Dashner, James. The Kill Order
14 August 2012, Delacorte
Copy from YA Books Central and reviewed there.
This prequel to The Maze Runner series tells the story of Mark and his friend Trina, who both survived the sun flares by meeting up with Alec, a military type, and Lana, a nurse. They have set up a small community, where they are managing to survive with some others. Then, giant Bergs descend with soldiers shooting darts at people, who are then infected by a virus that drives them insane and then kills them. Several of the group die, but Alec, Trina, Mark and Lana set off away from the town, where they happen upon a little girl, Deedee. Deedee has been shot by the arrows but is not ill, a fact which makes her group, headed by the zealous Jed, believe that she is sent by the demons who are causing all the trouble. Mark and Alec get separated from the girls when they try to escape Jed, and stumble upon a Berg landing site, where they find out that the Post-Flare Coalition in Alaska has sent the virus to kill the population, but the virus is mutating. They also find out that the girls are back in the hands of Jed's group, so they take off in a Berg to try to find them. Things go from bad to worse, and even when they find the girls, keeping everyone safe is impossible. The best they can do is to get Deedee to the government facility in Asheville so that she can be studied for a possible cure for the Flare virus. There are frequent flashbacks to thirteen years previous, when Trina and Mark survived the flares and met up with the others.
Strengths: This was an action-packed, nail-biting novel of suspense that will appeal to fans of violent, dystopic novels. I never knew who would die next, and around every corner there lurked some danger or other. Fans of the series will not be disappointed.
Weaknesses: The flashbacks made this a bit difficult to follow (they were almost always dreams that Mark was having), and I'm not entirely sure that I understand how this ties in with The Maze Runner, except for the short chapters that talk about Thomas before and after the main story.