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The Death Cure by James Dashner

2013, first published 2012  

This is the third story in the Maze Runner series.  The ending is very open and there is a fourth book to follow.

Thomas is identified here as a type of final solution – WICKED wants his brain. They need to examine it in order to find a cure and antidote to Flare.  Flare is a pandemic.  The disease makes its sufferers crazy and also turns them into flesh-eating animals. Thomas and some of his friends who have been kept in the Maze are naturally immune.  Not all of them, however, and some of his friends are part of a “control “group.  Once they’re out in the real world one of his friends succumbs to Flare. 

The disease is called “Flare” because a solar flare caused it to escape forma laboratory.  It was a man-made disease.

Note, I read this at the time of the lockdown because of coronavirus. Flare causes completely different symptoms but it spreads in a similar way.   

Like in all of the Maze Runner novels the pace is fast.  This is partly achieved by the use of very short chapters – three to four pages long.  There are multiple twists and turns as well and the stakes are high throughout.  There is quite a bit of violence.  There are also several deaths and Thomas feels the loss of friends and loved ones, and guilt when he is forced to kill.  

It is a thick book, 328 pages long. The font is small and the text is blocked. Each chapter has a decorative representation of a maze in its header.    


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Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales

2017, fluent reader, Key Stage 2, ages 9-11, upper primary
Here are some familiar fairy stories though the titles may fool you: Rapunzel becomes The Tower and the Bird, Rumpelstiltskin becomesStraw into Gold, and Cinderella is Roses Around the Palace. We are also offered some rather interesting details about some well-known stories. The mayor of the town with the rats tells us how the children who replaced the lost ones were much more amenable than the ones who were piped away. A young girl has a sliver of the looking-glass that once belonged to a wicked queen.Whilst the girl has chickenpox her grandmother tells her Snow White’s story. It is true she assures her granddaughter. How does she know? Because she is Snow White. Hansel and Gretel tell the story of what they did in their holidays.
There is perhaps an assumption that the reader will be familiar with the original stories. Certainly they are amusing and not just for the young reader.Adults can enjoy them too. 
This is quite a …