February 27, 2013

Book review: The Kill Order by James Dashner

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Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next.

Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

The Kill Order is a prequel to The Maze Runner series. It takes place before the Maze was built, shortly after the sun flares scorched the planet. I liked the Maze Runner books but felt that the series ended on a low note because the last book in the trilogy, The Death Cure, didn't answer the important questions satisfactorily (like why did they choose to build the Maze when there were easier ways to accomplish what they wanted to?) and it was also only a so-so book overall. I hoped The Kill Order would complete the task that The Death Cure didn't.

I was disappointed. This book offered few additional answers to the questions I had. It read more like a new adventure that takes place in the same universe as The Maze Runner. The other problem I had was that I didn't particularly care for the main character, Mark. He seemed like a weak, childish protagonist. Not to spoil too much of the plot, but if what happened to Trina in the second half of the book had happened to Mark instead, I doubt that I'd care about the outcome. It's too bad that Dashner didn't devote more words to Trina instead. On the other hand, the story itself wasn't boring. The plot took me through many twists and turns, albeit predictable at times and hard to believe at others.

I wish Dashner had used The Kill Order to tie up more of the loose ends that he left after The Death Cure. I don't know if this book is the start of a new series or if it's meant as a standalone book. If you loved The Maze Runner trilogy and can't get more of that universe, then this book is for you. Otherwise, I recommend that you pass on it.

I read this book as part of the Authors A to Z reading challenge. Next up: Angelfall by Susan Ee.

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