Dashner returns to his dystopian future in this second prequel to the blockbuster Maze Runner series, detailing how the maze came into being.
Solar flares inflicted horrible damage to the Earth, and the resulting illness known as the Flare has mown down much of the human population. A few survivors, primarily children, are known to be immune to the disease that is driving their loved ones into madness and death. Taken to a hidden scientific research complex in Alaska known as World In Catastrophe, Killzone Experiment Department, they grow up in near isolation, with little human contact. Thomas is a “munie,” taken when he was only 5, destined to be an elite subject in a long-range study to find a cure. It’s only after several years he meets other munies, developing friendships with many. But it’s Teresa who becomes more than a friend, his partner in developing the maze, meant to help scientists understand how different stimuli impact munies’ brains. Along the way, Thomas sees incredible cruelty inflicted on his friends, all in the cause of developing an elusive cure. He’s been taught that “WICKED is good”…but how long can he actually believe it? While the story details how the maze was built, it is still confusing as to why, giving this the feeling of simply a preface to set up all that follows. Thomas (evidently white, though his comrades are a multiethnic crew) goes from scene to scene like a piece on a Parcheesi board, moving in fits and starts to a predetermined end.
Will satisfy die-hard fans of the original trilogy. (Science fiction. 12-16)