Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Rating (Entire Series): 4/5
The Maze Runner: 4.5/5
The Scorch Trials: 4/5
The Death Cure: 4/5
The Kill Order: 3/5
One of the few things where I saw the movie first and then read the book, James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series is fast-paced and the kind of series that is hard to put down from the get-go.
The Maze Runner begins with Thomas coming up some kind of elevator and emerging in the Glade with no knowledge of how he got there, where he is, or why. All he has is his name. Everyone in the Glade is male, and they all have their roles to play: cooking, cleaning, planning, and running. The Glade is surrounded by a huge mechanical maze with moving walls and things that come out at night called grievers. The grievers have a toxin that can kill, but if a victim survives, they go crazy with the images of the world before they were placed in the maze. These kids want to get out, and with the arrival of Teresa, the only girl to ever appear from the shaft, it is all the more eminent that they escape. With her arrival comes a note saying that she is the last and that means no more food and supplies for the Gladers. Now they must all find a way out of the maze to survive.
The Scorch Trials gives us a glimpse at what the world has become. The maze was like a haven for the children, a trial in which the people of WICKED (the builders and planners of the maze and its trials) seek the right candidates for the cure of what ravaged the world, a disease called the Flare. The world’s global climate has shifted, and everything is either very hot or very cold, thanks to the solar flares from many years ago. Thomas, among the other survivors of the maze, think they are escaping WICKED’s facility, when in reality, it is just another trial. The survivors from the maze must now survive a boobie-trapped Flat Trans with a strange substance that decapitates when it surrounds its victim, a deadly lightning storm, and what is left of civilization in the Scorch, including the Cranks–those infected by the Flare. Those who survive this trial must lastingly fave a horde of grievers to move on to the final phase of WICKED’s trials.
A NOTE ON CRANKS: They are somewhat zombie-esque, in that they are similar to the “runner” version of zombies. Really, they are just people whose brains have lost most of their moral, humane logic and development, turning them into very primal people set on killing.
The Death Cure is the final book in the trilogy (although 2 other books have been written as prequels for the series). Thomas and his few surviving comrades from the previous trials, are confined and ready to go under for a cure. But by now they know that going under for WICKED could mean another total memory swipe. Thomas, Minho, and Newt escape and seek a man in Denver who can remove their implanted memory/controlling chips without harming the patients. By this time, the Right Arm, an organization plotting to bring down WICKED, is revealed. Some of the survivors are immune to the Flare, while others are not, and both WICKED and the Right Arm are claiming that they are the ones doing the right thing. After the destruction of WICKED, the survivors find a safe place where they can begin the world anew. The Epilogue leads into The Kill Order.
The Kill Order is the first prequel to the series and elaborates on the deliberate release of the Flare. Then the solar flares began to affect the worlds weather patterns, many people died, but not enough to keep up with survival needs. The population was too great, so WICKED went out and shot people with the Flare, a form of population control. Only those immune (mostly just young children) were able to survive, leading to finding a cure once most of the world has fallen to either the sun flares, the Flare, or both. This novel follows some of the survivors–Mark and Alec–who see the destruction of the world and the assault of WICKED first-hand and try to find out why they would deliberately infect people.
I would say YES you should read the main trilogy, but The Kill Order was not as interesting, not as well paced, and did not have me wanting to power through it the way the main trilogy did. So go ahead and skip The Kill Order OR save it for later, but definitely read the main trilogy. In fact, The Maze Runner Series is even better than Dashner’s The Mortality Doctrine Series, which is also good (To read the review for The Eye of Minds, click here and see if it sounds as interesting as The Maze Runner.)
The Fever Code to be released September 27, 2016 (a prequel to the main series). This novel is about what the Gladers did before Thomas appeared in the maze and will be told through various points of view..