Fans of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner trilogy who have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of The Kill Order since finishing The Death Cure won’t be disappointed. Dashner’s prequel to his action-packed dystopian trilogy about Thomas and the Gladers tells the origin story of the mind-ravishing Flare virus.
The Kill Order begins a year after deadly solar flares devastated the Earth, and focuses on a small group of survivors in the Appalachian Mountains. Mark and Trina lost everything they knew when the solar flares baked NYC, but they’re rebuilding their lives when a Berg appears over their settlement and rains mysterious darts on their friends. Cue headaches, hallucinations, and violent tendencies as what will become known as the Flare begins to mutate and spread all across the American East Coast.
Seeking answers and vengeance, Mark sets out to learn who is responsible. I’ll keep it spoiler-free, but his journey contains situations that make the dangers of the Maze look like a cake walk.While Mark and Trina were interesting, I found that Mark and Alec were the more intriguing character dynamic. Alec isn’t quite a surrogate father—he’s written more like an older friend than a parental figure, but I still commend Dashner for including an adult playing a positive and active role in a dystopian novel.
Like Dashner's trilogy, The Kill Order is a page-turner with tons of action. I enjoyed how the prologue and epilogue tie this novel to The Maze Runner, but I’d advise to read the trilogy first. (If you read The Kill Order first, you’ll lose a lot of the suspense that makes the other three books so compelling.) Also, dark times await you in this book so it's good to go in knowing that this isn't where it all ends; it's just how it all begins.