The Scorch Trials

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For the film based on the book, see Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.
The Scorch Trials
The Scorch Trials cover.jpg
The Scorch Trials
Author James Dashner
Cover artist Dennis Louis
Country United States
Language English
Series The Maze Runner series
Genre Young adult, science fiction, post-apocalyptic
Publisher Delacorte Press
Publication date
September 18, 2010
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book
Pages 361 pp.[1]
ISBN 978-0-385-73875-0
OCLC 502029786
LC Class PZ7.D2587 Sc 2010[1]
Preceded by The Maze Runner
Followed by The Death Cure

The Scorch Trials is a 2010 young adult post-apocalyptic dystopian science fiction novel written by American author James Dashner and the second book, fourth chronologically, in the The Maze Runner series. The novel was published on September 18, 2010 by Delacorte Press. It is preceded by The Maze Runner, and followed by The Death Cure. A film adaptation was released on September 18, 2015 by 20th Century Fox.[2]


The book starts with Thomas and the other teenagers known as "Gladers", who had escaped from the maze in the previous book, sleeping in the dormitory they were brought to by a group of rescuers. Thomas is woken by a telepathic communication with Teresa, the only woman from the Glade, who is afraid. As he wakes up, he finds that the facility is being attacked by Cranks, aggressive zombie-like people that have been affected by a plague known as "the Flare." Cranks aren't crazy and zombie like when they first catch the flare. When they aren't past gone, when they aren't trying to kill everyone, they can act normal at first. He and the others escape into the facility's common area and discover that their rescuers are dead. They also find that Teresa is missing from her room, and in her place is a boy named Aris Jones. Aris explains that he escaped from a similar Maze experiment, dubbed "Group B," in which he was the only male. The boys discover tattoos on their necks assigning them specific roles.

The Gladers re-enter the common area and find the bodies of their rescuers have disappeared. They find someone, a scientist from WICKED, named Janson (described by the boys as "Rat Man"), who explains that WICKED has been studying them to try to find a cure for the Flare. He tells them they have been infected with the Flare and must in two weeks get through the Scorch, a burned out section of the land, to find a safe haven and get the cure.

The Gladers travel to the Scorch through a portal (called a Flat Trans) and find themselves in a tunnel filled with traps. They escape into the desert and find a building in which a girl is screaming. Thomas discovers that the screaming is artificial and enters the building to find Teresa, who kisses him and tells him that he needs to stay away from her.

As the Gladers search for supplies, Thomas begins to remember the relationship he had with Teresa before their memories were removed. They find a city, but encounter a storm that kills several boys, including Winston and Jack. They take refuge in a building where they find a group of Cranks led by a man named Jorge. Thomas convinces Jorge and a teenage girl named Brenda, his second-in-command, to help the Gladers escape in exchange for some of the cure. Thomas and Brenda get separated from the rest of the group, and Thomas discovers a message written all over the city that says that he is the real leader. Thomas and Brenda are then suddenly captured by another group of Cranks who drug them, but before they pass out, Brenda tries to kiss Thomas. He refuses her advances because of his feelings for Teresa.Telling Brenda that she could never be Teresa. Minho rescues them with the help of the other Gladers, but Thomas is shot in the shoulder with a rusty bullet that leads to an infection.

Thomas' infection gets worse, and WICKED captures him to heal his wounds. A healed Thomas is later returned to the Gladers, where he explains that WICKED never wanted him to get shot and that they considered him very important. Thomas later receives a telepathic message from Teresa warning him that something terrible is about to happen and that she won't be able to help him.

The Gladers come across Group B, now led by Teresa. Group B takes Thomas prisoner, and Teresa says that she plans on killing him. Some of the other girls tell Thomas that Teresa had never liked him and their earlier kiss had been against her will.The girls of group B tell Thomas that they are not going to kill him and Teresa isn't happy. Later, Teresa comes to Thomas with Aris. Teresa and Aris kiss, and she explains that she has been manipulating Thomas all along. They lock Thomas in a room where he passes out. While passed out, he remembers some of his past relationship with Teresa and Aris before he entered the Maze. Eventually, Thomas is rescued by Aris and Teresa, who explain that they were forced by WICKED to make Thomas feel totally betrayed, and that if they hadn't complied, WICKED would've killed Thomas. Thomas is conflicted, but no longer trusts them.

The Gladers and Group B make it to the location where the safe haven is supposed to be, but they are attacked by monsters created by WICKED. A WICKED vehicle called a Berg arrives and they fight their way on board, but WICKED will allow only one, either Jorge or Brenda, to come with them. Thomas chooses Brenda, hoping that WICKED would take whomever he didn't choose. When they don't, he improvises by overpowering the guard, forcing him at gunpoint to allow both of them to stay. The guard agrees, telling them that this had been yet another test. Later, as they rest, Brenda communicates telepathically with Thomas. Thomas is now separated from his friends in a plain, white room and has been left in isolation for a long period of time. Teresa also telepathically communicates with him, telling him that the others are being told that he has succumbed to the Flare. Thomas telepathically tells Teresa to leave him alone, and she reminds him that "WICKED is good" before cutting off communication. In the epilogue, Ava Paige sends an email saying that WICKED will soon tell the Gladers whether or not they are immune to the Flare.


  • Thomas: A teenage boy who was a Runner in the Glade. He discovered that he had a part in helping WICKED and building the Maze when he was stung by a Griever. He has the ability to speak telepathically with Aris and Teresa. The tattoo on the back of his neck that was given to him by WICKED researchers says, "To be killed by Group B." Thomas struggles with many conflicts throughout the book, such as becoming the real leader, being betrayed by Teresa, and most importantly, surviving the Scorch. This causes him to become confused, hurt. He goes through a lot on this adventure. During the trip he falls for Brenda.
  • Minho: A Korean-American boy who was the Keeper of the Runners in the Glade. He is sassy, aggressive, and stubborn which gets him in trouble frequently. He is friends with Newt,Thomas, Frypan and the other gladers. The tattoo on the back on his neck shows that WICKED intended for him to be "The Leader."
  • Newt: A British boy with long, blonde hair. He has a slight limp, and is Thomas's and Minho's friend. The tattoo on the back of his neck designates him as "The Glue."
  • Teresa Agnes: Thomas's best friend before the Glade. She can speak telepathically with Thomas and Aris. She spends much of the novel with Group B, of which she becomes the leader. She gets under the control of WICKED at times, which makes it difficult for Thomas to trust her. She was to be known as "The Betrayer". She joins Wicked.
  • Aris Jones: Another boy who was involved with WICKED before the Maze. He spent the first novel with Group B. His role in his group was similar to that of Teresa's. He can speak telepathically with Thomas and Teresa and his best friend, Rachel, who was killed when Group B escaped their Maze. The tattoo on his neck designates him as "The Partner."
  • Jorge: A man who presents himself as the leader of the Cranks. He appears to be dangerous and psychotic, yet also humorous. He is a father figure towards Brenda. He helps the Gladers to get past the scorch and expects a cure for himself and Brenda.
  • Brenda: A girl from Canada who was turning into a Crank. Both Jorge and herself help lead the Gladers through the Scorch. Brenda leads Thomas after they become separated from the rest of the group. She eventually falls for Thomas.
  • Rat Man: The first researcher to present himself to the group who informs the Gladers that they have the flare and how they can get the cure.
  • Ava Paige: The chancellor of WICKED and the one responsible for engineering teenagers to be sent to the Maze for study in their search for the cure of the Flare. She has never been seen in the series, but Thomas is saved from a fatal brain experiment by a note from chancellor Paige. She states that a cure for the Flare virus will never be found and that the Immunes are humanity's last hope to restore the dying world, but WICKED's actions of sending them for Trials are threatening that hope.

Film adaptation[edit]

On October 11, 2013, it was reported that Fox had acquired the rights to The Scorch Trials. A screenplay would be written by T.S. Nowlin, with director Wes Ball supervising the scriptwriting.[2] The film would be titled Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. On July 25, 2014, Ball announced at San Diego Comic-Con International that they wanted to start shooting in Fall 2014 should its predecessor become a success when it hit the theaters in September 2015; also unveiling a concept image at the conference, which implied that he will be directing the sequel as well.[3] However, two weeks prior to the film's release 20th Century Fox decided to move ahead with the sequel and pre-production as well as prepping the sets began in early September 2014 in New Mexico. Director Wes Ball was set to return, as were actors Dylan O'Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario. On September 26, 2014, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Aidan Gillen was signed in to play the antagonist, Rat Man in the sequel. On 1 October 2014, it was announced that Rosa Salazar and Jacob Lofland had signed to play Brenda and Aris Jones, respectively. On 3 October 2014, it was announced that Giancarlo Esposito was to play Jorge in the film. Creature designer Ken Barthelmey designed the creatures for the film.[4] The first official trailer was released on May 19, 2015.


  1. ^ a b "The Scorch trials" (first edition). LC Online Catalog. Library of Congress ( Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Chitwood, Adam (October 11, 2013). "Fox Hires Writer to Start Work on MAZE RUNNER Sequel THE SCORCH TRIALS". Collider. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ Sciretta, Peter (July 25, 2014). "The Maze Runner Sequel The Scorch Trials Concept Art Revealed [Comic Con 2014]". Retrieved July 26, 2014. 
  4. ^

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