The Kill Order by James Dashner
Expected Publication Date: August 14th, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 336 pages
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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.You know that feeling you get when you finish reading a really great dystopian novel where you can't help but wonder, "What about before?" Most dystopian novels are set in a world that's already been devastated by a natural disaster, sometimes centuries earlier. The communities are already rebuilding themselves, or have been rebuilt. James Dashner's The Kill Order takes us back to the beginning; before the Gladers, before WICKED, before Thomas and Teresa were even born. Although it doesn't have that familiar pull that The Maze Runner trilogy had that always kept me guessing, I still found myself drawn to Mark's story. The Kill Order takes us into the past and shows readers the origin of the Flare as well as how sun flares ravaged the world as we know it.
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.
The realness of Dashner's characters is something I always love, and the way they all have familiar fears and responses to certain situations. Mark is the main protagonist of The Kill Order, and another great male main character. Mark has his flaws, but he still manages to take care of himself and risk his life for others if needed. Trina's his best friend from before the sun flares and since the devastation of the world they've grown much closer. I really liked the way they interacted together; close but not in a disgustingly love sick manner. Alec, the closest thing Mark has to a father, is definitely someone I'd want around in a dystopian environment. He's kick ass and quick on his feet, saving everyone on more than one occasion. Even the side characters were great and had their own individuality that really stuck out.
The story itself is drastically different from The Maze Runner, so don't go into it expecting the same story line. The plot is fast paced and exciting as always, but if you've already read the trilogy then you know how everything is going to pan out. Most situations are easy to predict and there are few, "Ah-ha" or "WTF?!" moments. It is definitely interesting to see the events that lead up to the creation of WICKED and the Maze, and a lot of blanks will be filled in for you. There is also a time when you get to see the way a person's mind is infected by the Flare which is so different from what we're used to. While nothing is really a big surprise, it's definitely cool to get to see how the Flare is spread and how the world was before.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this prequel to one of my favorite dystopian trilogies. Seeing the world from all stages of the disaster that raged across America is not something we get to read about often. Most dystopian novels are set in the aftermath of a disaster, but we rarely know what happened before. Because I've already read the trilogy, I know most of what happens already. I still really enjoyed reading this, and while I missed Thomas I loved getting to meet some new characters. Even if you haven't read The Maze Runner you can still pick this one up without getting confused. If you have read the trilogy I definitely recommend picking this one up!!