James Dashner on his new book The Eye of Minds

I’m a huge fan of James Dashner’s Maze Runner series so I’m really excited about his new series, The Mortality Doctrine.  The first book in the series, The Eye of Minds is released in the US in October.  This video is the first of a series of videos that James will be posting about his new series.

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.

Freaky Futures Giveaway

I love YA science fiction!  You’ll probably be able to tell that by reading my reviews.  Some of my favourite stories are set far in the future, on other planets or deep in space. One of my favourite science fiction series is The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner (which I think is even better than Hunger Games).

Thanks to Scholastic New Zealand I have 2 YA science fiction book packs to give away, including a copy of The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials by James Dashner and Six Days by Philip Webb.

All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your details in the form below.  Competition closes Wednesday 30 May (New Zealand only).

Death Cure by James Dashner

James Dashner’s Maze Runner, the first in the Maze Runner trilogy, is one of my all-time favourite books (you can read my review on the Christchurch Kids Blog).  It’s one of those books that is stuck in my head and I just couldn’t put down.  There are only a handful of books that have totally blown me away and The Maze Runner is one of them.  I’ve eagerly awaited the next books in the trilogy, The Scorch Trials, and finally, The Death Cure.  I honestly can’t tell you much about the plot for fear of spoiling the trilogy for those who haven’t read it, but here is the blurb:

“Thomas knows that Wicked can’t be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they’ve collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It’s up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.
What Wicked doesn’t know is that something’s happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can’t believe a word of what Wicked says.
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure? “

All I can say is that The Death Cure is the perfect finale to an amazing series.  Thomas and the Gladers have come through this terrifying ordeal and the group are completely changed by the end.  James Dashner has managed to keep the suspense going throughout each book and keep us hanging out for The Death Cure to discover the truth.  If you’re a fan of dystopian or post-apocalyptic worlds, like those from Hunger Games and Divergent, you need to read The Maze Runner Trilogy.  You won’t regret it.

To get a taster of what to expect, watch this amazing book trailer:

Teen vs. society – rise of dystopian fiction

My first couple of reads for the year have been dystopian novels and this looks to be a growing trend in Young Adult fiction. Personally I love dystopian novels.  I love the imaginations of these authors who build a society that could easily exist in the not-too-distant future.  They take a small piece of today’s society, such as social networking or consumerism, and ask ‘what if this got totally out of control?’

CoverIn Rae Mariz’ debut novel The Unidentified, 15 year-old Katey (AKA Kid) goes to school in the Game, an alternative education system run by corporations.  These ‘Games’ have been set up in disused shopping malls, so where there used to be shops, there are different spaces that students can go to try new products and participate in activities to increase their ‘score.’

The students vie with each other to be noticed and sponsored (or ‘branded’) by the corporations, thereby giving them celebrity status and financial freedom.  Students each have iPad-like devices that they use to update their profile pages and live streams. When Kid witnesses a mock suicide staged by an anonymous group called the Unidentified, she begins to doubt the system. The story will strike a chord with teens and they’ll be able to really relate to Kid and the suffocating world she lives in.

If you’re a fan of  YA dystopian fiction there are plenty of titles to choose from.  Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy is the most obvious choice (and the most popular) but here are a few others I recommend:

  • The Maze Runner and the sequel, The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  • The Ship Builder by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis