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  • Writer's pictureLaura L. Zimmerman

Book Review: ‘The Kill Order’ by James Dashner

I’m finally done this series! Yay! It feels like it took forever, considering I read the first book in November 2012. But I guess sometimes it takes Hollywood making a blockbuster movie of that first book, to kick me in the butt and read the rest! Without further ado, I give you my final review for the ‘Maze Runner’ series, with ‘The Kill Order’ by James Dashner. 

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Synopsis: 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.

Rating: 1 Star out of 5.

The Short: Sadly, there’s no cure to be found.

The Long: Yes, yes, it’s true. The Cranks took over this one, and there were no trials to save it.

First, the good: This is James Dashner, here. I like his writing. I like his imagination. He paints an incredibly believable post-apoc world that leaves you pondering how you would survive in such a climate. It’s also interesting to see the mutation of the sickness that turns the population into Cranks, and to see the ultimate downfall of humanity from the viewpoint of someone who doesn’t know what the future holds. A little like when Thomas and gang first ran into them, but without that essential character there to explain to them what to expect from the crazies. This small group just doesn’t understand not to approach the Cranks, even though we’re on the other side urging them to run away. And Dashner always does a good job bringing ‘easter eggs’ that travel with the characters throughout the story, and then become important in the end. Always fun. Also, the prologue begins with Teresa and the Epilogue finishes with Thomas, so we do get a little of the original series ‘fix’.

However, the similarities (and the promising elements) between the books end there. I will admit I had done some research before reading, so I already knew this novel was completely separate from the original three, and there would be no following Thomas through his journey as a child, as he came to be part of WICKED. And the story about Mark and Alec and Trina and Lana was fine… until it wasn’t so fine anymore

That is to say, it started out strong – their community of survivors are attacked by suited men who shoot them with deadly darts, so they set off to find out why! – but after that, the plot sort of became secondary to all the ridiculous ways in which they fought cranks.


My biggest problem with the book was that I couldn’t find an interesting plot line that made me care. At all. I honestly didn’t care whether Mark or Alec or anyone made it alive to the end. I didn’t even care about sweet, little five-year-old DeeDee. The book turned into them fighting Cranks in one bloody battle after another (Literally. There was just so. much. blood. And gore. So much gore. *shutter*) At one point I threw the book down, annoyed that they were attacked again. Yes, I do get that this was a new and desperate world, and that Dashner was adding ‘excitement’ to the script, but give the characters a break once in a while. Seriously. There’s no way that many bad things could happen to one group of people. Even in The Walking Dead they catch a break once in a while. It just got unbelievable.

I also found that some of the characters didn’t remain true to who they were and I repeatedly questioned why they reacted or said certain things, when sixty seconds prior they wouldn’t have imagined doing those things. I really wanted to put this book down and walk away. Sadly, the only reason I didn’t was because it was part of my Book Club book and everyone else had read it already, so I sort of had to finish. Especially since I picked the book in the first place. *Sigh*

Well, there it is. I’m very sad to be leaving such a poor review, but not sure what else to say. I do like this series overall and would probably still read another one, if he decided to write one. (As long as it wasn’t related directly to this plot.)

What about you? Have you read this? What were your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Happy reading, friends!

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