Review: The Kill Order by James Dashner

The Kill Order James Dashner The Maze Runner
The Kill Order by James Dashner cover The Maze Runner

Title: The Kill Order
Author: James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner #0.5
Genre: Dystopia, YA
Publication date: August 14, 2012
Rating: ★★★½

Synopsis: 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.

People warned me about The Kill Order and said it wasn’t a very good book. They found it confusing and strange. And although I don’t agree with the last part, I do think they might be right about the first. It’s definitely not as good as the original trilogy.

For one I’m disappointed it doesn’t focus more on the coming of the sun flares and its aftermath. We get a brief description of what it must have been like through a couple of dreams, but those were mainly focused on the forming of relationships and not on the “apocalypse” itself. Is there a reason for the coming of the sun flares? How did it start? How were things after? How many survived? These are questions I would have liked to see answered. Instead we read about the spreading of The Flare. And don’t get me wrong, I loved learning about that part, but it couldn’t entirely satisfy me either. I missed the bigger picture. The only info we get on the Post-Flares Coalition and the reason behind the kill order is through Mark and what he accidentally finds. And he doesn’t find a whole lot more than what we already knew by reading the original trilogy.

It could have been good though. I don’t really think it’s the story that lacked. If by story I solely focus on the series of events. It was tense, sometimes brutal and really interesting to read about the spreading of the Flare. But following a couple of new characters on their path to survival just wasn’t enough. Because I didn’t really have a connection to any of them and I mostly wanted this book to answer questions. I wanted it to be a real prequel to the Maze Runner Series. I think maybe the book shouldn’t have had a singular POV. It would have benefited from a character on the inside. Someone who could help us understand what things in the PFC were like. Because a decision to kill half the population of the world isn’t simply made. No?

Still. I could have considered all of this and still give this book a high rating, if it hadn’t been for the characters. I’m not sure how to start. I didn’t like them. I didn’t feel them. I didn’t hate them either, they were nice enough, but I just couldn’t make myself care if they lived or died. And that’s a bad thing. You can’t really love a book if you’re not at least a little bit emotionally invested. They were all ‘okay’, nothing more.

My feelings were a little stronger towards Mark, but unfortunately not in a good way. I couldn’t get over the fact that he was just plain stupid. He was brave, he was caring, he (thought he) was funny and all that, but none of that mattered because he seriously lacked common sense. Every time he found himself in a precarious situation, he acted real foolish. He was impatient and impulsive and it really annoyed me.

During the entire book I was looking for some sort of a connection between the characters in this book and the ones in The Maze Runner. From the beginning I had a feeling Deedee might be more important than was led on and I guess I was right. I figured out who she was rather soon. Still I would have liked a bigger connection somehow.

This book wasn’t bad. It was just a bit of a disappointed because I expected something worthy of The Maze Runner and it couldn’t reach that level. But it is worth reading. It’s not like it’s a complete waste of time or anything.

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