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The Death Cure

Review

The Death Cure

"It was the smell that began to drive Thomas slightly mad." Sure, he's been isolated for more than three weeks. He has no windows. The lights blare constantly against the white ceiling, walls and floor. He has no way to tell time. He has nothing to entertain himself with. He eats the meal they slide through the slot at the bottom of the locked door; it's the same meal three times a day, consisting of ham, mashed potatoes, raw carrots, bread and water. But the one thing that really drives him crazy is the scent of his own body, unwashed for weeks.

Thomas sits, staring at the door, just willing it to open. And then, one day, it does. On the 26th day of his incarceration, the door swings wide. The person who walks through is the one Thomas calls "Rat Man," WICKED's spokesperson. Rat Man informs the angry Thomas that WICKED has a good reason for making him suffer. When Thomas accuses him of being a liar, suggesting that maybe he really doesn't have the Flare, Rat Man assures him that he is infected.

While Thomas cringes inwardly, Rat Man continues to talk, lecturing him on WICKED's rationale for the trials he's put Thomas and the others through. He discusses how the Flare is spreading throughout the world, causing victims to go crazy. WICKED has done everything it’s done in order to analyze Thomas's brain patterns so they can make a blueprint that will enable them to cure the Flare. He adds that they are very close to finding that cure. Then Rat Man really shocks Thomas; he informs the boy that, while he has the Flare, he is immune to the disease. This makes him a rare creature --- one who is hated by everybody else.

Unfortunately, Thomas learns, not all the people in his group are immune. The vulnerable ones are the control group of the WICKED experiment. When Thomas, after a very long soapy shower and change into clean clothes, meets up with his friends, he's delighted to see them all…with the possible exception of Teresa. He can't stop thinking about her actions and how she called WICKED "good." Something is wrong there, but Thomas doesn't know what it is.

He's distracted, though, by Rat Man's announcement that they are all about to retrieve their memories. Some in the group, including Thomas, are not so sure they want WICKED using their torture-instrument-appearing contraption on them to remove the Swipe from their brains. While they are mulling it over, Rat Man informs them which in the group are not immune to the Flare, and it's devastating news for someone Thomas cares for. That person joins Thomas and a few others when they decide that, no matter what happens, they must fight their way out of WICKED's headquarters. Luckily, they get help from a most unexpected source, and their first pulse-pounding battle begins, on their journey to finally discover the truth.

THE DEATH CURE is a "What? It's morning already?" turn-the-pages-all-night kind of a story, so don't open it unless you're ready to dive in for the duration. The plot keeps ripping right along. Characters' destinies are revealed (sometimes tragically, adding a poignancy to this adventure story). Thomas undertakes a quest that leads him to places and to explanations that readers would never predict. After a tale that twists and turns, author James Dashner manages to give us a satisfying but not-too-tidy conclusion to this extremely enjoyable trilogy.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on November 1, 2011

The Death Cure
by James Dashner

  • Publication Date: October 11, 2011
  • Genres: Science Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0385738773
  • ISBN-13: 9780385738774