“The Kill Order” by James Dashner is the fourth book in the maze runner series and it is set as a prequel to the first book.
At the end of the third book we learn that The Flare is a man-made virus that was released after the devastation of the Sun Flares in an attempt to control the population and ensure humanity’s continued survival. The first book takes place years after the Sun Flares and The Flare, the virus that shredded the sanity of much of the population. WICKED was working towards a brain map that was supposed to lead to a cure, all of which is slowly revealed as Thomas and his friends are put through hell.
More than a dozen years in the past, “The Kill Order” follows Mark, a seventeen-year-old that happened to be lucky enough to be on the subway when the Sun Flares hit earth and therefore was shielded from the heat blasts and the initial radiation. Through flash backs, we learn just what it was like for Mark and others after the initial disaster of the Sun Flares. “Mark nodded even though she couldn’t see. He’d suddenly lost any desire to talk, and his plans for a perfect day washed away with the stream. The memories. They never let him go, not even for a half hour. They always had to rush back in, bringing all the horror.” (The Kill Order, pg 13). After surviving the natural disaster of the Sun Flares, Mark and his companions are beginning to settle into a routine when their world is once again turned upside down.
It is really interesting meeting the different characters and wondering how they are going to react to the desperate situations they continually find themselves in. Despite what Mark thinks about himself, he holds it together pretty well in an impossible situation. “He also doesn’t want her to know how he’s almost trembling with fear of what might happen at any second, which is making it hard to run. Almost seventeen years of life, and he never knew what a coward he was.” (The Kill Order, pg 102).
Would I recommend this book? Yes, but not to everyone. If you enjoyed the first book in the series, it is a no-brainer to read the rest. I like that a lot of the questions that I found myself asking throughout the series were answered to a degree in this book. It wrapped everything up nicely. At the same time, it felt a little like this book was not planned by the author and instead the result of the first part of the series doing so well that he decided to bang out another book. James Dashner’s writing is adequate, but what really kept bringing me back for more was the story itself. I liked the different take on a natural disaster and the fact that the heroes in this book were not so cut and dry. I found the series to be very enjoyable and I would likely pick up another novel by James Dashner.