Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An Order to Kill

Before there was a maze, there was a world torn apart by wars and environmental disaster. The world fell apart with a bang, but a few lone souls tried to cling to the people they found and loved thanks to circumstance. In The Kill Order, James Dashner told us the tale of life before the maze.

Mark and Trina were lucky enough to be in the subway when the flares began. Uncontrollable and completely devastating flares tore through the world, destroying everything unlucky enough to be in their wake. They know something is happening, but aren't sure what to do. When attacked by a group of homeless men, they have the incredible luck of being found by Alec, an ex-military survivalist who knows what is happening and how to survive it. But if they don't listen to him quickly, they too will be swept away and drowned by the incoming flash flooding and tsunami caused by the immediate destruction of the ice caps. But there are worse things out there than the sun and the water. Worse by far. 

It isn't easy, but the group survives getting out of the city... most of the group anyway. While life isn't easy, it is survivable. They even have some semblance of life in their ramshackle civilization. But they were naive to think they could survive undisturbed. Out in the world are terrors far beyond anything Trina, Mark, and Alec have seen so far, they just didn't think they would be battling those terrors so soon and all at once. Together they hope they can fight through the onslaught, but there are far more dangerous things out there than they expected. And those dangers are around every single corner.

The thing to know about this prequel is that it really doesn't ever tell the early story of Thomas and Theresa. This story goes way back to tell how the world got so desperate, and it does a pretty good job of that! The problem here is that as a prequel, some people would choose to start the series here. Earliest chronologically must be the first read, right? Wrong! Don't do it! The Maze Runner is so amazing it, and the two subsequent books, should be read first. If you were to read this prequel first, you would lose the desperation of the world years later as well as find yourself totally lost by the time you get to The Maze Runner.

I did think this story was interesting, but it wasn't completely necessary. I would rather have had more of the story of Thomas and Theresa instead of little snippets from the prologue and epilogue, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. It almost seemed like this story should have been its own series that ends with the start of the maze because there is a huge gap between the end of this story and the beginning of the maze. I think this might have been an afterthought from Dashner, but it worked. I would give this prequel to a student who read the rest of the series, but I wouldn't give it to anyone as a stand-alone even though it is so disjointed from the original series. There is, of course, a decent amount of terror and violence, but nothing more so than the original series. Still, I would love to see the gap between the two parts of the series closed with more of the story!

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