Friday 31 August 2012

Review: The Kill Order - James Dashner

The Kill Order (Maze Runner, #0.5)
Title: The Kill Order
Author: James Dashner
Series: (Prequel) The Maze Runner Trilogy
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Release Date: 14 August 2012
Date Read: August 2012

The Kill Order is the much anticipated prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy.

This novel takes place thirteen years prior the time initial time setting of the trilogy. This is a time before Thomas and the Gladers, before WICKED was even created. The sun flares struck the earth and mankind succumb to a deadly disease.

We follow a new set of characters; Mark, Alec and a group of teenagers, who were all there when the sun flares struck. It is a constant battle for survival in the desolate landscape left behind by the sun flares. But they've managed to build a settlement, one of the few places left on earth where something that resembles a normal life can be established.

But one day, a Berg flies in on their settlement from nowhere, shooting darts at people, many of whom died immediately. Others took days to die, some weeks. They soon realize that the darts contained a virus designed to kill everyone. But the virus is evolving. Mark, Alec, Lana along with a few other survivors set out to find the origin of the horrific Berg. They must find a cure to the virus.

I thought The Kill Order would be about Thomas, Teresa, WICKED and the creation of the Glade. I thought we'd get to see Newt, Minho even Alby before their memories got wiped. The only mention of the characters we were all familiar with was at the prologue, highlighting the moments before Thomas entered the elevator that would soon take him to the Glade. To be honest, I was a lot more interested in what exactly Thomas' parts were in WICKED, in the creation of the Glade. Why was he and Teresa so important? It's not like he was the only one immune to the Flare.

Instead, Dashner brings us the story of the origins of the Flare, the disease that started it all. New characters are introduced where Mark and Alec are the main characters. Mark barely has any personality and Alec is a retired military man, whose job is fight and keep them alive. Mark has a love interest, Trina, that he has to saveut their relationship wasn't established well enough for me to feel sympathy over these separated 'lovers'. I didn't feel a connection with Mark. Sure, I wanted him to survive but there is that gnawing feeling that he isn't going to survive this, in the end. There was honestly no hope in this book, for the reader and even the characters themselves. Mark didn't even believe himself that he was going to survive this new set of unfortunate events.

The Kill Order had complete lack of character development. There was no emotion. It was mindless action, action, action. They were well-written action scenes meant to keep the readers on their toes, flipping page after page determined to finish the book. But the thing was that it was all action. If the action scenes had nothing to contrast, then it's going to fall flat. I found myself glazing over the action scenes because it was too much and after a while it got boring.

The 'humour' that was supposed to be amusing and provide comedic relief, failed. I didn't even realize the characters cracked a joke until others laughed.

It's hard not to be disappointed when the trilogy had so much promise for a prequel and Dashner chose to do the Flares. I hope he takes another stab at this, and he might since there is that thirteen year gap between this book and the Maze Runner.

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