As I mentioned in my previous review of The Scorch Trials, the burden of these dystopian YA series is justifying the peril that the YAs endure in these future societies. The Scorch Trials didn't give enough of a reason to subject kids to those kinds of dangers, but I was holding out hope that The Death Cure would. Unfortunately, not only did the book not give enough justification for the trials, but it also made the entire series pretty pointless.
(Needless to say, if you haven't read the book, then you might want to stop reading this review here.)
The jump from The Maze Runner to The Scorch Trials was pretty abrupt, enough so to make me think that Dashner wasn't really sure what he was doing with the series. The Maze Runner worked well enough so long as you didn't stop to think, "Why are they doing this again?", but then with The Scorch Trials, that "Why?" was the central point of the book (supposedly). When it wasn't answered then, I expected the answers to come with The Death Cure, but we still don't have all the answers because Thomas didn't get his memories back (a plot point that was still troublesome to me, since all he wanted up to that point were answers; what the heck happened to that motivation?), and those who did all seem to be dead. By the end of the story, he has an idea of what the "Why?" was, but not enough to get all the answers he was hot to demand earlier in the series.
The ending, though, was the real disappointment. I've been fine with books that didn't reveal all the answers by the end of the story (in fact, I've been pretty hard on books that did answer all the questions), but when you give the series an ending which makes the entire three books pointless, it makes me wonder why the books were written at all. If you go through all the trouble of putting these kids through these terrible things, why end the series with, "Yeah, that would have worked, but instead we're just going to send those who are immune to an idyllic paradise (which, by the way, doesn't make much sense since the story has suggested that there aren't any of those left in the world) and let them repopulate the planet"? Didn't someone somewhere along the lines of getting this book published ask that question? I had some other issues with the novel (the world is a barren, scorched wasteland between the two tropics of the hemisphere, but there are still cold, snowy regions outside of that area?), but that one has to be the worst offender.
The book is still readable and compelling (Dashner never ends a chapter where you can easily stop), but this time it just didn't feel like the effort was worth it. It almost makes me want to go back and remove a star from the rating of The Scorch Trials since I gave it a better review in the hopes that the answers would come with this novel. I guess there's still The Kill Order to possibly give me the answers I seek (and why do these later titles sound like a series of Steven Segal movie titles?), but it can't change the fact that the ending was pretty pointless. It's almost as bad as the ending to Son of Rosemary.