The Kill Order by James Dashner

Challenge #52 ~ “A book set in a fictional location.”


★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

I absolutely loved the Maze Runner trilogy (read all the way back in 2015!), so I’m not too sure how it took such an obscenely long time to get my hands on book number 4 (or 0.33334 – however you want to look at it!) Maybe in that time away I’ve grown out of the series (although, I doubt it since the films are still among my favourites and I can still remember the excitement over the first three), but The Kill Order didn’t feel, to me, as if it lived up to the other three. Now all I can do is hope the final book does!

My biggest disappointment with The Kill Order came at the very start – what, pray tell, does the prologue have to do with the rest of the book? I got extremely excited when Thomas and Teresa appeared in the prologue and was looking forward to seeing more of them ‘pre-maze’ throughout the book, but they just disappeared. Dashner jumped back 13 years for the main body of the novel (which I have no problem with in theory) but this plotline didn’t seem to relate in any obvious way to either the prologue or the previous three. It was as if Dashner had just used the two characters to entice readers in, before veering off on an alternate storyline. I would have preferred it if he had admitted from the get-go that this book was about an immediate post-flare world as opposed to introducing the book with a misleading prologue.

Another element I didn’t particularly enjoy was the two timelines going on in the novel – immediately post-flare and post-virus. I appreciated the idea in theory, with jumps between the two taking place when Mark was sleeping, but I found it a little disorientating (and it probably didn’t help that I was struggling to connect with the characters). The plotline was good, set realistically in the universe Dashner has created and offering a great balance of background and action, but overall it just seemed to lack the oomph of the other three novels.

I may have given it three stars, but The Kill Order was an enjoyable read. Dashner’s plotline was as good as ever, but this was the saving element of some difficult-to-connect-with characters and an odd time-sequencing. At this stage I am hoping that whilst The Kill Order has struggled as a stand-alone, things will all make sense and its value be revealed in The Fever Code – and I sure hope it’s not just the optimist in me willing this!

Recommended for fans of:

  • The Enemy by Charlie Higson
  • The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  • Saving Silence by Gina Blaxill

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