The prologue of The Kill Order describes the period immediately before Thomas is placed in the big box -- where we find him at the beginning of The Maze Runner. I expected the following story to take us to this point by the end. It didn't. We go back 14 years, to when solar flares pretty much destroyed everything on Earth.
Mark and Trina are in the wilderness trying to survive. Mark has dreams which serve as flashbacks of the actual time after the sun flares. We find out how this group of friends ended up together and the trials they have gone through. But, in the "present," it seems like life is hard, but things are going fairly well. Then, the village is attacked by a huge ship in the sky. Black clad soldiers shoot many of the villagers with dart guns. These villagers soon die.
So, Mark and his rescuer, Alec (who is a former soldier), decide that they need to take off into the wilderness to find out where this berg (as they call the ship) came from. Eventually they end up on a huge adventure with Trina and some other characters joining them.
When they meet up with other humans, they realize that these dart guns have spread a deadly virus that makes people go crazy before it kills them. So, in essence, we now have a zombie book. The action was very tense. The Kill Order, just like The Maze Runner Series, is a page turner. I thought the encounters with these rabid populations were a bit much. They dragged a bit, with every detail being explained and much of it turned my stomach. Younger teens will probably love these parts, but I just wanted to get on with the story. I didn't need all of these encounters described in exquisite detail, with the hero being almost killed and then saved just in the nick of time (over and over.)
Did I care about the characters? Not really. I was entertained by them, in particular Alec, who is one tough old man. He and Mark had some interesting exchanges. There's a romance between Mark and Trina, but I don't think there was enough to establish it before the huge attack, so I didn't really care that much about their relationship.
And, while The Kill Order is supposed to be a prequel, there's still a large period of time to cover before we get to the point where WICKED is formed and Thomas is put in that box. Yes, there's an epilogue that skips ahead, but that doesn't count. Maybe there's another story coming to fill the gap. This is supposedly what happened to set up The Maze Runner, but it really is a separate story that can be read at any point, whether you've read The Maze Runner or not.
I liked The Kill Order. It certainly kept my interest. It was exciting. I suspect many people will need to read The Kill Order just because they want to know how and why WICKED is formed. But, this is only part of that story.
Published by Delacorte, August 14, 2012
eARC obtained from NetGalley
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