Review: The Kill Order (The Maze Runnder #0.5) by James Dashner


Title:  The Kill Order
Author: James Dashner
Publisher/Year: Random House 1/7/14
Length: 360 pages
Series: The Maze Runner 0.5


They thought the end came in a flash.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth, killing most of the population.

The worst is yet to come.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened. They survived. But now a virus is spreading. A virus that fills humans with murderous rage.

There is no cure. No escape.

They’re convinced that there’s a way to save those who are left—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some you’re worth more dead than alive.

The end is only the beginning.

My Thoughts

So, if you’ve read my reviews of the rest of the series, it’s really not a great outlook on this one.  I loved the first book and then really had to suffer through the 2nd and 3rd.  But…since one of my co-workers just made her way through the series, and clearly didn’t share the same opinion that i have, i told her that i would read the prequel with her and then we could regroup on it.

What started off surprisingly good to me – this 4th (yet .5) book had my attention for the first half and then some how lost it.  I think that the element of the ‘years just after the solar flash’ or whatever were the most interesting to me, to see what was happening right after, and then it just slowed down.

We meet a group of characters and follow their story – yet we have no idea how they are tied to the main story since we’ve never heard of any of them in the big series.  What we do have though is a story about survival, the unknown and really the understanding of not what the Flare is but what some crazy organization is trying to do.

There is a saving grace though in the fact that James Dashner is clearly a decent author.  He’s got a way of painting these pictures for us that give you a very good sense of what’s going on, what the world looks like to everyone and really making you feel how horrible and bleak things were seeming for a while.

We follow Alec, Mark, Trina and a a few others as they are trying to survive in the present while we keep rehashing what happened RIGHT after the flares through Mark’s dreams.  It’s actually nice that we’re able to see the past in this story since that’s a key bit of what happened in the big series.  That no one knew where they were coming from since they had their memories erased.  You want to hope for the best for some of these characters – Mark and Trina the most since you get their back story – how there was a lack of a bond before the flare, and yet the circumstances made it inevitable . We also got to invest ourselves in Alec – who was clearly a leader before the Flares and is necessary even after.

So on that note – i think that it’s a better installment in my opinion than the 2nd and 3rd books, and while it takes you until the end to understand how it’s all related, it’s worthwhile.  I just wish that i didn’t feel the drag 1/2 way through.  hopefully you won’t!

Review: The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner


Title: The Death Cure
Author: James Dashner
Publisher/Year: Random House  1/8/13
Length: 352
Series: The Maze Runner #3


Thomas knows that WICKED can’t be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they’ve collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. To complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare.

What Wicked doesn’t know is that something’s happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can’t believe a word of what WICKED says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.

My Thoughts

This series has taken me on a journey that’s taken significantly longer than i ever expected it to.  After reading book 1 that i really enjoyed and then getting stuck on book 2 and having to put it down, i was hoping that i’d get re-inspired to want to continue on.  Nope – i started reading The Death Cure and it’s taken me WEEKS when it usually just takes me a matter of days to get through something.

So…where are we in this series?  We’ve gotten through the Scorch and we know that everyone’s been taken over again by WICKED and things are going to be downhill from there.  Thomas is in a position where he doesn’t know if he’ll ever trust Theresa again, which isn’t a bad thing, and he’s found a new ally in Brenda which is rather surprising to me.  Her role in this story is a turnaround from where we were in book 2 – and it’s not until just a little bit later that we see that she was a pawn in things – and put in a position to lead the gladers in the direction that the Chancellor wanted.

So we spend much of this installment on the run, in Denver trying to find the cure – since that’s what we’re being led to believe is the ultimately outcome.  We come across Gally here, whom i think that we all knew wasn’t dead, and turns out to be somewhat of an important person in the series.

What gets me about this story is that it’s a very long winded path to get where they need to go, and once they’ve gotten to the end, it’s kind of like ‘um….yea – that’s kind of what i figured’.  Once they are back in the hands of WICKED, the group is split up not even Group A v. Group B – but a mashup of the two – so we wonder throughout who is going to be with us in the end.  The other revelation that comes of all this is that there are ‘munies’ or people that are immune to The Flare -and WICKED has a plan to reinstate the trials to get new subjects to test variables on in the hopes that they can find a cure.  It’s really round about since i think that we all know that there’s not going to be a full circle of another trial set up, but really just understanding what’s going to happen to keep that from happening.

So – after getting stuck about 200 pages in, i put it down, and then kept trying to pick it back up.  with about 100 pages left to go last night, i just put my head down and pushed through it just so that i could get to the end.  What i’m not surprised about in this story is what they watned Thomas for, and what the ultimate experiment would be to find out why he was ‘The Final Candidate’  If anyone else was surprised – then i don’t know.

The ending felt like it was a bit rushed – with explosions, deaths, another flat trans of sorts – a secret letter and map from The Chancellor and then the sketchy email correspondence that we saw at the end of book 1 and sporadically in book 2.

all in all, i’d say average, or maybe even less than average.  I’m curious if i come back to it a few months down the road that i’d change my mind since that’s what happened when i re-read The Scorch Trials, but i can’t say that I want to be bothered to do it.  The good news here though is that finishing this book puts me over my 2014 Reading Challenge from Goodreads – so that’s the positive that i can take from this.

Review: The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner


Title: The Scorch Trials
Author: James Dashner
Publisher/Year: Random House 9/13/11
Length: 379
Series: The Maze Runner #2


olving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

My Thoughts

So, to be completely honest, i picked up this book over a year ago and tried to read it, after i LOVED the Maze Runner.  i got about 60 pages in (and that took me 2 weeks which is very abnormal for me) and i put it down because i just could NOT get into it.  So, here we are – a while later and i’ve picked up the series again after seeing the movie The Maze Runner since i like to compare what changes were made.

It took me just about a day to re-read book 1 and remind myself why i loved it so much and then i said that i’d give it another go at book 2 – The Scorch Trials, and i have to say, i don’t know if it’s my mindset, my ability to focus, or it was just the right time, but it took me just over a day to read this book, and i really enjoyed it.

From the end of TMR – we knew that things were just getting started for the Gladers – while they felt that they were rescued and somewhat safe – they were in the hands of some folks that they weren’t sure that they could trust and realized that there really wasn’t anyone that they could trust – the rescuers or Wicked or anyone.

They arrive at a building of sorts where they are given food, clothes, time to rest which is needed after their escape from the Maze and the crazy ride to the campus, encounters Cranks – people who had been infected with The Flare and who’s brains were going crazy.

Once at the building, Theresa’s taken from the boys and that’s never good.  Upon waking up the next morning, they realize that they have been given tattoos noting them as Group A and some have designations like Minoh – The Leader and Thomas ‘To be killed by Group B’ .  Along with this, There’s a plaque outside there’s door that says ‘The Betrayer’ however….we learn that she’s not in the room.  there’s a boy named Aris in her place.  and he’s from Group B….that turns out to be all girls.  So a parallel of sorts.

So, along with the underlying plot of survival, we see the Thomas/Theresa dynamic get to be even more complicated.  Part of me the first time though that Theresa was a dream.  although we quickly learn that’s not the case.

A man shows up and gives them the direction to go through a transport between 6 and 605 the next morning and they have 2 wees to make it to a ‘safe haven’ where they will get the cure for The Flare – which they’ve all been infected with.

The bulk of this story takes us through the scorch – the journey with the groups to get to the haven – although we don’t truly encounter Group B until about 1/2 way through.  There’s a lot of betrayal though, Thomas who’s tried his best to hold onto the fact that he thinks he and Theresa had something great – well, she puts that on the line and some of the betrayals that she’s done.  I don’t know about anyone else, but while the Gladers were told to believe none of what they see and hear, i think that it’s hard to follow that, and i’m still not sold on what’s happened in the end – which is a great twist!

Along the journey, they also pick up Brenda and Jorge who are 2 cranks that help them somewhat through the city to get to where they need to go.  What first throws me off though is that when Thomas is hurt, she’s the one that made a call – and no one really questioned how that happened.  She says ‘i didn’t know what to do’ or something like that – but it’s all written off as Wicked just didn’t want anything to happen to Thomas.  This proves me a little correct as the story goes on, but i think that we’re going to see a lot more of her and Jorg as the series continues.

So where we are left in this 2nd installment is that some of A and B have made it to the Safe Haven and it’ll be up to them to survive from there since i think they are going to quickly see that the trials are not yet over.  What role will Aris and Theresa play in things, will Thomas be able to forgive Theresa – what’s Brenda’s role and what about Minoh/Newt?  I love those guys and can’t wait to see them step up too.

Now it’s on the The Death Cure – book 3 and i’ll hopefully find that it’s easier to read now than what i’d expected from before.  Enjoy!

Review: The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) by James Dashner


Title:  The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Publisher/Year: Random House children’s Books, 8/24/10
Length:  400 pages
Series: Maze Runner #1


When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

My Thoughts 

It’s been a while since i’ve read this story and i felt that i owed it to myself to check it out again. Falling into the somewhat Dystopian genre, James Dashner takes us to a place that’s so unepected and so confusing and anxiety ridden that you have no choice but to sit back and read through the whole thing in one sitting.

The Plot: we are introduced to The Glades through the eyes of Thomas who has no memory of anything yet he seems to have a basic understanding of what things are (i.e. he knows what the names of things are but he doens’t know why he knows them and who might have taught him). As a matter of fact, everyone in the Glades is in the exact same place. so back to Thomas – the story opens up with him waking up from who knows what in an elevator type thing called The Box, being raised to the surface of the Glades but not knowing at all what’s going on. He hears people talking above him in words that aren’t familiar to him, and that adds to the anxiety.

So when Thomas comes to the surface, he meets a mini-society of boys – all who again have no memory of anything before the Glades and they are trying to survive in this environment where ironically enough, everything is provided to them (through The Box) and the sun is always shining etc. Ideallic in a weird sort of way. until you think about one more thing. They are ‘trapped’ in The Glades by a series of Walls that close every night. Outside these wall lies a huge MAZE that the boys are hoping leads to an exit – a way to get out and get home. Although things seem relatively managed and orderly in the Glades – it’s not quite that perfect. Everyone wants to get back to whatever they left behind, and they feel like they are being held captive….and the only way out they feel is through the Maze – yet every night the maze changes so there’s no clear cut way to get out. And to top that off, there are these horrible creatures called Grievers’ that come into the Maze at night and kill whatever is in their path.

So – prior to Thomas’ arrival at The Glades, things had been happening in a regular manner. 1x each month (the same day) 1 more person would arrive through the Box. Each week, the same time, supplies would come through the Box. That’s all until Thomas arrives. The next day, another person comes up in the Box, and that’s not the only loop – it’s also A GIRL. girls have NEVER come to the Glades before. Also, although Thomas has no memory of things before the Glades, he feels familiar for some reason, and the girl seems familiar – yet he has NO IDEA WHY.

The Maze Runner takes us through the lives of the Gladers and how Thomas lives his time there. He feels deep down that he should be one of the Maze Runners – one of the guys looking for an exit and doesn’t know why or if he can do it. Lots of suspense, lots of intrigue and lots of nail biting with all the curves that are thrown in.

Check it out – 5 stars out of 5 and i don’t give a perfect score often!