Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: The Kill Order

The Kill Order
by James Dashner (Website | Facebook | Twitter)
Series: Maze Runner, #0.5 (Prequel)
Published: August 14th, 2012 by Delacorte BFYR
Pages: 327 (Hardcover)
Genre: Dystopian
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.

I really really liked the Maze Runner series so if you haven’t read it yet, you should. That being said I was understandably excited for The Kill Order. I did really like this book, but in a really different way than the other books in the series, which wasn’t something I expected. I’ll try to leave out as many spoilers from the Maze Runner trilogy as possible in this review, but there might be a couple.

First off this is a prequel to The Maze Runner so I feel like reading the trilogy first would make The Kill Order more enjoyable since there are some things in it that spoil parts of the trilogy. I might have just noticed them 'cause I was looking for them though. Although, I think Allie said she was going to read this one first and then the Maze Runner series and see how that is, so keep an eye out for that in the future!

The characters in The Kill Order did have depth and I did care about them, but only to a point. It might be that I’m really attached to the characters from the Trilogy, but the characters in this were a little flat. Also, I felt that the point of this book wasn't necessarily to tell its characters' story but rather to flush out the world of Maze Runner. I was about halfway through The Kill Order when I realized it seemed like I hardly knew any of the characters, I got over it by the end of the novel but it definitely took me a while to feel connected to the characters. I did like the way that the group dynamics worked because it felt real. Like I hate it when the interpersonal relations of a novel are like this: there are 7 characters and they're all "oh we're best friends every single one of us!" There's no depth in that.

The Kill Order is set 13 years before the events of The Maze Runner, right as the world goes crazy. I thought the world-building was awesome, and I love how a major portion of this book was about building on to the world that the characters from both The Kill Order and The Maze Runner live in. I really did feel like by the end of the novel I had learned a lot more about the fascinating world Dashner created, and how people adapted to it. Also, it gives a lot of background on some of the major players from the main trilogy - which I really appreciated because when I was reading them, I wanted to know more about why things were the way they were and how the world got to the way it was.

Overall I think that The Kill Order is better seen as a sort of companion novel to the Maze Runner trilogy since it provides a lot of details on the world and its politics. I still really enjoyed it and I think that if you've read The Maze Runner and need something to read for a rainy weekend that this is a great choice. On a side note: the back of this book is awesome, it’s just the words “ EXPOSURE INFECTION TRANSMISSION PANDEMIC EXTINCTION”  in bold font, which would definitely make me intrigued if I saw it in a store or library.

I'm giving this one two ratings: 
    - For a standalone novel - 3/5 stars: It was good but not breathtaking
    - As an extension of the main series - 4/5 stars: I loved world building and it provided lots of answers.

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