Ana's Bookshelf · Review

The Kill Order (Maze Runner, #0.5) by James Dashner

The Kill Order (Maze Runner, #0.5)

The Kill Order (Maze Runner prequel)
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: August 14th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating:3.5/5 Stars

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.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.


There are the books that either have too little action and you’re bored to tears reading said book, or book that have too much action, and too little of everything else. The Kill Order tends to fall in the latter category of books, and I’ll bet that was where Dashner was intending The Kill Order to fall.The plot for The Kill Order is simple – it’s the end of the world, sun flares are destroying the Earth, and a group of teenagers (are they teenagers?) are trying their best to survive the apocalypse. Along with the solar flares, men in green suits are coming out of the sky in blimp-like vehicles called Bergs, shooting random people with darts that contain a deadly virus. The group of teenagers try to discover the cure to the virus by doing incredibly stupid things all while trying not to get synched by the solar flares.

Now, the execution for The Kill Order is anything but simple (and looking back on the synopsis I wrote, even that doesn’t sound too simple). With the above synopsis, Dashner could have had a somewhat simple – but entirely enjoyable – book. While The Kill Order was still enjoyable, Dashner just had to add more to the book. And more. And more. From cults, to ritualistic burnings of people, to governmental deceit, The Kill Order just had too much.

With the aforementioned plot points, and much more seemingly random other plot points, you’d expect for there to be non-stop action, right? Well, if you thought that, then you would be correct. Almost every page in this book is filled with thrilling action, and while that might be your perfect cup of tea, it won’t be others, and it wasn’t mine, exactly.

Action isn’t the only thing that makes a book a good book. If you don’t have enough action, your readers will be bored. If you have too much action, your readers will have whiplash. But, no matter how much action – or lack of it – your book may have, it can’t be the only thing going for it. This is the case for The Kill Order. With action, you need to have character and relationship development, especially in a book like this, where the characters are put to the test in an apocalypse. My feelings towards all of the characters in this book were pretty lukewarm – I didn’t hate them, I didn’t love them, and I didn’t like them. They were just… okay… That’s not to say that they’re unlikable characters, because they’re not. It’s just that Dashner didn’t provide me as a reader with nearly enough character development for me to care for the characters and what they’re going through, or to like them.

That being said, if you’re the type of reader who just wants mindless action after mindless action, pick up The Kill Order – you won’t be disappointed in it. The action scenes are very well written and, for the most part, thrilling. However, if you’re a reader who values character development in books as opposed to action, The Kill Order won’t be the book for you. While I do consider myself the reader who values character development as opposed to action, I found The Kill Order to be a fun, thrilling, and quick read, but sometimes mindless action just isn’t enough.

-Ana @ SoManyBooksSoLittleTime


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