Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Kill Order (Prequel to The Maze Runner Series) by James Dashner

* * * *

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.

Let’s get straight to the point. The Kill Order is depressing.  Even more so that the rest of the series simply because it takes place so soon after the sun flares that life before all hell broke loose is still a fresh memory.  Every page speaks of the loss that these characters have just experienced. That is compounded by the heavy task of survival and learning to live in this new world that is all debris, chaos and vile.

We flash back 13 years before the events of The Maze Runner. Mark and Trina are in New York when the sun flares hit but survive because they were traveling the underground subway system when it happened. There they meet up with Alec and Lana, two army vets. Alec is a real tough guy who has seen plenty of action in his time and takes them under his wing. Together they attempt to stay alive and seek out shelter and food.

The Kill Order is all about being in survival mode. The only time when there is “down time” is at the beginning of the book. Otherwise, it’s straight action and mayhem once they’re attacked and the disease starts to take a hold of people’s minds.  Many of the things that occur, such as the disease, will be familiar to readers of the previous three books.  

I enjoyed the book. Yes, I know I said it was depressing but when a disaster of this magnitude happens, how can it not be? What makes it hard to swallow is seeing what becomes of those left behind.  Human nature descends into the depths of debauchery, superstition, insanity and gore, all in the name of survival. of the fittest.  It’s a new world order with rules made up as you go along. Everyone is out for themselves and it’s hard to figure out who to trust. It’s in this world that Mark and Trina begin to lose their innocence.  Mark goes from being the average teenager nursing a crush to a leader and hero who has to learn to make hard decisions including pulling the trigger when needed.

This is a must read for fans of the series. The prologue at the beginning of the book featuring Thomas and Theresa where he is getting the procedure moments prior to ending up in the box gave me the chills! Even though it’s short, it gives a more sympathetic perspective of Theresa and their friendship. It's kind of heartbreaking too knowing the trials they have to endure later. Overall, The Kill Order, which will be released August 14, is a great addition to the series. Believe me, you'll feel just as exhauted and worn down as the characters but this time we know what we're in for and we know how it all ends eventually.
~ Bel

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