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Review: The Kill Order by James Dashner

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Kill Order

(The Maze Runner #0.5)
by James Dashner
Genre: YA post-apocalyptic, survival
Paperback: 368 Pages
Publication: January 7, 2014 by Delacorate BFYR


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.

◆ A copy was provided by Random House for review ◆

The Kill Order sets up the backstory of the creation of the post-apocalyptic world of the series. Its connection to the series is shown through the prologue, epilogue, and top-secret document at the end of the book, which otherwise don't serve a purpose to the novel. In fact, they're more like bonuses included within the pages of the book. Fans of the series will enjoy this addition to the Maze Runner books and how this builds upon the world created in the trilogy.

Outside the series, this novel doesn't stand well on its own. As I mentioned earlier, its primary interest seems to be in exploring the world during and following the solar flares that burn the world and destroys life as mankind knows it. The novel is highly plot driven with Mark and his companions trying to find out what happened to their village and hopefully to find a cure. Instead of offering a solution, however, it leaves us wondering what will happen to the Mark and the remainder of his companions, and it leaves the top-secret document at the end of the book to explain how The Maze Runner trilogy will answer our questions about what happens next for some of the characters.

The characters's personalities seem interesting but fall flat on the page. The one I liked most is the gruff soldier Alec. He knows what he's doing and doesn't take BS. Mark is impulsive and often wants to take action immediately a lot of the times without thinking about the consequences. His love interest Trina doesn't get much page time. The little time that she is shown, however, her personality seems docile and sentimental. The only time she takes a stance is in taking the little girl Deedee, who'd been abandoned by her village, along with them, even though Deedee may have the virus and bring harm to their group. The rest of the characters seem likable; however, their personalities don't get much of a chance to shine and fall flat on the page.

Again, I believe that fans of The Maze Runner trilogy will enjoy this addition to the series. However, as someone who hasn't read the series and also someone for whom character development is important for my enjoyment of a book, it hasn't made me eager to pick up the series.

     0.5 The Kill Order
     1. The Maze Runner
     2. The Scorch Trials
     3. The Death Cure
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