The Scorch Trials

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The Scorch Trials
The Scorch Trials cover.jpg
The Scorch Trials
AuthorJames Dashner
Cover artistDennis Louis
CountryUnited States
SeriesThe Maze Runner series
GenreYoung adult, science fiction, post-apocalyptic
PublisherDelacorte Press
Publication date
18 September 2010
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book
Pages361 pp.[1]
LC ClassPZ7.D2587 Sc 2010[1]
Preceded byThe Maze Runner 
Followed byThe 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 Maze Runner series. The novel was published on 18 September 2010 by Delacorte Press. It is preceded by The Maze Runner, and followed by The Death Cure. A film adaptation was released on 18 September 2015 by 20th Century Fox.[2]


The book starts with Thomas sleeping in the dormitory with the other teenagers – known as the Gladers, who had escaped from the Maze in the previous book – where they had been brought by a group of rescuers. Thomas is woken by a telepathic communication with Teresa, the only girl from the Glade, who is afraid.

As Thomas 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 were normal citizens before The Flare, after which they became crazed zombie-like killers.

Thomas 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 then discover tattoos on their necks assigning them specific roles and fates.

The Gladers re-enter the common area and find that the bodies of their rescuers have disappeared. They find a scientist from WICKED named Janson (described by the boys as "Rat Man") who explains that WICKED has been studying them in order to try to find a cure for the Flare. He tells them that they have been infected with the Flare, and in two weeks must 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 recover memories of the relationship he had with Teresa before his memories were removed. They find a city but are caught in a storm that kills Winston, Jack, and several other boys. They take refuge in a building where they find a group of Cranks led by a man named Jorge. Thomas convinces Jorge and his second-in-command – a teenage girl named Brenda – 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. Brenda tries to kiss Thomas before they pass out, but 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' wounds get worse and WICKED captures him to heal his infection. A healed Thomas is returned to the Gladers, where Thomas explains that WICKED never wanted him to get shot, and that WICKED considers him very important to their plans. 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 Group B girls tell Thomas that Teresa had never liked him and their earlier kiss had been against her will. The girls tell Thomas that they are not going to kill him and that Teresa is unhappy about the situation.

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 unconscious, 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 have killed him. Thomas is conflicted and no longer trusts them.

The Gladers and Group B reach the location where the safe haven is supposed to be, but there they are attacked by monsters created by WICKED. A flying vehicle called a Berg arrives from WICKED and they fight their way on board, but WICKED will allow only one other to come with them: Either Jorge or Brenda must be killed. Thomas chooses Brenda hoping that WICKED takes whomever he didn't choose. When they don't, he overpowers the guard and forces him at gunpoint to allow both of them to remain on the Berg. The guard agrees, telling them that this was yet another test.

Later as they rest, Brenda communicates telepathically with Thomas. Thomas awakens separated from his friends in a plain, white room, left in isolation for a long time. Teresa tells him telepathically that the others are being told that he has succumbed to the Flare. Still not trusting her, Thomas tells Teresa to leave him alone; she tells him that "WICKED is good" before cutting off communication.

The Epilogue

The epilogue is in the form of an e-mail from Chancellor Ava Paige. Dr. Paige writes that WICKED will soon tell the Gladers whether or not they are immune to the Flare.


  • Thomas: A teenage boy who is 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, Teresa, and Brenda. 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 and hurt.
  • Minho: A teenage boy who was the Keeper of the Runners in the Glade. He is aggressive and stubborn which gets him in trouble frequently. He is friends with Newt, Thomas, and the other Gladers. The tattoo on the back on his neck shows that WICKED intended for him to be "The Leader".
  • Newt: A boy with long, blonde hair. He has a slight limp, and is Thomas' 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".
  • Aris Jones: Another boy who was involved with WICKED before the Maze. 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 Brenda help lead the Gladers through the Scorch. Brenda leads Thomas after they become separated from the rest of the group.
  • Janson (Rat Man): The first WICKED researcher to identify himself to the Gladers. He informs them that they are infected with the Flare and how to get its cure.
  • Ava Paige: The chancellor of WICKED who is responsible for arranging for teenagers to be sent to the Maze for study into research for a cure for "the Flare".

Film adaptation[edit]

On October 11, 2013, it was reported that Fox had acquired the rights to The Scorch Trials. A screenplay was to be written by T.S. Nowlin, with director Wes Ball supervising the scriptwriting.[2] The film was titled Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. On 25 July 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 26 September 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 19 May 2015.


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

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