SYNOPSIS: After Thomas and the Gladers successfully complete The Scorch Trials, they are taken by WICKED for the final test to discover the pattern that will reveal the cure for the dreaded Flare disease. Thomas is isolated from his friends for close to a month before WICKED Assistant Director Janssen (Rat Man) gives him and the other survivors the opportunity to remove the Swipe from their brains to recover their memories. He also learns that he is immune from the Flare and so are most of the other Gladers from Groups A and B. However, there are a few who are not immune, part of a control group WICKED has included to get the best results from the tests. Filled with distrust, Minho, Thomas and Newt refuse the procedure and devise a plan to escape and take down WICKED once and for all. In the course of their journey, they discover the extent of the virus’s damage in the world filled with people gripped by madness.
I finished the last book in the trilogy faster than the first two books and it was because of the amount of questions that I wanted answers to. What was the extent of Thomas’s involvement in developing the trials, what the backgrounds of the Gladers were before they were included in the experiments, could Brenda and Jorge be trusted and what was the killzone? For the most part, The Death Cure managed to provide the answers to these questions but without Thomas actually regaining his memories, or without learning what the other Gladers were before the trials, there were many gray areas that prevented me from connecting emotionally to the situation.
There was also a lingering doubt about the loyalty of Brenda althroughout the book, perhaps because of her connection with Chancellor Paige and I just could not understand why Thomas blindly believed in her. Thomas’s relationship with Teresa, which was one of the main storylines from the first book, also never quite recovered from what happened at The Scorch Trials and this, I think worked in favor of the book and against it. In a sense, it added to the suspense and sense of mystery as to whom to trust, but on the other hand, it felt like an open wound that would not close. For me, there was a great big loophole in the story when Thomas did not question why Jorge lied about Teresa and the rest of the Gladers leaving ahead of them from the WICKED facility. While Brenda and Jorge did help them escape, I did not understand Thomas’s blind faith in the two when they were clearly working for another member of WICKED, whom he knew nothing about. And of course, there’s Gally and the Right Arm. While I understand why Thomas would want to side with a group so dead set against WICKED, he did not think things through or ask about their motives of how they would set out to achieve their mission. This was really very uncharacteristic of the Thomas from the first two books.
While reading The Death Cure, I felt like I was transported into the pages of a Walking Dead comic book and it even had a World War Z vibe going on with all of the Cranks going on full attack mode — the chaos, the destruction, the utter lack of humanity. Still, I felt like like Denver was a merely a detour intended to hype up the final revelation as to what the pattern is and what should be done to get it from the killzone.
If I had a favorite part in the book, it would be the first part when Minho, Thomas and Newt stood firm in not wanting to get the Swipe removed. I loved that the Rat Man called them rebels and the I admired the strength of their resolve to take down WICKED with only the three of them. The David vs Goliath scenario was a winner. While the Newt storyline broke my heart, it was one of the strongest points of the book, in my opinion.
All in all, I am still on the fence about how the series ended. It seemed harsh and coldhearted and in the end, it would seem that WICKED still had the last laugh. There were a lot of things I liked about the ending, when they returned to the Maze to finish what they started. After reading the entire thing, I felt like it delivered everything that a climactic finale should, but it made me feel sad, because of all the deaths and future deaths destined to happen in the new world. After The Death Cure, I felt like there were still too many questions about what happened BEFORE, and perhaps this was the reason that James Dashner wrote the prequel The Kill Order. The Death Cure was well written and engaging, just like the first two books but I felt like it should have delivered more closure.