The end of CBR-III seems to also be the wrap up for the bazillion trilogies (Well, 7, not counting the series without a determined number of installments. I am prone to hyperbole.) that I have read this year. Inevitably I am sucked in by the first, bored a little by the second and generally pacified, if not wholly satisfied, by the third.
Impossible not to be a little bit spoilery here, so proceed with caution. (See Maze Runner & Scorch Trials)
WICKED finally comes clean that the maze, scorch trials and general sadistic rigmarole that the kids were subjected to was a way to SAVE THE EARTH. All of the “participants” were already infected with the Flare disease that the earth succumbed to after the sun flares hit, but somehow, they remain immune. By studying the brain waves of “munies” while they are subjected to off the chart stress, they think they can come up with some kind of serum to stop the Flare and its progression. In the last phases of development, WICKED claims, they offer to return everyone’s memories to them which involves some sort of invasive brain procedure. Thomas isn’t buying it.
Most of the book consists of Thomas, once again, unsure who to trust. Characters with ambiguous loyalties return again and he must decide which of them can help him lead the Gladers to safety.
The most interesting question that weaves through all three books is Thomas’s past association with WICKED and the fact that it was his idea to have them erase his memories and insert him in the test group. I was hoping that would be a little more fleshed out here, but it is still a murky he said/she said/they said situation without any real resolution. Hopefully Dashner has a prequel in the works because Thomas’s struggle with who he was and who he has become rises above the group trials dynamic. Did he once have complete faith in the cure enough to sacrifice himself to the trials? I’m not sure I’m buying it.