The Scorch Trials by James Dashner.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 4 stars, I liked it a lot.
This book is a sequel, as such this review will contain spoilers for the previous book. If you want to read my review of The Maze Runner you can find it here.
Synopsis: This book starts up immediately after The Maze Runner. Thomas and the other survivors of The Maze have been rescued. They are in a safe house and out of the hands of WICKED. Or are they? The morning after their rescue everything starts going wrong. There are crazy people outside the windows, their rescuers are dead and one of their own is missing. To top it all off they are told that they are infected with a deadly illness and their only chance of being cured is to travel over 100 miles on foot in less than two weeks. If they make it to the safe haven on the other side of a desert and a tall mountain range they will receive the cure. If they don't make it they will die a horrible death.
The first couple of chapters started off slowly, the boys were reveling in food and freedom and generally enjoying not being in The Maze anymore. Once the story really got going I had a hard time putting the book down. Every time I would tell myself "at the end of this chapter it is time to go to bed" something terrible, mysterious, or otherwise compelling would happen at the end of the chapter and I had to keep going. I stayed up half the night to finish the book!
The plot and story are very compelling. The true nature of WICKED is hinted at a little more in this one than in Maze Runner. Thomas is regaining more and more of his memories and piecing his own life together. The Gladers encounter strangers, people unaffiliated with WICKED, so they learn more about the state of the world and a more clear picture of what they are facing begins to surface. The reach and control of WICKED is also made clear in this book. Something outside of the approved Variables for the test happens and WICKED immediately steps in to correct it. This lets the Gladers know just how important the tests they are being forced to undergo are.
There were some things in this book that caused me to rate it less than it's predecessor. Teresa's subplot was very frustrating to me. Thomas' refusal to use his telepathy is very frustrating as well. Much of the grief he put himself through could have been avoided if he had just telepathically communicated. If I had the power to talk to my closest friend telepathically I would do it all the time, even if I was angry! Some of the plot points in this book were very obvious to me, it astounded me that Thomas the genius missed the very obvious things that I saw, though to give the poor kid some credit he was a lot more stressed out than I am.
Frustrations aside The Scorch Trials is definitely a compelling and well written book. Everyone who reads The Maze Runner should read The Scorch Trials as well!