Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Kill Order: Full-on Apocalyptic

Book Review: The Kill Order by James Dashner

I'm not a fan of apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic literature, although I did enjoy reading The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure, all part of the Maze Runner series. But The Kill Order is the prequel to that series that tells what led up to the three-part series. This book is full-on apocalyptic.

It's full of rich detail like Dashner's other books, has a main male teenage hero who has crush on a female teenager, and he's fighting a foe - in this case, it's the Flare, the virus set off by the multiple governments that survived a solar flare that roasted Earth. That's where the comparisons end.

The story begins as humans attempt to rebuild their lives after the massive solar flare and then are without warning attacked by an unknown force with darts laced with the virus that will become known as "the Flare." Everything sinks into chaos afterwards as the virus spreads out of control and our main characters, with the aid of two adults who have rescued them after the solar flares, try to find the unknown force to get answers. It takes a downward spiral from there as the characters fight off memories of the effects of the solar flare and then a never-ending zombie-like horde of sick people affected by the virus. It gets down right ugly.

Unlike the Maze Runner series, this book has no happy ending. It's actually quite a depressing read with few high points. At first I thought the main character, Mark, would turn out to become Thomas, and his love interest, Trina, would become Teresa, in The Maze Runner. Sadly, no. Then I thought perhaps one of the minor characters, a child named Deedee who is immune to the virus they rescue during the book, would become Teresa, but I think not.

As I read this book I found myself liking it less and less, unlike the other books. It's well written, don't misunderstand me, but a story that drags me through despair and gives me as a reader little hope for the characters and then in the end snuffs out all hope is not my kind of reading. Perhaps it had to be that way to lead the reader into the world that created the scenario behind The Maze Runner series. But I would have felt better off without it.

Dashner's next book coming out at the end of September is The Fever Code, which is book five, another Maze Runner prequel. I bought The Kill Order - I don't plan on buying this next installment.

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