A.N: Spoilers ahead!
The Fever Code by James Dashner was an intense and interesting read. As are all of his books. In this story, we learn even more about the Gladers we came accustomed to in The Maze Runner trilogy, but here, acting as a prequel but a sequel to The Kill Order, we are given each character’s backstory.
In this novel, we are introduced to a character named Stephen, who is being forced to call himself Thomas, he goes through gross torture and forgets his old name. It is almost as if a part of his soul is stripped from him, he’s only five years old and he’s undergone something no human being should have to suffer. Torture of the body, mind and soul. He is isolated and only knows life in terms of injections and tests, he briefly sees Newt and Minho, the former of the two is, revealed to have a younger sister, Lizzy in the opening chapter, a character we later know as Sonya.
Apart from the brief glimpses he gets of other children his age, he merely has a peak at the girl in the room next to his, Teresa, who was formerly called Deedee. He hates his new life and we empathise with him, the only goodness he receives is the warmth from Dr. Ava Paige, who we know not to trust. This is WICKED and all of its workers seem adamant on putting children through tests, in the hopes of finding a cure for the Flare. A virus that WICKED themselves released to control the population.
When he finally gets to speak to Teresa it is in small instances, in meeting rooms. They both have an implant in their heads that was forcefully placed there, something Minho was seen reacting badly to. It is only once they’re older that they realise the implants allow Teresa and Thomas to communicate. A couple of years down the line, Thomas meets Newt, Minho and Alby for the first time, properly. A friendship forms and together they have nightly meet ups, however, things go downhill quite quickly.
As Thomas grows he’s given more responsibility with WICKED, helping them design the two mazes which will house the Gladers, however he is kept in the dark from Ava’s real intentions. The older he is the more he sees how dark WICKED really are, as a child he knew this and it’s clear he always has, but has somehow been able to push those thoughts away, in the comfort of knowing that none of his friends are being hurt, until they are.
In a failed attempt at escaping to the outdoors and the complex itself, they are taken to the Cranks pit, to watch and see the downfall of those affected by the Flare and later on, Minho is subjected to torture by a creature that could clearly kill him. Thomas is forced to watch and is isolated once more. He is unable to see Teresa or his other friends, for what appears to be a long time. However, when Thomas and Teresa are able to mingle with the others in their group properly, going to classes together and eating with one another, things appear to be looking up.
Only, it’s not.
Minho is never the same again and Gally, is forever frightened by what happened, which explains his actions in the later books. Thomas and Teresa’s input with WICKED steadily grows and along the way, we meet Charles, known as Chuck. In what is a heart wrenching and stimulating read, we watch as Thomas and Teresa send their friends into the Glade one by one, each without their memories. At first, living in the maze seems to be a great deal better than being in the WICKED institute, but Thomas’s and Teresa’s boredom takes a dark turn when George, a Glader is killed, who we can later assume is Brenda’s brother. Thomas grows closer to Brenda and Jorge when they are introduced but panic strikes Thomas when he realises that his friends will be sent into the Scorch.
Unable to watch his friends die at the hands of Grievers and dismay, Thomas refuses to be a part of it anymore and wishes to be sent into the maze to save his friends. If only it were that simple. He is betrayed time and time again by WICKED, being forced to kill members of the leadership, only to find out Ava had planned the whole thing, believing that Teresa was on his side, only to have his memories wiped, when he had asked for that not to happen. It is revealed that Teresa always had her memories and was a firm believer in WICKED. We are left feeling hurt and upset, as Thomas forgets who he is – all of his memories, of their time before and during WICKED are stripped from his mind.
Just as his friends in the Glade, who have no recollection of who they used to be, Thomas is just as clueless. And it appears, that this was always the plan. And as Thomas joins his friends in the Glade, we are left knowing what happens in the end.
In a sad and harsh storyline, Dashner questions people’s humanity and how far one person can go in the hopes of helping the greater good, and if killing a smaller portion of humanity, is worth saving the larger. Food for thought. What do you think?