Study Guide

The Scorch Trials

By James Dashner

The Scorch Trials Introduction

Look out: it's a bloody, heart-wrenching, treacherous sequel, folks.

That's right—James Dashner's The Scorch Trials, which was published in 2010, is the sequel to the thrilling Maze Runner. That's the #1 New York Times Bestseller in which a bunch of kids get stuck in a maze and eventually escape by running a lot. You know the one.

The Scorch Trials is where the characters from The Maze Runner really start to evolve. It's where people get betrayed and alliances break and all kinds of other drama goes down. James Dashner described The Maze Runner as "Lord of the Flies meets Ender's Game meets Holes" (source), but maybe it's Entertainment Weekly that really hits the nail on the head when it calls the series as a whole "...a fusion of Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and Lost" (source). 

Color us intrigued.

The Scorch Trials is all about making it through a mysterious land without dying. That means that the characters have to place their trust in random people—and that they have to explore the depths of an unknown city. The Gladers aren't in the fancy little Glade constructed by WICKED anymore: they're out in the open, where the world is plagued by a brain-eating disease called the Flare.

We've got Group A, who are in a competition with Group B: for all these kids know, the organization WICKED, which is actively controlling both groups, will only let one group live. Both groups are placed in a desert and are given some supplies and weapons… after which all hell is free to break loose.

The Scorch Trials is yet another test that the kids have to go through—though they still have no idea why they're out in a desert fighting for their lives, just as they had no idea why they were stuck in a maze for who knows how long. In fact, these kids don't know much of anything, seeing as their memories have been mostly erased.

That's just the beginning. It just gets scarier, bloodier, and more mysterious from here on out.

We'll just say this: we hope your fingernails are long, because you might just lose them with all of the biting you're going to do while you make it through the second book of this dystopian series.

What is The Scorch Trials About and Why Should I Care?

Has someone ever given you a task, a really hard task that seems almost impossible to carry out? Let's say you need to do this task, no matter what, because it's of the utmost importance.

No? It's never happened? Well, this particular predicament is what the Gladers are faced with in The Scorch Trials.

Now, we might not be faced with life-or-death consequences every time we're asked to do something, but we all have to suffer through crazy tasks and jobs we're given. For example, we have to go to school for a quarter of our lives, we have make all of the right decisions about our future plans, and then we have to get a high-paying and enjoyable job to make it all worthwhile.

Umm, what?

Well, yeah, all of that sounds great, sort of, maybe—but it's also totally improbable to some people. Not only is making it through school a tough time, but getting a job that pays well and is enjoyable and comes about as a result of your schooling? Uh, talk about cortisol level rising.

The Gladers are given a pretty tough task from WICKED: "There are no rules. There are no guidelines. You have few supplies, and there's nothing to help you along the way... Make it or die" (11.16). When it comes down to it, that sounds a lot like life in general. There aren't any hard rules or guidelines when it comes to paving your future. No one gives you any foolproof supplies to help you along the way, and if you don't become successful (whatever that means), then you've lost.

The Gladers will help you realize that even though ultimatums like this might sound ridiculous, there's always a way of getting to the other side. No goal is too lofty, and no demand is impossible. There's always a way around an obstacle—you just need to find it.

Unless you're one of those chumps who gets picked off by light bulb monsters and giant silver globe thingies. But that's another story.

The Scorch Trials Resources

Websites

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

Dashner Army
Wanna join the Dashner Army?

Movie or TV Productions

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

Articles and Interviews

Video Interview
Ooh, a video interview with the actors. Can't get any better than that.

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

Dashner Interview
Check out what Dashner thinks about the movie version.

Video

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

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

Images

Book Cover
Check out the cover of the first edition of The Scorch Trials.

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

Gladers
The Glader crew looking for a nice bite to eat.

Dashner, Thomas, and Minho
No big deal—just the author hanging out with the two main actors.