The Kill Order by James Dashner

I think I’m probably James Dashner’s number one fan (outside of the US).  His Maze Runner Trilogy is one of my favourite series and the first book, The Maze Runner, is in my top 5 books.  It’s one of those books that keeps you constantly on edge, trying to figure out what the heck is going on, and James Dashner’s amazing storytelling sends a shiver down your spine.  Although the first book is my favourite of the series, James keeps you in suspense and reveals little pieces of the puzzle throughout the rest of the trilogy (The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure), making you eagerly await the next installment.  The Death Cure was the perfect ending to the series, but James felt there was still more of the story he wanted to tell, specifically how the world went to hell in a hand basket and why there needed to be a maze in the first place.  The prequel to the Maze Runner Trilogy, The Kill Order, has just been released in the US and I had to know how it all started.

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.

I felt completely satisfied after finishing The Death Cure, but The Kill Order is like dessert. James reveals even more pieces of this wonderful puzzle of a story, connects them with pieces from the other books in the trilogy, and turns everything you thought you knew on its head.  The story shows us what happened after the sun flares struck the earth, how people coped in the aftermath, where the Flare virus came from and how it spread.  It’s told through the eyes of completely new characters, Mark and Trina, and we follow their fight for survival after the sun flares strike the earth.  The things that Mark and Trina see are terrifying, horrific and sometimes incredibly creepy.  Several times I thought twice about reading it before bed, in case those images stayed in my head.  Although they’re different characters, you feel for them just as you felt for Thomas, Teresa and their friends.

Now that I’ve read The Kill Order I desperately want to start the series all over again, because there’s all this new information I didn’t know the first time around.  One thing I especially love about The Kill Order is that Thomas and Teresa make an appearance, which really connects this book with the rest of the series.  James’ ability to connect all the pieces of his story together left me shaking my head in amazement and thinking ‘Wow, this guy is good!’

If you want a series that blows The Hunger Games out of the water, read The Maze Runner Series.

5 out of 5 stars

N.B. This is the US hardback edition of The Kill Order.  The paperback edition, published by Chicken House, will be available in NZ in March 2013.  I’m an impatient reader, especially when it comes to series, so I couldn’t wait.

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