravest of them all.

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

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