Study Guide

The Death Cure

By James Dashner

The Death Cure Introduction

Will this nightmare ever end? Sure, it will, Shmoopers—you'll just have to read The Death Cure.

You made it through The Maze Runner, you held your breath during The Scorch Trials, and now, finally you can get to the end of the story with the third installment in James Dashner's way popular series. This one was published in 2011, and our nerves still haven't recovered. News flash: it's an emotional rollercoaster. Were you expecting anything else?

Seriously, if you thought Thomas was having problems back in the Maze, just wait until you hear where he is now. Yeah, he's in Denver now. That's right: Denver. The Mile High City.

Now, the simple fact that Thomas is in Denver might just rattle your bones, but here's the catch: the city is being overrun by the Flare, the brain-eating virus that's slowly destroying mankind. Did someone say zombie apocalypse? Yeah, pretty soon, there won't be any healthy citizens left—just a bunch of Cranks roaming the streets with bloodlust. Mmmmm, bloodlust.

Kirkus Reviews really does sum it up: "Dashner again displays his mastery of the action sequence, making readers turn pages even as they become further invested in the well-developed characters" (source).

Notice how they use the word "again." In this day and age, we see trilogies and sequels fall flat on their faces. So often, they just don't provide us with enough umphh. They don't hit hard enough. Well, The Death Cure packs a punch that'll keep you dazed for days (pardon our delightfully rhyming phrase).

The Death Cure is a satisfying ending to the trilogy—you won't be left with a top spinning on a table (thank you, Inception. It'll still play with both your emotions and your brain as you get to finally see the true side of WICKED—and the true sides of all of the characters. You also get to decide what side everyone's really on. Need we say more?

No more lies, people. No more deceit. The truth is right around the corner; so let's find the cure.

What is The Death Cure About and Why Should I Care?

Sometimes the choice of right or wrong isn't really an option. Instead, you have to choose between bad and worse, or wrong and horribly wrong. Everyone's been in a tough situation like this. Just look at Election Day, right?

Dashner's The Death Cure presents this situation time after time, in multiple different forms. For example, Thomas has to decide between killing Newt (which is the wrong, for obvious reasons) or letting Newt live out a horrible life as a Crank (that's the horribly wrongoption). Even WICKED has to make a big bad decision: choose between torturing and killing children for the sake of a blueprint (um, the horribly wrong), or letting mankind fizzle out on its own (er, still the horribly wrong). In WICKED's case, they're pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Because everything is so horrible in The Death Cure, our own difficult dilemmas start to seem just a little more manageable. Like, hey, telling your friend that he or she is in a bad relationship is a million times easier than having to do what Thomas has to with Newt. We mean, come on, people, we're not shooting anyone here. These dilemmas are common, and they can range from difficult to extremely difficult in some cases, but at least seeing this kind of thing from a distance lets us be witnesses rather than victims or contributors.

The Death Cure Resources


James Dashner Website
Get to know your author by visiting his website.

Dashner Army
Wanna join the Dashner Army?

Maze Runner Wikia
Believe it or not, there's a whole Wikia dedicated to the Maze Runner Series.

Movie or TV Productions

The Scorch Trials
All you need to know about The Scorch Trials movie on IMDB.

Articles and Interviews

Dashner Interview
Check out what the author has to say about his trilogy.

Dylan O'Brien
Turns out Dylan O'Brien is a pretty good athlete.


The Scorch Trials Trailer
Check out the official trailer for the Scorch Trials movie.

The Maze Runner Trailer
Check out the official trailer for the Maze Runner movie.


The Death Cure Book Cover.
Take a gander at this here book cover.

The Main Characters
Thomas, Teresa, Newt, and Minho—oh, my.

Take a look at the actors outside of the studio.