The Death Cure by James Dashner Review 4/5

Overall Impression: A satisfying end to an overall enjoyable trilogy with memorable characters.

The Death Cure by James DashnerThis series kind of reminds me of takeaway pizza.
What, you say? Bear with me.
You know how occasionally, just occasionally, that takeaway pizza yearning kicks in, and you kind of know that it’s not the healthiest thing for you and that there’s much better, more sophisticated food out there? But it just tastes so darn good and so you devour it with great speed, enjoying every bite, but if you eat too much of it you become bloated. So you know that even though you really enjoyed it, you wouldn’t want takeaway pizza every week? Yeah, that sums up The Maze Runner series for me. It’s not the best written story out there or the most complex so you wouldn’t want to read too much of it in one go, but it keeps you turning the pages and you really enjoy it, even if you’re not 100% sure why. The final book in the series, The Death Cure also followed the same pattern for me!

The trials are over. WICKED is planning to restore the survivors’ memories and complete the final cure for the Flare.
But Thomas has already remembered more than they think. And he knows WICKED can’t be trusted.
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine. Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

Please note: This review may contain spoilers from the previous books in this series, however, this review will not contain any spoilers for The Death Cure.

They survived the maze, they survived the desert, now, can they survive WICKED? Raw and confused from spending days trudging through a desert and avoiding the clutches of Cranks, (those zombified by the Flare) Thomas is chucked into solitary confinement by WICKED with nothing but the memories of the deaths of his friends and Teresa’s betrayal to keep him company. It turns out their desert adventures were nothing but another test set by WICKED, and despite Teresa’s insistence that WICKED is good, Thomas has had enough of their mind games. So when WICKED announce the trials are over, and offer to restore Thomas’s memories and those of his friends, they don’t fancy having more science nerds messing around with their heads, and decided to try and escape. With nothing but fractured memories, an aircraft, and each other, Thomas and his friends make their way to Denver, and look for a way to put a stop to WICKED for good.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Death Cure. After feeling ‘meh’ about the second novel in The Maze Runner series, I was worried that The Maze Runner was a one hit wonder book, with two more novels tagged on for the sake of making a trilogy. I’m so glad this wasn’t the case. Dashner’s writing is still basic, with far too much telling and not enough showing, but he makes up for this with the fun banter he creates between the characters and his flair for suspense and intense action scenes. Not to mention, he still remains the only author (apart from Stephen King) who has successfully managed to creep me the heck out with his descriptive skills. I definitely don’t want to come across a Crank anytime soon!

I love that this book played mind games with me. Half the time I had no idea what was going on, or who to trust. And because the plot is so fast-paced and filled with action, you don’t really have time to ponder each question before you’re hit with another three to work out. The mystery of what was truly going on in Denver kept me engrossed (despite the characters doing a lot of running around without achieving a lot), and the scientists of WICKED provide that classical moral dilemma – when does science go too far and how far should you go for the greater good?

I’ll admit, I didn’t buy the logic Dashner created for WICKEDs experiments for solving the Flare one bit. I was hoping the third book might explain it more, but all that rubbish about testing brain patterns was not remotely believable, and seriously flawed. However, I’ve never taken this series too seriously on the science front so I was able to overlook that doozy, even though it probably had other readers tearing at their hair. I also felt like the ending of the novel was rushed and vague, like Dashner himself wasn’t sure how he could wrap everything up. I felt like he needed to explain the aftermath of events better to that we could get more closure for the character’s stories.

The main aspect I liked about The Death Cure was that it went back to the core of what I liked about this series, the bromance. Although I originally felt Dashner’s character development was his weakest link, I’ve really come to care about those shuck Gladers, Thomas, Minho and Newt. I love that Thomas is such an understated hero, I love roguish Minho and his sarcastic blokey quips, and I definitely love Newt who is always putting others safety above his own. He’s so squishy and cute and hard done by, I just want to hug him. The banter between the three characters was entertaining as hell, and I was also happy that Gally made a surprise reappearance. The lack of Teresa was a further bonus, as I never got on with her character. However, I’m still convinced that Dashner doesn’t know how to write females because Brenda, the only other main female character, while less annoying, was also poorly developed and I never really understood her motivations or intentions.

Overall, I’m pleased with how this series ended. Lots of action, great banter and serious bromance. Although I wish there could have been a little more closure at the end, and the plot  didn’t always make logical sense, I found myself having a blast following Thomas’s adventures anyway. I’ll always think of this series fondly when I look back on it. And I’ll be interested to see if the prequel helps fill in any of those unanswered questions!

Writing Style: 3/5
Originality: 3/5
Entertainment: 4/5
Character Development: 4/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes.

Overall: 4/5

22 thoughts on “The Death Cure by James Dashner Review 4/5

  1. I know what you mean about this series, but the way I look at it is sometimes you just need to give your brain a break and read some fluff. Like you said – purely entertainment :). Hey, I started The Diviners, and it has really captured my attention. I think it will make a nice airplane read and then beach read :).

  2. I completely agree with that pizza metaphor for this series! And about most everything else that you said. Dashner’s inability to write female characters seems obvious now that you point it out. I had issues with his characterisation as a whole, though. And his writing style.

  3. Nice review, Becky! I use to love The Maze Runner series (it was only the second YA trilogy I had read), but over the years I’ve grown to dislike it more and more. I still like the series, but not nearly as much as I used to.

  4. This is a book series that I haven’t got round to which is weird because it’s normally the thing I would go batshit crazy over. It’s not hugely appealing to me, feels a bit Hunger Games-esque? Seems like when there’s a popular and successful franchise, it’s re-written in loads of ways. Or maybe I’m just being a cynical old grump.

    • That’s ok, not all books can be appealing to everyone. 🙂 YA does have a way of jumping on trends, when one genre or trope becomes popular you start seeing it everywhere. I almost didn’t pick this series up for the exact same reason… but then I caved when I saw the awesome movie trailer. :p Now I’m glad I did!

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