I really enjoyed The Maze Runner series even though I didn’t connect with either Thomas or Teresa – that's a testament to Dashner’s storytelling that I was willing to hang in, reading not only the three books in the series, but the prequel too.
The Kill Order is set years before Thomas and Teresa are sent to the maze. In fact, in this book they are both little older than toddlers. The hero of this story is a seventeen-year-old boy named Mark, helped by the “Old Bear”, an ex-soldier Alec. Mark, of course, has a love interest, Trina.
The story opens moments after the sun flares have destroyed most of the planet. From there, Dashner shows – in graphic detail – how the population was infected with the Flare virus.
With that out the way, the plot is very straightforward. Mark and Alec have to get from point A to point B and then back to point A without being eaten alive by the ‘crazies’. This journey entailed many fist fights, described in great detail. Mark even says that he’d had the air knocked out of him about a hundred times in a couple of days. So, if you like fast-paced crack, cut and thump, then this book is for you. Sadly, it didn’t work so well for me.
So, what did I like?
I appreciated the descriptions of how the virus eats away at the brain, driving decent people into rabid insanity. This was not something Dashner could really describe in the books from Thomas’s POV. But be warned, it makes for pretty horrific reading. It also explained why Teresa was so adamant that WICKED was good. As can be expected, there are no happy endings for most of the characters in this book.
Would I recommend The Kill Order?
If you really loved the series, then definitely. It’s a good scene setter. But if you were lukewarm, then no, don’t waste your time, because you’ll probably hate it.
My rating: 3 stars.