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Wanted to LOVE it - But Just Couldn't
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 answers...how, 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,...like 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.