The Kill Order

Common Sense Media says

Action-packed prequel to popular Maze Runner trilogy.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The Kill Order will appeal to reluctant readers who prefer action-packed books. The story shows the value of cooperation when survival is at stake.

Positive messages

There's a message here about the importance of family and community, especially during troubled times. There's also a message about the importance of knowing the truth: Mark and Alec fight not only to save their loved ones, but also to discover why their community -- and other communities like theirs -- have been poisoned.

Positive role models

Mark is a loyal character who never forgets about the people he loves or stops fighting for them. He does fight and kill, but always with a greater sense of purpose.

Violence

Lots of battles as Mark tries to survive both sun flares and a deadly virus. The virus kills many people quickly, but others become crazy and violent, swarming together in masses to kill Mark, his friends, and even a little girl who appears to be immune. After successfully defending himself from one attack, Mark admits that he enjoyed killing a man ("For a second, it felt like Christmas morning, watching a guy get crushed to death.") Other people die when they're stabbed, burned, and even shot by futuristic weapons that make them simply disappear.

Sex

Mark and his girlfriend hug, kiss, and spend the night together, but nothing more is ever described. She makes a joke, pretending that they were late returning to camp because they were having sex.

Language

A few uses of words like "damn," "bastard," "crap," "hell," etc.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brief comparison between the crazy actions of the virus-infected and crank addicts ("Mark had known some druggies in his life, but those were the worst ... it was something you never came back from").

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that violence and danger permeate The Kill Order, the action-packed prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy. There are lots of battles as protagonist Mark fights to survive both sun flares and a deadly virus. The virus kills many people quickly, but others become crazy and violent, swarming together in masses to kill Mark, his friends, and even a little girl who appears to be immune. After successfully defending himself from one attack, Mark admits that he enjoyed killing a man. Other people die when they're stabbed, burned, and even shot by futuristic weapons that make them simply disappear. Mark and his girlfriend hug, kiss, and spend the night together, but nothing more is described. The Kill Order will appeal to reluctant readers and any teens who love adventure.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

What if sun flares hit the Earth, killing nearly everyone and leaving a few survivors in a ravaged world? And what if-- just as life begins returning -- a virus outbreak started picking off the remaining population? This is the terrible world that teenage Mark tries to stay alive in, along with a collection of new family members -- including his girlfriend and a little girl who appears to be immune to the virus. He works hard to protect them, even if that means attacking and killing those who try to do them harm. He also struggles to find out more about the soldiers who purposefully spread the deadly virus, which starts mutating to turn its newer victims crazy and violent. This prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy sets up the popular series about kids in a bizarre government experiment but features new characters and can be read as a stand-alone book.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The characters in THE KILL ORDER may be a bit stereotypical  -- Mark's entourage includes Alec, a grizzled old man with a heart of gold, and feisty, popular Trina, who only became Mark's girlfriend after "pretty much everyone else she'd ever known had died" -- but teens will certainly race their way through Mark's endless battles. The action makes the book a fast read and a great choice for reluctant readers, who will flinch along the way at some of the extreme material, like when Mark admits enjoying crushing a man to death.

Teens may lose sight of some of the bigger issues while they're reading this prequel, but when they finish, they'll be ready to discuss lots of thought-provoking questions, from the speculative (if you were in a life-or-death situation, what would you do to survive?) to the philosophical (is it ever right for a government to decide who gets a share of limited resources or who gets to survive?). Parents and teachers should consider reading along so they can launch these compelling and important conversations.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what would happen if they had to try to survive a catastrophic world event like the sun flares described in The Kill Order. Would cooperation or competition be a better strategy? How would they decide what rules to live by?

  • Why are books like this one, which describe dark future worlds, so popular with teens right now? What about them is resonating with today's YA readers?

  • If you've read the Maze Runner trilogy, how does The Kill Order compare? Is it as good? What do you think about creating a prequel after a series has concluded? Is it a marketing ploy or a welcome addition?

Book details

Author:James Dashner
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Great boy role models
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:August 14, 2012
Number of pages:352
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of The Kill Order was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byVictor Diniz Rozek November 13, 2013
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Kill order is age appropriate

Don't judge a book by its cover or title. Let your kids read this it will give them a meaning of how lucky they are not to have diseases are be mentally ill.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written bySocrates2000 December 18, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

The Kill Order

This book is really good. I, as a 13 year old, would say that this book would better suit someone of age 14. The book gave me nightmares for days after. The point of the book is to describe how The Flare got started, and I think he did a pretty good job at that, not getting sidetracked by the storyline of this book. he does a god job describing the origins in the background, but not much in case you read this book first. I think the plot is very violent, but what do you expect for this kind of book? If you think it's too violent when you read it, then the cover was all you needed to see. However, I think this book is amazing for it's setting, and just the wording of it all makes it so realistic. I say: GO KILL ORDER!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byDonovan Snider October 26, 2014
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

A little intense for me.

This book was a bit intense for me, as having read the Maze Runner trilogy first, I wasn't prepared for the level of violence I encountered. If, though, you don't mind, or, in fact, like a big dose of violence, this book may be a thrilling read for you.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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