BOOK REVIEW: The Kill Order – by James Dashner

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 Title: The Kill Order
(The Maze Runner #0.5)
Author: James Dashner
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: August 14th 2012
Finished reading: October 2nd 2015
Pages: 327

Rating 2,5qqq

“Scared. That’s good. A fine soldier is always scared. Makes you normal. It’s how you respond to it that makes or breaks you.”

myrambles1review

Those who follow my blog will know by now I was mostly underwhelmed by The Maze Runner series. Since I already owned a copy of The Kill Order and I was promised it was actually better than the third book, I decided to just read this prequel story so I could consider the series finished. While The Kill Order was slightly better than The Death Cure and I was surprised the annoying slang of the main series was nowhere to be found, I cannot say I was impressed by this particular story by James Dashner either. It doesn’t really have a connection with the main series and it’s mostly about a bunch of people trying to survive in the forest after the world went crazy. Sure, it also tells about how the Flare disease first appeared and why WICKED eventually had to be created in the future, but if you ask me it’s not really necessary to read The Kill Order in order to understand what happened in the rest of the books. My verdict? Don’t read this one unless you really loved the series and enjoy dystopian stories in general.

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It all started long before WICKED was formed and the Glade was built, when sun flares hit the earth and the world turned into a disaster zone. A part of the population was able to survive the sun flares, and Mark and Trina are among them. They were able to escape the city with the help of Lana and Alec, two ex-soldiers, and are now living in a community in the forest. But it turns out that the sun flares were only the beginning… A new disease that drives people crazy is quickly spreading across the eastern United States and the origin of it is quite suspicious. Even worse, the disease seems to be mutating… They are determined to stay alive, but will they be able to win against this invisible enemy?

finalthoughtsreview

The Kill Order is a quick read and I was positively surprised that James Dashner didn’t use the annoying slang that is so typical in the main series. Still, I wasn’t really convinced by the story. The Kill Order is mostly about a bunch of characters trying to survive in the forest after the sun flares and there isn’t really a lot of plot development or real connection to the main series. I guess it means you won’t have to worry about spoilers and The Kill Order can be read either before or after the series, but I’m not sure it’s actually worth reading…

BOOK REVIEW: The Death Cure – by James Dashner

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 Title: The Death Cure
(The Maze Runner #3)
Author: James Dashner
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: October 11th 2011
Finished reading: August 20th 2015
Pages: 325

Rating 2

“I don’t think there is a right or wrong anymore. Only horrible and not-quite-so-horrible.”

myrambles1review

To be honest, I mostly read The Death Cure because I want to start finishing series and not because I was actually looking forward to it. I didn’t really enjoy the first two books and now I’ve read the last one I can’t say I was impressed by it either. I felt The Death Cure lacked a proper plot and I wasn’t a big fan of the ending. It just felt too forced and it kind of came out of the blue; I guess The Maze Runner series is yet another one that suffers from the disappointing-third-book-syndrome. James Dashner‘s prose was still filled with the annoying slang that bothered me in the previous books. The pace is pretty fast, but due to the lack of plot it took me longer than usual to finish The Death Cure. I’m glad I’ve finally finished this series (although still have to read The Kill Order), but I can’t say I would actually recommend reading it. I just feel there are way better dystopian series out there…

shortsummary1review

WARNING: do not read this summary if you haven’t read the first two books of the series yet! It will most likely contain spoilers, even though I’ve made sure to keep it short.

WICKED has been playing with Thomas his mind ever since he woke up in the maze; slowly taking away everything from him. His memories, his life, his friends… But they promised the trials would be over, just one final test and Thomas and his friends would be free to do as they wish. What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers quite a few things; enough for him not to trust them at all. But who can he trust? And can he really afford to keep escaping the truth and save his friends at the same time? Things are about to get even more complicated…

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The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials were still somewhat enjoyable despite the problems I had with them, but The Death Cure is definitely my least favorite of the bunch. In addition to the annoying slang and characters I don’t really like, the third book also doesn’t really have a clear plot and the ending doesn’t actually make sense. I’m not sure I will start another James Dashner series any time soon: there are too many series out there I still want to read and the prose, plot and characters of The Maze Runner series have never fully convinced me.

BOOK REVIEW: The Scorch Trials – by James Dashner

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Title: The Scorch Trials
(The Maze Runner #2)
Author: James Dashner
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: October 12th 2010
Finished reading: July 26th 2015
Pages: 361

Rating 3

““Shuck it,” Minho responded. “I’m tougher than nails. I could still kick your pony-lovin’ butt with twice this pain.”
Thomas shrugged. “I do love ponies. Wish I could eat one right now.””

myrambles1review

I’ve read The Maze Runner a little over a year ago and wasn’t really impressed. The ‘slang’ really bothered me while I was reading it and I couldn’t connect to the characters. But since I already own a copy of both sequels and really want to start finishing some series, I decided to pick up my copy of The Scorch Trials anyway. I guess I ended up liking it slightly better than the first book, although the slang still annoyed me a lot. I just don’t see the point of all the shuck and shank every two sentences… The interactions between the Gladers (and the Cranks) weren’t always believable, but I did feel the plot was slighly more interesting. James Dashner writes his books with a fast pace, so it’s quite a quick read as well. And although it’s still not the greatest dystopian novel I’ve ever read, The Scorch Trials is entertaining enough if you can get over the slang and lack of character development.

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WARNING: do not read this summary if you haven’t read The Maze Runner yet! It will most likely contain spoilers, even though I’ve made sure to keep it short.

Thomas and the other Gladers were able to escape the Maze, but that doesn’t necessarily mean freedom. WICKED isn’t done with them yet, and now they have to get ready to face Phase Two. They will have to cross The Scorch to find safety. There are no rules and nobody will help them; they are on their own. If they don’t make it on time, they will die. But they are not the only group fighting for their survival, and things are about to get messy. Will they be able to overcome the challenges and find their way to safety?

finalthoughtsreview

The Scorch Trials was a little better than The Maze Runner, but I still wasn’t overly impressed by it. It is entertaining and the plot is quite interesting, but the characters lacked dept and the slang is seriously annoying and doesn’t add anything to the story. I will still read the third book to see how the story ends, but I already know this series won’t appear on my favorites list. Still, if you are looking for a quick dystopian read and prefer a good plot over credible characters, you might like this series.

Top Ten Tuesday #7 – September 16th: Top Authors I NEED To Read More

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The Broke And The Bookish presents us every week a new top ten with a different theme. And this Tuesday’s theme is the Top Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From But NEED To Read More. There are quite a few authors I would like to read more books of… Some are authors of series I need to continue. Of others I’ve enjoyed my first experience with their work and would like to read more. They are listed below in no particular order:

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  • Leigh Bardugo: I´ve read Shadow And Bone of the The Grisha series and absolutely loved it. I really need to start reading the other two books soon… (I actually own a copy of Siege And Storm, but it is in Spanish and I prefer trying to get the English version first before I start reading… I prefer reading books in the original language they were written in.)
  • James Dashner: I’ve read The Maze Runner, and even though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have thought before reading, I still want to read the first of the series. Plus, I already own a copy of book number two and three, so there is no holding back… Except for the fact that my copy of The Scorch Trials is in Spanish, and I prefer reading it in English as I explained above.
  • Sarah J. Maas: I’ve read Throne Of Glass en I enjoyed it. Since the last book just came out, I really need to read book number two and three soon… I have Crown Of Midnight already, but it is in Spanish… (This is getting repititive, I know.)

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  • Patrick Rothfuss: I’ve read and loved The Name Of The Wind, and now I want to get my hands on book number two as soon as possible… Although the wait for Rothfuss to finish the third book will probably become unbearable.
  • Ian McEwan: I’ve heard many great things about this author, but I’ve only read Atonement so far. I really need to buy more of his books (like Saturday and Sweet Tooth) soon…
  • Rainbow Rowell: I’ve finally read Eleanor & Park not so long ago, and I really have to check out more of her work! Landline, Fangirl, Attachments… They all sound interesting.

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  • Jonathan Safran Foer: I’ve read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and liked his writing style… I’m looking forward to read more of his work. (Like Everything Is Illuminated.)
  • Jeannette Walls: I´ve read The Glass Castle and was truly impressed by it. Now I would like to read Half Broke Horses and The Silver Star to continue reading about Jeannette and her family…
  • Lee Childs: I’ve read Killing Floor and even though it’s a bit too Rambo/Die Hard for me, I would like to see how the main character develops.
  • Ismael Beah: I’ve read A Long Way Gone some time ago and it is really an impressive memoir… I would like to read Radiance Of Tomorrow as well.

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Maze Runner – by James Dashner

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Title: The Maze Runner
(The Maze Runner #1)
Author: James Dashner
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: October 6th 2009
Finished reading: June 26th 2014
Pages: 375

Rating 3

“Where are we going?” Thomas asked, still feeling the weight of seeing those walls close, thinking about the maze, the confusion, the fear. He hold himself to stop or he’d drive himself crazy. Trying to grasp a sense of normalcy, he made a weak attempt at a joke. “If you’re looking for a goodnight kiss, forget it.”

myrambles1review

Before I start, I have to confess that I started reading this book having very, very high expectations. I even put on hold other books that were next on my TBR list so I could read The Maze Runner first… And that might have influenced my opinion in a negative manner. People have compared this book to The Hunger Games series, and to be honest I cannot see the similarities. The main character Thomas lacked personality and the made-up slang and language used by the teenagers was actually quite annoying. The story itself is interesting enough though. In The Maze Runner, James Dashner presents us to a post apocalyptic world where a bunch of teenagers have to find their way out of a maze. None of them have any idea of how they arrived in the new world called the Glade in the first place, and they all suffer from memory loss. And that part is where I raised my eyebrows: the memory loss and lack of information mostly seemed forced and therefore not credible. I was still able to enjoy the story though, and will probably read the sequel The Scorch Trials somewhere in the future…

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We get to know the post apocalyptic world through ‘Greenbean‘ Thomas, the newest teenager to arrive to the Glade. He wakes up inside the Box (similar to an elevator), and doesn’t remember anything. The other boys welcome him to the Glade, but are being quite mysterious about the new world and evade answering his questions. Thomas is simply told to ‘shuck it‘ and wait until tomorrow. The other new kid Chuck is ordered to take care of him, and they soon start a friendship. Thomas finds himself feeling more at home already, and realizes things around the Glade sound and feel quite familiar…

Soon it becomes clear that Thomas had arrived at the wrong moment. For the last two years the Glade had been populated with boys only, and once a month the Box sent a new member to the Glade. Those days are over now. The next day the Box surprised the community and sends another member, and everybody is shocked to see that it is an unconscious girl.  Before she’s taken away in a coma, she wakes up briefly to let everybody know that “everything is going to change”. And she was right, as she was the last one the Creators sent to help solve the maze. Things are starting to change quite a lot for the Gladers during the next days. They try to maintain order, with everybody doing the jobs they were assigned and the Runners trying to find a way out of the maze. But soon the maze and the horrible creatures called Grievers start taking their victims. Due to circumstances I won’t discuss because of spoilers, Thomas becomes a Runner. Together with the leader of the Runners Minho, they desperately try to solve the puzzle and find a way out before it’s too late…

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The plot itself is definitely interesting, and that is mostly why I’m probably going to read the sequel. That and the fact that I already own the next two books… I do hope the character development gets better though, as well as the prose. I’m not saying to leave out the slang completely, but maybe toning it down a bit will make it less annoying. Recommended for those who enjoy YA post apocalyptic stories and prefer a good plot over well-developed main characters.

WWW Wednesdays #2 – June 25th

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Originally featured at Should Be Reading… WWW Wednesdays is all about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

mazeI’m probably going to finish The Maze Runner by James Dashner later tonight, as I have only about 50 pages left…  The story itself about a post apocalyptic world where a bunch of teenagers have to find their way out of a maze sounds interesting. But although I know this is YA literature, the made-up slang and dialogue is annoying me quite a bit and distracts me from the story…

 

  • What did you recently finish reading?

pajamasI finished The Boy In The Striped Pajamas a few days ago and still have to post the review… I must say John Boyne was able to bring tears to my eyes with his story about a nine year old boy Bruno. Set during WWII, we get to know Bruno about the time his Nazi-father gets a job at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Bruno is too young to really understand what is going on at Auschwitz, and makes friends with a Jewish boy (prisoner at the camp)….

 

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

faultI know, I’m probably the last person on earth to read this book. I saw the movie trailer the other day, and knew it was finally time to tackle The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. In a way I’m a bit afraid to read it since it has created such an hype, but I guess I want to see for myself what this book is all about.

 

 

These are my answers; how about you?

Teaser Tuesdays #2 – June 24th: The Maze Runner

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Should Be Reading. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

The book I’m currently reading is The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I just started it yesterday after finishing The Boy In The Striped Pajamas (review coming soon), and I’m about 50 pages into the story. I’m not sure whether to like it or not, and the made-up slang like shuck and shank is actually quite annoying. Anyway, below a quote taken from one of its pages:

maze“ “Where are we going?” Thomas asked, still feeling the weight of seeing those walls close, thinking about the maze, the confusion, the fear. He hold himself to stop or he’d drive himself crazy. Trying to grasp a sense of normalcy, he made a weak attempt at a joke. “If you’re looking for a goodnight kiss, forget it.”  ”

 

What are you reading right now?