Author: James Dashner
When I first read started this series a couple years ago, I was so disappointed with the first book that I swore I wasn't going to read the rest of the series. However, with my lack of reading options, I got desperate and decided to give Dashner another chance.
Fortunately, I did enjoy the second book in this series. The series continues right were the last book left off (which is not surprising since the last book had a little in the way of conclusion.) For the second book, the children of the maze find themselves forced to face another mysterious challenge designed by WICKED. Set in the future, the world has been ravaged by two different disasters: first, a massive sun flare radically changed the climate of Earth (making the the majority of a the planet uninhabitable.) Then, to make matters worse, a new deadly disease, which causes people to lose their humanity and go crazy, breaks out.
For the second trial, the children are released into the quarantine zone for the infected people and given just two weeks to fight their way across to safety. As with the first book, there are many questions posed about the mysteriousness of WICKED and these trails; however, Dashner again offered very few answers. In addition to the workings of the trial, Thomas (the main character) now finds himself in a love triangle with Teresa (from the first book) and Brenda, an infected girl who helps them cross the quarantine zone.
The Good: The book is a fast-paced read and generally an enjoyable read. It definitely has several key elements that all YA books seem to require nowadays (a dystopian society, a love triangle...the only thing missing is a little wizardry!)
The Bad: Again, I really wish that these books would function more as stand alone novels. I don't like how the storyline seems to run continuous throughout the three novels with very little division. I think this would have been a perfect single novel, but as three separate works it just annoys me.