Monday, February 11, 2013

The Kill Order 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.

My review:

Alright. I was just going to review The Kill Order, which I did not like. But in the end, I decided to give the rest of the series a chance. I think I would have liked, or at least understood, The Kill Order better if I had read it last or even second. But I didn't. I read The Kill Order first, then The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure all right in order. Well, to be precise, I listened to them, and I think the narrator influenced my opinions of them, as is true for so many audiobooks when compared to reading a hard (or digital) copy: same story, completely different experiences.

I liked all three of the books more than the prequel (The Kill Order), though it was somewhat difficult to like them as I had an inexplicable dislike for the main character, Thomas, that never warmed to more than apathy toward him. If you've read my other reviews, you know that most of my enjoyment from a book comes from how well I like the characters, but that doesn't always mean the characters have to be bright and shiny and relatable. Something about Thomas just rubbed me the wrong way. But that aside, I really liked Minho and some of the others, and when I read through quotes from the book on Goodreads (yeah, I'm weird like that), I found myself really enjoying them and kind of missing being in Thomas's world with him.

So Thomas and his friends are immune to this terrible disease that is ravaging the world. They are taken and raised by scientists and basically brainwashed into believing they are the only people who can find a cure for the disease. Which might be true, but finding a cure is not the only option, and after their memories are taken from, their brainwashing with it, Thomas and the others start to see things differently and resent being used like lab-rats.

There were many parts of the story that I thought were not necessary to the main plot, and a lot of what I thought were holes in the plot, things that did not make sense to me (but I always feel that way with fantasy, dystopian, and sci-fi). And the series definitely could have been heavier on the romance, lighter on the action, and much lighter on the violence--but that's mainly personal preference.

All in all, I liked the series, and I thought about it for a long time afterward. It's always the books that give me mixed feelings and make me think that are the hardest to write reviews for, especially reviews that sound positive--even if I liked the book. I think this is one of those reviews. There were so many things I didn't like mixed in with so many things I really loved, that it's hard to just give it a thumbs down or thumbs up or something. I never give stars here because I think they are so arbitrary. So I think the only thing I can really say is experience The Maze Runner series for yourself and make up your own mind.

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