Review | Crank Palace (The Mazer Runner #3.5) by James Dashner

“Tommy will understand…” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: strong friendships, memories coming back, bullets, bowling alleys, trucks, journals, notes, the flare, pain and a lot of cranks.

Newt has been to hell and back with his friends.

The Glade. The Maze. The Scorch. The inner halls of WICKED. But now he has a burden that can’t be shared with Thomas and the others—the Flare. And Newt can’t bear the thought of his friends watching him descend into madness as he succumbs to the virus.

Leaving only a note, Newt departs the Berg before the Gladers return from their mission into Denver, Colorado. From there, he experiences the gritty nightmare of life on the streets, running from the infected and those hunting them, until he ends up in the Crank Palace, the last dumping ground of those without hope. Although Newt thought he was running away from his friends to save them from himself, along the way he meets a young mother named Keisha and her son, Dante, who end up saving Newt in a way he could never have imagined.

Taking place during the latter events of The Death CureCrank Palace tells the story of Newt like never before, from inside his own mind, as he searches for meaning in a life gone horribly wrong. He will try to fulfill a newfound destiny before his path leads to its inevitable conclusion—and one last meeting with his best friend.

I recently reread the ENTIRE “Maze Runner” series – prequels and all -, and for what, you may ask? Well, to read this one with a fresh memory, of course!
Honestly… this was better than I thought it would be! Newt is one of my favorite characters, so there was no way in hell I wouldn’t read this.
This novella shows Newt’s POV while he wasn’t present during most of the plot of the third book of the trilogy “The Death Cure”. This book fills the gaps and shows what was happening with Newt! He meets a woman named Keisha and her son Dante, and he spends most of his last days with them, with the goal of trying to reunite them with their family. I loved the new characters that were introduced and how they protected Newt – and even made him laugh some times. I usually don’t love James Dashner’s female characters, but I loved Keisha!
This novella was very heartbreaking and I (almost) cried multiple times while reading it. It was painful to see Newt suffering so much and going in and out of consciousness. Now that I’m thinking about it, that’s probably why I like this series so much. I just feel so connected to these characters like I know them in real life – so I feel their pain and I root for them.
Even though it was a very sad read, I’m glad Newt got to remember some things about his past and also got to know about Sonya. Not only that, but Newt wasn’t alone most of the time. He found good people that cared about him. Those are a few positive things that readers are able to take from this book.
The ending was surprising to say the least. The last appearance in the end was not expected, and the things said were also very surprising. It made me think if James Dashner is thinking about writing a new sequel! And let me tell you friends: if there was another book in “The Maze Runner” series to continue the “Newt’s journal” situation by Thomas getting to read it, I would probably pick it up.
With that said, I know this book also serves as a prequel for a new series based on “The Maze Runner” series, named “The Maze Cutter”. I honestly have no desire to pick up this new series because I just know I will be disappointed. So no, I won’t be going down that rabbit hole. I’ll just keep going back to “The Maze Runner” from time to time when I miss the characters.
Now, the real questions you may have:
Was this novella necessary? Probably not.
Is it worth reading? Yes! Just prepare the tissues when you pick it up.

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