The Kill Order by James Dashner is the first prequel book in The Maze Runner series, and is just as, if not more, engrossing than other of Dashner’s novels. Unlike books two and three in the series (The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure), you don’t necessarily need context for this novel from book one, The Maze Runner. A quick rundown of the story is as follows: It’s thirteen years prior to the events that will occur in The Maze Runner. Alec, Lana, Trina, and Mark, our main character, are companions and four of the small portion of Earth’s population that was able to survive the devastating catastrophe known as The Sun Flares. However, one day, in the settlement where Mark and his friends have settled down with other survivors of The Sun Flares, a Berg (a futuristic, gigantic, and expensive flying ship) surprisingly lands in the settlement, and men in lab-like gear get out and start firing darts at the people. It soon turns out that these darts actually hold a deadly and highly contagious virus that affects the head and brain, and thus, the story begins.
I’ve got to say, firstly, that James Dashner has truly mastered the writing of a story in an apocalyptic setting. But more importantly, he is great at connecting you with characters you didn’t even know existed ten minutes ago and truly making you feel something when they go through an ordeal or loss or moment of joy. Now, I’m not sure if this was the author’s intent, but the novel also made me really think a lot about what I would do if I were in a situation like the characters. Would I decide to save this person? Would I risk this? Would I risk that? How would I keep myself from being infected by the virus (if I can at all)? In that way, this book was even more awesome.
Now, I think Dashner could have gone into a bit more detail at certain parts of the book, such as when describing the journey of our central characters through the forest, but overall, I thought The Kill Order was a very solid read. On a finishing note, I think this novel would be appealing to a wide variety of readers, from those who crave horror to those who enjoy action. Unlike books like Day One and Day Zero, I didn’t grow jaded to the many action scenes throughout the Maze Runner series, and this is most likely because Dashner artfully executes them, mixing in parts that are more focused on character interaction/development and without action at the appropriate points throughout the book.
In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed The Kill Order, just like the other Maze Runner series books. I’d definitely recommend checking it out, and if you’re not so much a fan of horror, there’s not much to worry since there aren’t too many scary scenes in the book anyway. Enjoy!
Review By ~ Andrew