The Death Cure

Introduction

The Death Cure is a 2011 young adult dystopian science fiction novel written by American writer James Dashner and the third book published in the Maze Runner series (the fifth and last in narrative order).[1] It was published on 11 October 2011 by Delacorte Press and was preceded in publication order by The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials and followed by the series prequels, The Kill Order and The Fever Code. In narrative order, it is the last book in the series.

Plot

Thomas is held in solitary confinement but is eventually released by WICKED's Assistant Director Janson ("Rat Man" in the prior novel).

Janson tells the Gladers (Group A) and Group B that there is a cure for the Flare. Many of those present are immune to the Flare while some are not, and escaping would serve no purpose, as people in the outside world despise the Immunes. Janson reads out names of people who are not immune to the Flare. Thomas is devastated to hear that his friend Newt is not immune.

The Gladers are offered the chance to remove the mind-control chips in their heads and so restore their memories, but with the devices removed, Thomas, Teresa, and Aris will no longer be able to communicate telepathically. Only Thomas, Minho, and Newt choose not to undergo the surgery: they believe they cannot help to find the cure if they lose their telepathic connection or gain their prior memories. All three of them escape from WICKED with the help of Brenda and Jorge before their chips are removed.

Brenda and Jorge are revealed to be working for WICKED and were sent to the Scorch (see previous novel). Thomas feels betrayed, but Brenda convinces him that she had no choice, and that most of her behavior was honest; Thomas forgives her. Soon afterward, the Gladers discover that everyone who had undergone the memory-restoration abandoned them; Newt gives Thomas a note and tells him to open it "when the time is right".

The five of them then go to Denver looking for a former WICKED researcher named Hans who can remove Thomas', Minho's, and Newt's mind-control chips.

When they arrive at the airport a man in a black-suit directs them to an address where ex-Glader Gally is waiting for them. Newt must remain behind because he would be arrested and confined with the other Cranks. Gally has joined a rebel group called the Right Arm, and is determined to end WICKED's trials and experiments. He tells them that WICKED is capturing every Immune they can find to prepare another cycle of the Trials. He also reveals the decaying cities are home to many who suffer from the Flare, but take an illicit drug called Bliss which slows down brain functioning and helps relieve the pain Cranks feel from the Flare.

Thomas and his friends find Hans who removes Minho's control chip, but WICKED uses the chip to force Thomas to resist the procedure: Brenda, Jorge, and Minho have to hold him down in order for Hans to perform the surgery.

They visit a café where a man is caught taking Bliss and arrested by the security guards. One of the guards apprehends Thomas in order to sell him to bounty hunters that will take him to WICKED. WICKED Assistant Director Janson intervenes in holographic form, sending a police vehicle to rescue Thomas. Janson tells Thomas that "to save Newt", he must return to WICKED.

Minho, Thomas, Brenda, and Jorge return to the Berg (vehicle) to find a note saying that Newt has been taken to the Cranks. Minho convinces the four of them to go to the Denver Crank Palace to rescue Newt, where they bribe the guards to get in. When they meet Newt, he angrily orders them to leave and the other Cranks chase them out. Thomas then remembers the note Newt gave him and reads it, to find that Newt had begged Thomas to kill him. Thomas despairs over not having read the note earlier, and the four go back to Denver.

In Denver, Thomas sees Newt, who has succumbed to the Flare. Newt begs Thomas to end his suffering and kill him. Thomas shoots him in the head as an act of mercy. Then, they discover that Teresa and the other Immunes all had been captured. Thomas and Minho knock out the Immunes' former guards and threaten them to make the guards take them to WICKED also. Thomas and Brenda discover the guards were led by Vince, the leader of the Right Arm. Vince tells them the Right Arm is copying WICKED's operations, and plan to take over their headquarters building.

Working for the Right Arm, Thomas arrives at WICKED headquarters and discovers that how he meant for Thomas "to save Newt" is to provide data to complete the cure by Janson examining the physical structure of Thomas's brain, which will kill Thomas. Thomas is forced to begin the deadly brain surgery but is first able to plant a device that disables WICKED's weapons, and the Right Arm begins storming the facility.

Thomas wakes up to find himself alive and finds a note from Chancellor Paige, head of WICKED. She writes that some WICKED staff did not accept the violence that WICKED caused in its search for a cure to the Flare plague. She explains there are already enough resources from the Trials to make a blueprint for the cure, and that his brain is not needed after all.

In the note Paige reveals the location of the Immunes whom the Right Arm "sold" to gain access to WICKED, and gives directions to a "safe place" where Thomas should take them all. Thomas and his friends re-enter the Maze and find the captured Immunes. However, they learn the Right Arm does not intend to occupy WICKED headquarters but instead intend to destroy it. Explosions rock the Maze and falling debris kill some of the Immunes inside. Triggered by the commotion, the Grievers come out of storage, but Teresa shows Thomas how to shut them down. She, however, dies from falling debris in an effort to save Thomas’s life. Fleeing the building, the Immunes escape through a Flat Trans portal that leads to a lush paradise.

The Epilogue

The book's Epilogue is written in the voice of Dr. Ava Paige, Chancellor of WICKED. She reveals that after the catastrophic solar flares, the plague called "the Flare" had been deliberately created by the government and released as a form of population control. The government believed that the disease would kill quickly and soon stop spreading, but once released it escalated beyond government control. WICKED was not able to find a cure.

Dr. Paige finally realized that from the beginning the Immunes had been the only actual hope and devised a plan with Brenda and Jorge to send the remaining Immunes to a safe refuge. There they can survive the collapse of the rest of the world, and afterward rebuild society and restore the human race.

This, she claims, is the reason why "WICKED is good".

Characters
  • Thomas: The main protagonist of the series. He is a teenage boy who was a Runner of Group A ("the Gladers") before escaping the Maze with his fellow Gladers in The Maze Runner. He continued this with crossing the Scorch in The Scorch Trials, in which he was continuously manipulated by almost everyone, making it hard for him to trust other people again. Thomas escapes from having his memories restored in WICKED's headquarters and becomes entangled in the conflict between WICKED and the Right Arm – a rebel organization that opposes it. During the events in The Death Cure he falls for Brenda.
  • Minho: A Glader, and the former Keeper of the Runners of Group A. He was Thomas' fellow Runner back in the Glade and throughout the series becomes Thomas' best friend throughout their Trials, joining him to escape WICKED's attempt to restore their memories and saving the Immunes from the Maze.
  • Newt: A Glader who took upon the role of the leader of Group A after their previous leader, Alby, died in The Maze Runner. He is one of Thomas' steadfast companions, alongside Minho. The book reveals that Newt is not immune to the Flare virus and is slowly succumbing to its influence. Eventually he begs Thomas to kill him, and Thomas shot him to end Newt's misery.
  • Teresa: The only female Glader of Group A. In The Scorch Trials she reveals she has always been working for WICKED, which causes Thomas to distrust her. She volunteers for her memories to be restored and moves with the other Gladers to Denver. She eventually turns against WICKED. She dies after saving Thomas from being crushed by falling debris.
  • Brenda: A Canadian girl who was part of a group of Cranks in The Scorch Trials before becoming separated and having to navigate through the Scorch with Thomas. She helps Thomas, Minho, and Newt, escape from WICKED's headquarters and help them remove WICKED's controller chips from their brains. She and Thomas fall for each other again.
  • Jorge: The leader of a group of Cranks that the Gladers met in The Scorch Trials. He has a close relationship with Brenda. Brenda described their relationship as Jorge being to her "like an uncle". He was revealed to be working for WICKED, but helps Thomas, Minho, and Newt escape from WICKED's headquarters and remove their mind-control chips. He has a habit of mixing his speech with Spanish words.
  • Aris: The only male member of Group B. He met Thomas in The Scorch Trials. Aris, Thomas, and Teresa were close friends before they were sent into the Maze. In The Scorch Trials he was exposed as an agent of WICKED, like Teresa.
  • Janson (Rat Man): The Assistant Director of WICKED and the book's main antagonist. He is succumbing to the Flare virus, which explains his desperation for a cure. He arranges for the Group A and Group B survivors' memories to be restored, but wants to make them go through the Trials again. Eventually Thomas kills him by strangling him, after Janson and other WICKED members try to re-capture the surviving Immunes.
  • Gally: A Glader of Group A who strictly followed the rules of the Glade and thus became Thomas' adversary in The Maze Runner. He indirectly caused Chuck's death when Chuck intercepted the knife Gally had thrown at Thomas. In this book, he reunites with Thomas and reveals that he has been working with the Right Arm, an organization determined to stop WICKED. However, after discovering the Right Arm's true purpose, he left with Thomas and the Gladers to rescue the Immunes in the Maze.
  • Vince: The leader of the Right Arm, an organization opposed to WICKED. He is Gally's boss. He recruits Thomas to infiltrate the WICKED headquarters and plant a device inside that disables the WICKED's weapons, and then leads the Right Arm's invasion of WICKED. He is strictly dedicated to his cause and brands Thomas and Gally traitors when they attempt to save hundreds of Immunes hidden in the Maze, which is about to be destroyed by the Right Arm.
  • Lawrence: Vince's assistant who captures Thomas, Minho, Brenda, and Jorge and delivers them to a safe house. After their demands to see "the boss" Lawrence took them to Vince. He later drops off Thomas near the WICKED headquarters for his plan to plant the explosive device.
  • Hans: A former WICKED scientist whom Thomas, Minho, Brenda, and Jorge, meet at Denver to help remove the mind-controlling chips from Thomas and Minho.
  • Ava Paige: The Chancellor of WICKED and the person responsible for managing and organizing the search for a cure of the Flare, including sending teenagers into the Maze to study the minds of Immunes. However, she disagreed with the consequence that the teenagers were being killed. Her character serves as the omniscient voice in the books' Epilogues. She was never seen in the series, but every Epilogue of the three books in the main series, plus The Fever Code, includes an e-mail that she writes to her associates. She states that a cure for the Flare virus will never be found, that the Immunes are humanity's last hope to restore the dying world, and that WICKED's actions of sending them for Trials are threatening that hope. She is serves as an ex-machina in the narrative, saving Thomas from a fatal brain experiment at the last minute, after he was sedated; She instigates and secretly orchestrates his rescue of hundreds of Immunes from the attack on the Maze. She also promises and delivers a paradisaical safe haven for the Immunes.
Reception

Critical reception for The Death Cure was mixed.[2][3] Commonsensemedia gave the book three out of five stars, commenting that the book's oppressiveness kept it from being more memorable than they wanted it to be.[4] The Deseret News also commented on the book's bleak nature, but praised it as being "both conclusive and satisfying".[5] The Horn Book Guide and Kirkus Reviews both gave positive reviews, with the Horn Book Guide opining that the book's conclusion was "thought-provoking".[6][7]

Film adaptation

Wes Ball, who directed the previous films in the series, confirmed that, if he returned to direct, the final novel would not be split into two films.[8] In March 2015, T.S. Nowlin was confirmed to write the script.[9] On 9 July 2015 Defy Media revealed that filming was set to begin in February 2016.[10] On 16 September 2015 Variety confirmed that Ball would return to direct the third film.[11] The film began principal photography on 14 March 2016 in Cache Creek, British Columbia. On 19 March 2016, Maze Runner star Dylan O'Brien was critically injured on-set when he was struck by a car during a stunt sequence.[12] On 20 March 2016, director Wes Ball announced production was shut down to allow O'Brien time to recuperate from his injuries. On 22 April 2017, the studio again delayed the release in order to allow more time for post-production.[13] Maze Runner: The Death Cure was released on January 26, 2018.

References
  1. ^ "The Death Cure (review)". Booklist. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Book Review: 'The Death Cure' by James Dashner". Jacksonville.com. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Death Cure (review)". Library Journal (Book Verdict). Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "The Death Cure: Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 3 (review)". Commonsensemedia. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Ellsworth, Emily. "Book review: 'The Death Cure' is an action packed conclusion to 'The Maze Runner' series". Deseret News. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Death Cure (review)". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Ribay, Randy (Spring 2012). "The Death Cure (review)". The Horn Book Guide. 23 (1): 94. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Sciretta, Peter (9 October 2014). "'The Maze Runner' Finale 'The Death Cure' won't be Split into Two Movies". /Film. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Busch, Anita. "'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' Sets T.S. Nowlin To Pen". Deadline.com. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  10. ^ ClevverTV [@ClevverTV] (9 July 2015). "The script for Death Cure is currently being worked on & will begin filming in February #ScorchTrials #ScorchSneakPeek" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 July 2015 – via Twitter. 
  11. ^ McNary, Dave; Chi, Paul (16 September 2015). "Wes Ball Returning to Direct Third 'Maze Runner'". Variety. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 
  12. ^ "ET Canada | Blog - UPDATE: Maze Runner director on injured star Dylan O'Brien: "He is one tough cookie."". etcanada. Retrieved 2016-03-21. 
  13. ^ Wes Ball (22 April 2017). "Hey maze fans. Don't worry. Release date shifted 4 weeks. It's a good thing. I get four more weeks of VFX finals, sound mixing, & editing". Delay. 
External links
  • The Death Cure Book Trailer on YouTube

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