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The Kill Order (The Maze Runner #0.5) – James Dashner

The Kill Order (The Maze Runner #0.5) – James DashnerTitle: The Kill Order (The Maze Runner #0.5) by James Dashner
Publishing Info: August 14, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 23, 2012 (DNF)
Related Posts: The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2), The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3)

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.
    Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.
    Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—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.

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Oh brother. I should have just quit while I was ahead. I was pretty disappointed with the last book in the trilogy and I had heard that a lot of people hadn’t really liked THE KILL ORDER… so why did I feel the need to try it?

There was nothing “wrong” with it per se, but I didn’t really think it had any connection to The Maze Runner series. Here we just see how the Flare came to be and what happened immediately after but I wanted the prequel to give some more answers, and that was my first mistake. I was left wanted more answers after the third book and I think deep down I was hoping this prequel was going to give me that and I really should have known better!

THE KILL ORDER follows a completely separate set of characters, none of which actually appear in The Maze Runner trilogy directly in any way (although I did read that apparently people who bought the B&N copies got more info about DeeDee….. but why not share that with everyone? I think that would redeem the book a little bit, don’t you think??). I was just really frustrated that I had to follow these characters. I don’t know them. They’re not the ones I invested my time in and none of them make an appearance in the trilogy to tie it all back together.

Then there was the fact that I was just tired of hearing about the Flare. Ok, so TKO follows the events directly after the sun flares happen. But why did this story need to be told if it didn’t directly link into TMR? I’m tired of the crazy almost zombie-like people. It was kind of annoying and mindless. I guess that was a plot point that just wasn’t meant for me (although somehow I didn’t mind it one bit in THE SCORCH TRIALS)…

character_breakdown1Mark // Thomas 2.0 anyone? I felt like he was so many different pieces of Thomas, put into another character, except this character was more clingy, whinier, and more argumentative. I couldn’t stand him.
Trina // I don’t like the name Trina. So there was that. Sorry, but I have this weird thing where if I don’t like the character’s name, it’s hard for me to get on board with them… I was annoyed by her too and she didn’t seem to serve a purpose except to be an annoying love interest for Mark. And she reminded me too much of Brenda. Who I hated.
The characters in general // I was kind of annoyed by everyone. I felt like too many of the characters were carbon copies of the the actual characters in TMR series, and then aside from that, they didn’t have any depth. I felt like Dashner chose one thing about the character and then latched onto it and made it the most defining thing about them… but they didn’t have anything else going for them. They didn’t grow, they didn’t change, they didn’t do anything except be who they were and I felt like they were all really predictable.

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PASS.

I just didn’t feel like this one was worth finishing. I was actively turned off by it, unfortunately, and the fact that I didn’t really seem to coincide with the actual story line of the rest of the series made it feel kind of pointless…

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The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) – James Dashner

The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) – James DashnerTitle: The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner
Publishing Info: October 11, 2011 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 27, 2012
Related Posts: The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2), The Kill Order (The Maze Runner #0.5)

    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. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.
     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.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

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Oh, THE DEATH CURE. What can I possibly say about you? I know there were other reviews around that were disappointed with how this series concluded — and I had expected to feel the same way — but secretly, I was hoping to enjoy it. Nope. Didn’t happen. I was disappointed too.

Firstly, I felt a little bit like I did at the end of Lost. We were left with a somewhat satisfying but mostly unresolved ending. We know where our characters end up and can imagine a future for them as we leave them at the end of the series, but I still had a lot of questions. It bothered me so much because I wondered why Thomas WASN’T curious. WICKED was all he knew of his whole life – and other people’s lives hedged on what he knew about WICKED and his decision whether it was ultimately good or if they had a hidden agenda (well, of course they do). I guess I can understand that he didn’t want to know about all of the horrible things he may have spawned before the Maze, but don’t you think ultimately, good or bad, knowing what he did could help him change things for the greater good if that’s what he wanted to do? Anyway. The whole thing just bothered me. As a reader, I hate being left in the dark unless it’s for suspense/mystery purposes. Since this was the final piece of the puzzle of the series, I expected WAY more reveals than we had.

I’m glad Minho was still with the group, but I also didn’t like that we almost completely lost all of our favorite Gladers, the people we knew and trusted from the first book. Minho is actually one of my favorite characters, so if he would have been absent from this book, I would have been really upset. I don’t really care for Brenda — even in this book I didn’t know if I could trust her – and I’m still upset that Thomas never really came back around to Teresa. We were left with Brenda and Jorge. And even after seeing him in The Scorch Trials, who is Jorge? He seemed to be there simply for the fact that he can fly a Berg and that’s it. Not to mention Dashner’s portrayal of Jorge as a Hispanic character is wildly stereotypical with every sentence ending in “muchacho” or “hermano” (which as a Spanish major, I’ve personally experienced that there’s WAY better slang than that and I’ve rarely heard Spanish-speaking people call anyone else “muchacho”) so that actually really bothered me.

Overall, I was just really disappointed with the book. The ending picked up when we got into a bit more of the action, but the first two books were definitely more exciting and suspenseful for me.

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Thomas: I don’t feel like Thomas really changed much. If anything, I really liked him less in this book and really didn’t like a lot of his decisions. It felt like we were straying from the character we were building up instead of making him stronger.
Brenda: I still don’t care for Brenda. I didn’t like the introduction of her character and I kind of think she’s unnecessary. Personally, I think we could have combined her whole story line and made it Teresa’s. It would have created a much better connection AND conflict all at the same time between Teresa and Thomas.
WICKED: Okay, so WICKED isn’t a character. But close enough. I’m still disappointed with how little we learned. I guess we did find out what they were ultimately doing with the Maze, with the Gladers, how they were working against the Flare, but I still felt like there were giant holes that were never filled.

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Library Read

I wanted so badly to have a GREAT finish to this trilogy but I felt so let down. I’d still say to finish the trilogy but maybe get this one from the library instead of purchasing.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE DEATH CURE

   

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) – James Dashner

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) – James DashnerTitle: The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner
Publishing Info: October 12, 2010 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 24, 2012
Related Posts: The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3), The Kill Order (The Maze Runner #0.5)

    Solving 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.

Breaking It Down Further: Having escaped and/or being rescued from the Maze, the Gladers are relieved to be away from that awful place. But things are just about to get worse – Knowing that WICKED is behind all of the Trials and challenges that they have been put through, they’re not done with the Gladers yet. They must now venture through the Scorch – a burning hot and brutal desert wasteland – to get to the “safe haven” where they just might have a cure for The Flare. But can the boys believe this mysterious entity that is WICKED, or will the trials go on forever? Or will they even survive the blistering Scorch and hungry, almost zombie-like Cranks?

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Man!! I thought THE MAZE RUNNER was making my mind race and search for answers… THE SCORCH TRIALS was even more mind-bending and action-packed!

**Warning: If you haven’t read The Maze Runner, there maybe be some spoilers in my review!**

We pick up in the same facility in which WICKED deposited our heroes and right away, they begin to feel the elements of the tests and confusing and impossible occurrences that really make them question who exactly these people are and what kind of power they have. And let me tell you, I was right along there with them. I was dying to know who this Big Brother, powerful group was and we know from book #1 that they’re putting everyone through this to try to save humanity. But how? Why put them through all kinds of grueling tests and scenarios? What good will it do? All these questions, all throughout the book and just dying to find answers!

We find out there is a second group — an almost identical test group — and now the boys are faced with another dilemma — Trust them or not? We really see Thomas’s leadership skills come out in this book as his knowledge and flashes of memories from before start to grow. Sometimes I almost forget that they’re supposed to be teenagers because it’s a lot of battling and reasoning, and with us knowing that Teresa & Thomas were working with WICKED before they were put into the maze, we know that they’re very intelligent and highly special for some reason.

I gotta say, the land of the Scorch amazed me. Every time I read one of these dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels, I just wonder how the author comes up with this stuff! It’s so interesting to see what comes out of their minds and what kind of dangers they invent. The boys have a lot to keep up with as far as defense goes with the opposing group, and now harsh elements of a wasteland world as well as the diseased and infected Cranks who get more and more vicious the further the disease progresses.

It was actually quite violent and really full of adventure and action, so much that I couldn’t tear myself away. I carried on as fast as my reading could take me because I was so intrigued by what was at the end of their journey, who would survive it, as well as trying to pick up clues and put them together about what really happens once they reach the safe haven.

Definitely action and intrigue are the driving forces of this book, and without describing the whole book, that’s all I can really say about it! You just have to read it and get swept away with the story and the adventure. I really couldn’t put it down! I will say that it was way better than THE MAZE RUNNER, as much as I enjoyed that book and it left me so anxious to read the third!

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5/5 stars
Yep. I’ll give it 5 stars! I was captivated by and utterly drawn into this book!

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BOOKS LIKE THE SCORCH TRIALS

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) – Suzanne Collins    Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) – Suzanne Collins