The Kill Order – by James Dashner (2012)

The Kill Order

Imagine our world having disaster after natural disaster. First the sun unleashes solar flares over much of the planet, instantly killing a large segment of the human race and coating the earth with residual radiation. The climate becomes unstable, and natural disasters follow, causing additional loss of life. The food supply becomes very limited, and people are starving. To top it all off, a strange virus is intentionally released by an unknown group, causing insanity and death.

Teenager Mark is the main character, followed by Trina, his best friend. They are in a subway tunnel when a tsunami approaches, and are rescued by Alec, a retired military man and Lana, also military. From that point on, they band together for survival. It’s obvious that Mark and Trina don’t stand a chance without the brain and braun of Alec, who becomes their protector.

The majority of the book is detailed action, blow-by-blow descriptions of how they fought for their lives. At every turn, there is someone attempting to kill them. Mark and Alec come close to being hung by a fringe religious group living in the woods. All around them, people are going insane and dying from the mysterious virus.

This dystopian novel was written for the young adult audience, but the storyline is extremely dark and grim. There is no order to society, and it’s every man for himself. Only the strongest survive. People will do anything for food, even killing children to eat. Mercy killing becomes a solution to the mayhem.

Although this is part of a very popular young adult series, I really cannot recommend it to anyone. While it did not contain any vulgar language – which I appreciated – the novel was so full of violence and despair that it leaves readers with the impression that death might be better than life. My opinion: life has enough negativity in it without reading depressing books like this. Look for something better to read.