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on October 13, 2016
I have really struggled with this review as I wanted SO badly to love this book as I did the first three in the series...but just couldn't! Of course it was well written and the narration was once again excellent but the story completely fell short...for me at least. Having read and LOVED all of the first 3 books in the Maze Runner series, I was hoping that this prequel would provide, why, when...but I got nothing but chapter after chapter after chapter of survival fight moments that were, at best, repetitive. I felt like very little thought went into this prequel and much of the book revolves around survival battles rather than painting a picture of what caused the sun flares and a believable reason as to why the flare virus was released.
At the very end of the book the small pack of battle survivors discovers one written memo which describes the world government leaders coming together to release the virus as a form of population control in order to conserve resources...yet probably 90% or more of the population had been wiped out by the sun flares and the survivors were existing just fine in separate small settlements and not stealing or bothering anyone else so the idea of the virus being released for population control by the collective world governments was really not believable. If a group of militia had released it to further wipe out the human race and keep all remaining resources for themselves, I could have bought that. Even Alien invasion or mad scientists would have been more believable.

The characters were completely different and all...with the exception of maybe Alec,...were, in my opinion, forgettable. The original characters from the first 3 books were well developed and memorable which made the books so engaging. I'd hoped that the original characters would have been woven into the prequel to tell the tale of how the past brought forth these characters but there was only a short mention of them in the very beginning. The book focused so much on the survival battles that you got to know very little about these new characters themselves and my heart didn't break when any of them died. You know Mark and Trina were friends and neighbors before the flares and Mark has the uncanny ability to dream in sequential order but aside from that, not much depth to either. You know that Alec and Lana were ex-military and severed together but nothing more about them or their relationship. So much was focused on fight after fight after fight with a lot of repeated dialogue and not enough time spent developing these characters that you're only going to have appear in one book.

Then all the really unbelievable moments, how many times can Mark hang out of a window with an infected clinging to him...not to mention from a fast moving air ship....and never fall or get ripped off by the wind/weight...and hanging by his feet??? I think not. And, how can we find it believable that a crazed infected who doesn't even know their own name can grab a highly sophisticated vaporizing weapon and figure out how to use it within seconds when Alec had to teach Mark how to use it? Even the story of their NY struggles and escape following the sun flares also could have been told in a much better way than sequential dreams by one character...seriously, Mark dreamt one episode a night until the whole story was told...? There were times that it became so hokey that I was actually rolling my eyes and yelling at the CD player! Sad but true...

All in all, I found the book to be well written and narrated in general but found the storyline boring and frustrating with the exception of the first and last chapter and a couple of moments in between. I could have easily skipped this one and one on to book 5 (which I'm already into) and have never missed a thing.
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on March 29, 2017
The prequel to the Maze Runner is another thriller. We get to explore the back-story about what happened all those years before the Maze. The destruction, the death, the Flare. There are new characters to get to know, and only a very subtle link to those that we all know in the Maze.

The underlying plot centers around two main characters. One, a young guy having to step up in a world that’s gone crazy, and the other, seasoned by a military past. It’s an unlikely duo, but they have a strong bond that has been borne from shared tragedy. There are plenty of desperate times when they both need to make some very hard choices.

I’ve read a lot of dystopian books over the years, they deal with destroyed societies, oppressive governments, dreadful disease, and violence fuelled by desperation. But for some reason this one seemed to click, making me really think about how I would cope if something as extreme as the Flare ever occurred.

The loss of security, the loss of every comfort I take for granted, the loss of family and friends, the loss of knowing that there is always food and water whenever it’s needed. It really did hit me, and I don’t know why this book made that happen. Perhaps it was because much of it was in an urban setting. A place that is so relatable. Walking through the chaotic streets, seeing the crumbling lifestyle in the midst of the ruins of what once provided the security that everyone needed, the loss of that place called home.

Dashner captures the extremes. The nightmarish battles between survival and mistrust, and the final threads of human logic that linger in the shadows of crumbling minds. For me, The Kill Order made me really think about how fragile our society is, and about how easily this could happen – more likely by our own wars and conflict than by a natural event. Once we lose our health, our safety and our compassion, everything crumbles.

A lesson on the fragility of society, and a window into the events before the Maze. A gripping read.
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on October 15, 2016
I just couldn't get through this book. I LOVED the Maze Runner series and couldn't wait to get started on this one, but after struggling through the first 100 pages, I gave up. It's not that the book is badly written or that the story is bad. It's just that I picked this up expecting it to shed some light on the events in the Maze Runner trilogy and the only elements it has in common to those books are the Flare and the Cranks. None of the characters from TMR are in it. After I realized this, I lost interest. That being said, I can't wait to read "The Fever Code" which is the REAL Maze Runner prequel that just came out! This wouldn't be a bad read if you went into it not expecting anything from it, but if you're looking for an extension of the Maze Runner trilogy, don't waste your time.
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on October 27, 2015
Thirteen years before Thomas entered the Maze, small settlements of survivors of the sun flares were attacked with darts shot from bergs. Those darts contained a virus that was supposed kill half the population quickly. Instead, it mutated into the terrible disease that became known as the Flare. Mark, Trina, Lana, and Alec come across a little girl named Deedee who was hit by a dart, but did not get sick (Teresa, presumably, though that fact is not revealed in the book). It’s a race against time, the Flare, and Cranks to get her to safe people she can help.

Of the four books in the Maze Runner series, The Kill Order was my least favorite. It was by far the most violent. Chapters would go by where nothing happened but gory descriptions of the behavior and fights of the Cranks. It was not fun to read. I did enjoy the story of what happened starting with the Sun Flares told through Mark’s dreams. The violence could have been toned down dramatically, however.
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on February 5, 2017
REVIEW BY ANNA: Just like everyone, I will admit it took me a while to become interested in this book. It starts with a completely different plot than the previous maze runner books. But after about 1/3 of the way I realized how interesting the story was becoming. The author, James Dashner, is an amazing author in which when he writes stories you never know what's going to happen. Sometimes its because he doesnt let out enough information or background to understand the book which is what I was having trouble with in the beginning, given it is a completely new set of characters in a time before the Glade. But many authors will usually write a plot and the events will lay out in a way you are expecting them to, then when it gets to the climax they go the opposite way you thought they would, yet at the same time you were sort of expecting it. Although books written like this can be very interesting, you kind of already know the layout of it. James Dashner, however, writes in a way where events will go in directions you wouldn't even think of. Instead of going how you expect it should, something you could never even think of occurs which really keeps you on your toes while reading this book (I know I probably didn't explain that well but its the best I can do). The story does start out a little slow but from there on it is an explosion of climaxes and cliffhangers and "what about this?" and "what does this mean?". As for the reason everyone in the reviews are saying they couldn't like this book, yes the story is completely different from what happened in the Glade and there on. It is set about thirteen years before the Glade if I'm not mistaken. Given the time period, it also has different characters. People in the reviews had said that none of tmr protagonists were in it and they couldn't get past maybe 100 pages or so. I'm trying my best not to spoil anything just maybe shine a little hope for those interested in reading but are more persuaded by the negative reviews, everything will tie together in the end. You will understand why this story is important. Most people are expecting a continuation in tmr plot, but I find that this was a great way to explain all the background of WICKED and the Flare and everything that was not given before. Not all, but a lot more than you knew. As I've said before, and many can admit, James Dashner usually does not write a lot of detail in parts of the story for this very reason. To write something no one was expecting and create a story like none other. The reader may want all the information in front of them, but in this case it will unravel itself. If you are a big fan of the maze runner series, you will understand the importance of this book and how truly well written this entire series is.
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on April 13, 2015
The Kill Order is the first prequel to The Maze Runner series, soon to be followed by The Fever Code. This book takes place 13 years prior to the events of The Maze Runner and, although I have read many reviews that expressed disappointment because of the lack of connection between this book and the trilogy, but there is a connection. It comes at the very beginning and at the very end, but it brings it all together. This provides some excellent backstory to The Maze Runner.

The story takes place long before the Maze and the Glade, even before WICKED came into being. The majority of the story occurs after the sun flares have hit the earth, when groups of people have created new communities and have struggled to survive. The story of the flares and the immediate aftermath is told through memories of the past, giving the reader a taste of the horror and chaos of the time, the struggle to survive not just the flares, but some of humanity's worst.
Most of the story is centered around Mark, Alec, Trina, and Deedee, along with other members of their group. They have struggled, but, with the others, they have created new lives for themselves. Until the day that a government Berg (an aircraft) shows up and begins shooting darts at them, darts that seem to be filled with some kind of poison. Once again, their lives are turned on edge and they are fighting to survive.

This is a book that shows humanity both at its best and at its worst. There is madness and agony, pain and loss. There are those who will do most anything in the name of the greater good, and those that see things differently and fight for their beliefs.

While it is true that the connections to the main series are only in the beginning and the end of the book, I think that the story told in this book sets the stage for The Maze Runner books. It explains so much about how the world came to be as it is in ways that the main series does not. I think it adds a lot to the overall story.

My Recommendation: I read this prior to beginning The Maze Runner and it definitely set the stage for it, although I do think that it could be read after the main series.
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on April 3, 2016
The Maze Runner series was strong only because the characters were interesting. Those characters are not present in this book. This book adds almost nothing to the backstory behind another tired plot about the world being turned over the teakettle and becoming inhabited by zombies. It's as if he wrote a backstory to the non-story part of the story. If he really wants to make more cash, he could spend a dozen books worth of pages telling the bios of Newt and Thomas and Minho and Gally (not the girls, they were two-dimensional wastes of ink in the first place) or the inside workings of the people who built WICKED. Dr. Page's bio would be an interesting read. Generally, if it's interesting, it will be somewhere other than this book.
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on December 14, 2012
The concept of this prequel (and overall series) is extremely appealing. It's nice to have a "Walking Dead for kids" type of series available.

I mention that to point out that I realize this book is targeted towards younger readers. However, that does not excuse the terrible dialogue throughout the entire book. In one scene, the characters are held at gun point by a man and his girlfriend/wife/slave. This allegedly fearsome killer says things like easy-peesey and other completely non-threatening, stupid things. Who points a gun at someone and says easy-peesey? Yes, I realize there is not going to be swearing or vulgarity in these books. However, I have read enough literature for younger readers and watched enough TV and movies to have seen excellent dialogue that convincingly conveys menace and danger without the characters sounding like idiots.

Furthermore, all of the characters speak with the same voice. How many people in real life say everything is "nice and [fill in the blank]"? Almost every character in this book uses that phrase. Almost everyone says "pretty little head" or "pretty little butt" or whatever. Who talks like that, especially characters that are trying to be tough or scary? Because of the bad dialogue, every character seems the same and none are unique. I noticed this in the previous trilogy, but it was extremely bad in this book. An author must be able to make each character sound different, to convey personality, emotions, background, varying experiences. In this book, they all sound like they have watched really, really bad late night movies.
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on October 26, 2016
First I would like to say I love James Dashner and the maze runner series. This specific entry into the series was not my favorite, although it did keep me glued to the pages and wanting more. The things that bothered me the most were the repetition of the conflict scenes between the multiple antagonist and the main character. It was the exact same to many times. In fact I believe even the character mentions "this is happening again?" many times. Still 3 stars though cause I like the story of how the things in maze runner came to be. For real fans of series only IMO
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on June 30, 2015

This review will encounter the whole series, but the stars are for the actual book.

Ok, here's the thing: I LOVED THE FIRST BOOK. It was such a mystery: Thomas wakes up in a terrible state in a black box, terrified and confused, experiencing how his memory has been wiped out; he has a lot of references, but the references leads up to nothing. Out of the box, he discover a young boys community within a giant maze. The goal: how to get out of there. I thought through the whole first book "how clever, how imaginative".The ending and the solution was a bit questionable (i would maybe have imagined another solution?), but still good, and after reading the ending, you're like "I HAVE TO READ THE SEQUELS".

BUT it was such a disappointment when I discovered that the sequels did not live up to the first book's standards. It all got too much, too crazy. It felt like the author was running loose, forgetting about the cleverness, and just adding everything he could think of. I found myself not enjoying the books after a while, just reading it because I bought the whole series and felt obliged because of an excellent first book and because i wanted to know why all this happened. I read the prequel last, and it was actually better than the second and third book, but not as good as the first, so I ended my reading of The Maze Runner series on a better note than I thought I would after reading the other prequels.

The books will leave you with some haunting, sick and creepy scenes I would rather not think of, and a horror of what might actually happen if the world actually encountered a big catastrophe, what would happen to the humanity: will what's seen upon as human to day, disappear to the "survival of the fittest"? At last I was left with: "what on earth did I just read?"

I can not figure out if I regret reading the series or not. Fortunately, the decision of reading these books are up to you; is it worth it or not?

The series' score: 3/5
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