Review: The Kill Order by James Dashner

The Kill Order
James Dashner
Series: Maze Runner, #0.5
Release Date: August 14th, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Number of Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

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Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares seared the earth and mankind fell to disease.

"The Kill Order" tells the story of that fall.

There are the books that either have too little action and you're bored to tears reading said book, or book that have too much action, and too little of everything else. The Kill Order tends to fall in the latter category of books, and I'll bet that was where Dashner was intending The Kill Order to fall.

The plot for The Kill Order is simple - it's the end of the world, sun flares are destroying the Earth, and a group of teenagers (are they teenagers?) are trying their best to survive the apocalypse. Along with the solar flares, men in green suits are coming out of the sky in blimp-like vehicles called Bergs, shooting random people with darts that contain a deadly virus. The group of teenagers try to discover the cure to the virus by doing incredibly stupid things all while trying not to get synched by the solar flares.

Now, the execution for The Kill Order is anything but simple (and looking back on the synopsis I wrote, even that doesn't sound too simple). With the above synopsis, Dashner could have had a somewhat simple - but entirely enjoyable - book. While The Kill Order was still enjoyable, Dashner just had to add more to the book. And more. And more. From cults, to ritualistic burnings of people, to governmental deceit, The Kill Order just had too much.

With the aforementioned plot points, and much more seemingly random other ones, you'd expect for there to be non-stop action, right? Well, if you thought that, then you would be correct. Almost every page in this book is filled with thrilling action, and while that might be your perfect cup of tea, it won't be others, and it wasn't mine, exactly.

Action isn't the only thing that makes a book a good book. If you don't have enough action, your readers will be bored. If you have too much action, your readers will have whiplash. But, no matter how much action - or lack of it - your book may have, it can't be the only thing going for it. This is the case for The Kill Order. With action, you need to have character and relationship development, especially in a book like this, where the characters are put to the test in an apocalypse. My feelings towards all of the characters in this book were pretty lukewarm - I didn't hate them, I didn't love them, and I didn't like them. They were just... okay... That's not to say that they're unlikable characters, because they're not. It's just that Dashner didn't provide me as a reader with nearly enough character development to care for the characters and what they're going through, or to like them.

That being said, if you're the type of reader who just wants mindless action after mindless action, pick up The Kill Order - you won't be disappointed in it. The action scenes are very well written and thrilling. However, if you're a reader who values character development in books as opposed to action, The Kill Order won't be the book for you. While I do consider myself the reader who values character development as opposed to action, I found The Kill Order to be a fun, thrilling, and quick read, but sometimes mindless action just isn't enough.


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