Book Review: The Death Cure

The Death Cure, by James Dashner

As the third book in the Maze Runner series [1], this volume in many ways serves as a fitting closing to the series (although there is another book I have yet to read, a prequel, which gives a backstory, I would presume, to the series, and which I will hopefully get to soon). In many ways, this novel ends as the series began, only the characters are wiser and sadder, their trust continually broken, in constant peril, faced with difficult choices of self-sacrifice and the desire for safety and the longings for love and trust that are a massive struggle. Even the happy ending, which provides a sense of hope and closure, is deeply bittersweet in that it feels as if the characters have suffered enough that they have moved beyond the point where carefree happiness is possible [2] and where they will always be haunted by what they have done and what has been done to them.

This particular novel, like the rest of the series so far, is fast-paced and full of action and peril. The characters themselves have incredibly bad timing (I can relate!) and the plot of the novel hinges on hope and fear. To people who are continually manipulated, whose every struggle for freedom and autonomy is merely another variable to be taken into effect for the cunning and manipulation of wicked men (and women), to find relationships and peace of mind is terribly elusive. Again, I found it impossible not to relate to the struggles of the lead character, as I found his psychological makeup, and general tendency to find trouble alarmingly easily to mirror my own life (as those who know me, no doubt, will well understand). Even if this sort of novel is not the deepest novel, when compared with most of my reading, it does grapple with serious issues of trust, and of the accountability that governments have towards mankind. It should also be noted as well that this novel has company in its apocalyptic portrayal of Denver [3].

It is clear that WICKED, the wicked government of this series of novels, views itself to be good despite all evidence to the contrary. Indeed, there was an interesting moral point that this book brought out that I thought worthy of at least brief discussion as a way of showing that it was a more serious work than it perhaps set out to be. Over and over again this book gives an implicit critique of the idea of penance. Over and over again there are attempts by the world government of this novel to engage in a utilitarian view of morality, which is itself highly problematical by definition [4], and these attempts continually create massive difficulties for others, including the reduction of security in those few oases of hope for ordinary humanity, which become overwhelmed by darkness and evil. This is an apocalyptic novel with a happy ending that seems strikingly close to that of Revelation, minus the Messiah. One wonders if this was intentional or not, but it certainly has strong moral resonance.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See also:



About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christianity and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Book Review: The Death Cure

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Kill Order | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: A Wicked Treatment | Edge Induced Cohesion

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