The Kill Order (Maze Runner Prequel) (Maze Runner Series #4)

The Kill Order (Maze Runner Prequel) (Maze Runner Series #4)

by James Dashner

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The fourth book in the blockbuster phenomenon MAZE RUNNER SERIES now features chapters from The Fever Code, the highly-anticipated conclusion to the series—the novel that finally reveals how the maze was built!

    Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth, killing most of the population.
    Mark and Trina were there when it happened. They survived. But now a virus is spreading. A virus that fills humans with murderous rage.
    They’re convinced that there’s a way to save those who are left—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. 
    The Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials are now major motion pictures featuring the star of MTV's Teen Wolf, Dylan O’Brien; Kaya Scodelario; Aml Ameen; Will Poulter; and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. The third movie, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, will hit screens in 2018.
   Also look for James Dashner’s edge-of-your-seat MORTALITY DOCTRINE series!
Praise for the Maze Runner series:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling Series
A USA Today Bestseller
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year
An ALA-YASLA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
An ALA-YALSA Quick Pick
"[A] mysterious survival saga that passionate fans describe as a fusion of Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and Lost."—
“Wonderful action writing—fast-paced…but smart and well observed.”Newsday
“[A] nail-biting must-read.”
“Breathless, cinematic action.”—Publishers Weekly
Heart pounding to the very last moment.”—Kirkus Reviews
Exclamation-worthy.”—Romantic Times

“James Dashner’s illuminating prequel [The Kill Order] will thrill fans of this Maze Runner [series] and prove just as exciting for readers new to the series.”—Shelf Awareness, Starred

"Take a deep breath before you start any James Dashner book."-Deseret News

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307979117
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 08/14/2012
Series: Maze Runner Series
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 43,148
Lexile: HL810L (what's this?)
File size: 4 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

James Dashner is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, The Kill Order and The Fever Code, as well as the bestselling Mortality Doctrine series: The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts, and The Game of Lives. Dashner was born and raised in Georgia, but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. To learn more about him and his books, visit, follow @jamesdashner on Twitter, and find dashnerjames on Instagram.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Mark shivered with cold, something he hadn't done in a long time.

He'd just woken up, the first traces of dawn leaking through the cracks of the stacked logs that made up the wall of his small hut. He almost never used his blanket. He was proud of it--it was made from the hide of a giant elk he'd killed himself just two months prior--but when he did use it, it was for the comfort of the blanket itself, not so much for warmth. They lived in a world ravaged by heat, after all. But maybe this was a sign of change; he actually felt a little chilled by the morning air seeping through those same cracks as the light. He pulled the furry hide up to his chin and turned to lie on his back, belting out a yawn for the ages.

Alec was still asleep in the cot on the other side of the hut--all of four feet away--and snoring up a storm. The older man was gruff, a hardened former soldier who rarely smiled. And when he did, it usually had something to do with rumbling gas pains in his stomach. But Alec had a heart of gold. After more than a year together, fighting for survival along with Lana and Trina and the rest of them, Mark wasn't intimidated by the old bear anymore. Just to prove it, he leaned over and grabbed a shoe off the floor, then chucked it at the man. It hit him in the shoulder.

Alec roared and sat up straight, years of military training snapping him instantly awake. "What the--" the soldier yelled, but Mark cut him off by throwing his other shoe at him, this time smacking his chest.

"You little piece of rat liver," Alec said coolly. He hadn't flinched or moved after the second attack, just stared Mark down with narrowed eyes. But there was a spark of humor behind them. "I better hear a good reason why you chose to risk your life by waking me up like that."

"Ummmmm," Mark replied, rubbing his chin as if he were thinking hard about it. Then he snapped his fingers. "Oh, I got it. Mainly it was to stop the awful sounds coming out of you. Seriously, man, you need to sleep on your side or something. Snoring like that can't be healthy. You're gonna choke on your own throat one of these days."

Alec grumbled and grunted a few times, muttering almost indecipherable words as he scooted off his cot and got dressed. There was something about "wish I'd never" and "better off" and "year of hell," but not much more Mark could make out. The message was clear, though.

"Come on, Sergeant," Mark said, knowing he was about three seconds from going too far. Alec had been retired from the military for a long time and really, really, really hated it when Mark called him that. At the time of the sun flares, Alec had been a contract worker for the defense department. "You never would've made it to this lovely abode if it hadn't been for us snatching you out of trouble every day. How about a hug and we make up?"

Alec pulled a shirt over his head, then peered down at Mark. The older man's bushy gray eyebrows bunched up in the middle as if they were hairy bugs trying to mate. "I like you, kid. It'd be a shame to have to put you six feet under." He whacked Mark on the side of the head--the closest thing to affection the soldier ever showed.

Soldier. It might have been a long time, but Mark still liked to think of the man that way. It made him feel better--safer--somehow. He smiled as Alec stomped out of their hut to tackle another day. A real smile. Something that was finally becoming a little more commonplace after the year of death and terror that had chased them to this place high up in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. He decided that no matter what, he'd push all the bad stuff from the past aside and have a good day. No matter what.

Which meant he needed to bring Trina into the picture before another ten minutes ticked off the clock. He hurriedly got dressed and went out to look for her.

He found her up by the stream, in one of the quiet places she went to read some of the books they'd salvaged from an old library they'd come across in their travels. That girl loved to read like no one else, and she was making up for the months they spent literally running for their lives, when books were few and far between. The digital kind were all long gone, as far as Mark could guess--wiped away when the computers and servers all fried. Trina read the old-school paper kind.

The walk toward her had been as sobering as usual, each step weakening his resolve to have a good day. Looking at the pitiful network of tree houses and huts and underground burrows that made up the thriving metropolis in which they lived--all logs and twine and dried mud, everything leaning to the left or the right--did the trick. He couldn't stroll through the crowded alleys and paths of their settlement without it reminding him of the good days living in the big city, when life had been rich and full of promise, everything in the world within easy reach, ready for the taking. And he hadn't even realized it.

He passed hordes of scrawny, dirty people who seemed on the edge of death. He didn't pity them so much as he hated knowing that he looked just like them. They had enough food--scavenged from the ruins, hunted in the woods, brought up from Asheville sometimes--but rationing was the name of the game, and everyone looked like they were one meal a day short. And you didn't live in the woods without getting a smear of dirt here and there, no matter how often you bathed up in the stream.

The sky was blue with a hint of that burnt orange that had haunted the atmosphere since the devastating sun flares had struck without much warning. Over a year ago and yet it still hung up there like a hazy curtain meant to remind them forever. Who knew if things would ever get back to normal. The coolness Mark had felt upon waking up seemed like a joke now--he was already sweating from the steadily rising temperature as the brutal sun rimmed the sparse tree line of the mountain peaks above.

It wasn't all bad news. As he left the warrens of their camps and entered the woods, there were many promising signs. New trees growing, old trees recovering, squirrels dashing through the blackened pine needles, green sprouts and buds all around. He even saw something that looked like an orange flower in the distance. He was half tempted to go pick it for Trina, but he knew she'd scold him within an inch of his life if he dared impede the progress of the forest. Maybe his day would be good after all. They'd survived the worst natural disaster in known human history--maybe the corner had been turned.

He was breathing heavily from the effort of the hike up the mountain face when he reached the spot where Trina loved to go for escape. Especially in the mornings, when the odds of finding someone else up there were slim. He stopped and looked at her from behind a tree, knowing she'd heard him approach but glad she was pretending she hadn't.

Man, she was pretty. Leaning back against a huge granite boulder that seemed as if it had been placed there by a decorating giant, she held a thick book in her lap. She turned a page, her green eyes following the words. She was wearing a black T-shirt and a pair of worn jeans, sneakers that looked a hundred years old. Her short blond hair shifted in the wind, and she appeared the very definition of peace and comfort. Like she belonged in the world that had existed before everything was scorched.

Mark had always felt like she was his as a simple matter of the situation. Pretty much everyone else she'd ever known had died; he was a scrap left over for her to take, the alternative to being forever alone. But he gladly played his part, even considered himself lucky--he didn't know what he'd do without her.

"This book would be so much better if I didn't have some creepy guy stalking me while I tried to read it." Trina spoke without the slightest hint of a smile. She flipped another page and continued to read.

"It's just me," he said. Half of what he said around her still came out sounding dumb. He stepped from behind the tree.

She laughed and finally looked up at him. "It's about time you got here! I was just about ready to start talking to myself--I've been reading since before dawn."

He walked over and plopped down on the ground beside her. They hugged, tight and warm and full of the promise he'd made upon waking up.

He pulled back and looked at her, not caring about the goofy grin that was most likely plastered across his face. "You know what?"

"What?" she asked.

"Today is going to be a perfect, perfect day."

Trina smiled and the waters of the stream continued to rush by, as if his words meant nothing.

Chapter 2

"I haven't had a perfect day since I turned sixteen," Trina said as she thumbed down the corner of her page and placed the book by her side. "Three days later and you and I were running for our lives through a tunnel that was hotter than the sun."

"Good times," Mark mused as he got more comfortable. He leaned up against the same boulder, crossed his legs in front of him. "Good times."

Trina gave him a sideways glance. "My birthday party or the sun flares?"

"Neither. You liked that idiot John Stidham at your party. Remember?"

A guilty look flashed across her face. "Um, yeah. Seems like that was about three thousand years ago."

"It took half the world being wiped out for you to finally notice me." Mark smiled, but it felt empty. The truth was kind of depressing--even to joke about--and a dark cloud was forming over his head. "Let's change the subject."

"I vote for that." She closed her eyes and leaned her head against the stone. "I don't want to think about that stuff for one more second."

Mark nodded even though she couldn't see. He'd suddenly lost any desire to talk, and his plans for a perfect day washed away with the stream. The memories. They never let him go, not even for a half hour. They always had to rush back in, bringing all the horror.

"You okay?" Trina asked. She reached out and grabbed his hand, but Mark pulled it away, knowing it was all sweaty.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I just wish we could go one day without something taking us back. I could be perfectly happy in this place if we could just forget. Things are getting better. We just need to . . . let it go!" He almost shouted the last part, but he had no idea where his anger was directed. He just hated the things in his head. The images. The sounds. The smells.

"We will, Mark. We will." She reached for him again, and this time he took her hand.

"We better get back down there." He always did this. When the memories came, he always slipped into business mode. Take care of business and work and stop using your brain. It was the only thing that helped. "I'm sure Alec and Lana have about forty jobs for us."

"That have to be done today," Trina added. "Today! Or the world will end!"

She smiled, and that helped lighten things up. At least a little.

"You can read more of your boring book later." He climbed to his feet, pulling her up along with him. Then they set off down the mountain path, heading for the makeshift village they called home.

The smells hit Mark first. It was always that way when going to the Central Shack. Rotting undergrowth, cooking meat, pine sap. All laced with that scent of burning that defined the world after the sun flares. Not unpleasant, really, just haunting.

He and Trina wound their way past the crooked and seemingly slapped-together buildings of the settlement. Most of the buildings on this side of the camp had been put up in the early months, before they'd found people who'd been architects and contractors and put them in charge. Huts made of tree trunks and mud and bristles of pine needles. Empty gaps for windows and oddly shaped doorways. In some spots there were nothing but holes in the ground, the bottom lined with plastic sheets, a few logs lashed together to cover it when the rains came. It was a far cry from the towering skyscrapers and concrete landscape of where he'd grown up.

Alec greeted Mark and Trina with a grunt when they walked through the lopsided doorway in the Central Shack's log structure. Before they could say hello, Lana came marching briskly up to them. A stout woman with black hair that was always pulled tightly into a bun, she'd been a nurse in the army and was younger than Alec, but older than Mark's parents--she and Alec had been together when Mark had met them in the tunnels below New York City. Back then, they'd both worked for the defense department. Alec was her boss; they'd been on their way to a meeting of some sort that day. Before everything changed.

"And where have you two been?" Lana asked when she came to a stop just a few inches from Mark's face. "We were supposed to start at dawn today, head out to the southern valley and scout for another branch location. A few more weeks of this overcrowding and I might get snippy."

"Good morning," Mark said in response. "You seem chipper today."

She smiled at that; Mark had known she would. "I do tend to get straight to business sometimes, don't I? Though I have a lot of wiggle room before I get as grumpy as Alec."

"The sarge? Yeah, you're right."

On cue, the old bear grunted.

"Sorry about being late," Trina said. "I'd make up a great excuse, but honesty's the best policy. Mark made me go up to the stream and we . . . you know."

It took a lot to surprise Mark these days, even more to make him blush, but Trina had the ability to do both. He stammered as Lana rolled her eyes.

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The Kill Order 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 408 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
James Dashner has done it again! In this prequel to The Maze Runner, friendship, love, and humanity are put to the test. Scales (1 to 10) Characters - 6 The characters in this book aren't as likeable as those in The Maze Runner. The just don't have the same pizazz as Thomas and his friends in the maze. Writing - 7 Dashner definity improved his writing tecniques since The Maze Runner trilogy. However, sometimes I felt as though the author was only writing certain selections for the sole purpose of appealing to young people through unecassary violence and romance. Violence - 9 The book is packed full of action seens. Although it's not as violent as The Maze Runner or even The Hunger Games. The gore is kept to a minimum although parents and teahers should be wary. Sexuality/Sensuality - 4 The main character, Mark, has a girlfriend. The do hug and kiss on some occasions. Towards the begining of the book, his girlfriend makes a joke about the two of them having sex and later in the book, they spend the night togeather but the book goes into no further details. Drugs/Alchol - 2 There are a few minor alchol references in the book, but nothing extreme. Swearing - 4 Mild inapropriate language is used. Words such as "damn," "hell," and "bastard". Sexism/Prejuicism/Racism - 3 There are practically no strong female characters in the book. Recomended minimum age of reader: 12
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Man this series has been so goodneven though there was a little bit of language but other than that if i could i would give this series a 1,000,000,000 from a scale of 1-10!!!!!!!!!!
Cupcakegirly More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to this prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy because I thoroughly enjoyed those books. (Team Minho FTW) However, this wasn't what I was expecting. There's a prologue and epilogue that focus on the characters of the Glade but other than that, this is a completely different story with new characters. It's still interesting and action packed with characters as intense as the ones we've come to know but for fans looking for more information on Thomas, Teresa, or Brenda, they might be disappointed. I was hoping for more background on the Gladers themselves. For those readers who are just beginning the series, I would say to this is a good place to start.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the Maze Runner trilogy. The first book was awesome, the other two were alright. The end of the third book left many questions and curiosities unanswered, but The Kill Order helped to answer most of them. I love that we were able to see what it was like when the sun flares first hit Earth and the mass chaos that ensued after. I was put off at first because the book focuses on different characters than the ones in the trilogy, but soon warmed up to them and wanted to know their story. A little more violence than I cared for, however, I think it was a necessary evil, considering the nature of the book. I would definitely recommend reading the other three books before reading this one. It says it's a prequel, but things will either not make sense or ruin some of the magic from the other three if read first. Didn't give it five stars for a few reasons: 1. Some parts of the book move slowly. 2. Some parts are unrealistic (yes, I know, the whole thing is unrealistic, but you'll know what I mean when you read it). 3. I still want more. Questions still unanswered. Maybe that was the author's intention though - leave it up to the reader's imagination. In sum, read it. It's entertaining, interesting, and will make you think what life could be like in post apocalyptic America.
mrsvaljones More than 1 year ago
In a prequel to the Maze Runner series, we start just after the sun flares began and wreaked havoc upon earth. Mark and Trina were in New York when it happened. Lucky to escape with their lives, they pair up with Alec, Lana, and a few other survivors and head to the mountains, where settlements of survivors are rumored to exist. The group manages the trip, and attempt to survive in the horrible heat and nearly desolte planet. Over a year after the initial sun flares, a new disease surfaced, a deadly virus that causes it victims to go crazy and die violently. But there is something suspicious about this new disease, and the rapid way it spreads, killing everyone in its path. After the disease ravages their settlement, and they realize that it is mutating, the group seeks a cure and the truth about where the disease really came from. The truth; however, might be more devastating than the disease itself. With humanity on the line, Mark and Trina are in a race against time and death. Told from the point of view of Mark, and intertwined with flashbacks to the beginning of the sun flares, The Kill Order is an action packed and emotionally intense novel. Each of the characters has their flaws, but their human qualities and friendship among one another leave the reader turning the pages waiting for the conclusion and paving the way for the story of WICKED, the Glade, and Thomas’s quest in the Maze.
starofthebunch More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of the Maze Runner series, so when I heard that a "prequel" had been published I was very excited to read it. However, it ended up being hugely disappointing. While the book answered some questions as to where the Flare came from and gave some good background to the later books, it was not at all as exciting as the later books in the series. It felt as if the same "action" was happening over and over again- halfway through, I could already predict what would probably be happening next. There were very few surprises and I didn't feel any sort of attachment or connection with these characters the way I did in the later books. It almost felt like a pointless story to me, and I think Mr. Dashner could have come up with a much better story than this one. That being said- if you're a fan of the Maze Runner series, it is worth reading only because of some explaination as to the Flare. That's about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the series in the first place- sooooooooooo sad it had to end, i wish these books would never end- but wanted to know what happened before this all. Savin up my money to buy it!!!!!
Carrigan More than 1 year ago
The is a great prequel to the Maze Runner Trilogy. It answers a great number of questions I've had from the first page of the Maze Runner. I enjoy James Dashner's writing style, even as a "not-so-young-adult" reader. The story line keeps the reader engaged from the first page until the last and leaves you wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes it does tie up some loose ends from maze runner trilogy but i could be a completely different series. It did not connect to the gladers from the trilogy. And it had very little down time, they finish one task and bam another problem presents itself. But besides that it was a great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book had an amazing story through out and very vivid in detail. Right away the book was great. It was exciting when the book was being set up; most book are boring when being set up. It is definetly one of my favorite books! Make sure to also read the maze runner seriese.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only reason i give this book four stars instead of five is because the ending dosent tell you anything that happed to the main charactrs. You should defanatly read this book and after your done read the third book in the series again it makes the book even more awesome XD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was insane! I was hesitant to read it at first because the story takes place with completely different characters, but I'm glad I did. The story starts before the Maze (obviously), and right as the flares begin. James Dashner is incredibly talented, twisting this book so that it all comes together with the rest of the series. The end of it all blew me away! This is an absolute must-read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it.i havent read death cure yet but i cant wait. 5 stars.if u dont want to purchase it then get it from a library but ur realy missing out on this action packed,sad,happy,slow,fast,and creative story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book did not give away to my expectations!!!!! It was just so wonderful!! Although it was a bit cunfusing at first lol. XD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loved it
Dakota_Boyens More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It is the prequel to "The Maze Runner", and tells the story of a small group of friends that survive the sun flares. They are living in a small settlement when a ship comes and shoots most of them with darts. These darts cause everyone to get sick, and this group of friends decide to investigate. This decision takes them all on an adventure that may cost them their lives. I found this book very interesting. There is a good dose of violence throughout the book, and being a teenage boy, I really appreciated it. You should really read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time finishing this book. I don't if it's because it was too predictable, any literary mind could have know most of the events and themes in this book by simply reading the series, or if I've just had other things on my mind (like 20 new books to read). I devoured the Series in a matter of days but it took me weeks to finish The Kill Order. I easily found excuses as to other things I could spend my time doing, and once I picked it up I was easily bored and distracted. While I do not suggest this book, I do however suggest The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever!!!!! This book is so well written it makes it seem as if i could hav really been there
Eaglejack1 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Maze Runner. But this book did not compare. Very dull with nothing but fighting. Don't waste your time. Very difficult to even finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I did not love it as much as a loved the original series it's still a really great book that gives some interesting background on the series:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the book. I have read the trilogy. The kill order felt much more hopeless than the other books. But, i guess the prequel to the end of the civilized world should be pretty bleak.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed with this prequel. I loved the Maze Runner series so I pre-ordered this book months ago. The writing was subpar and quite repetitive. The character development was lacking, to say the least, and entirely unbelievable. Such an amazing story deserved more of an effort from the writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive read the first three books and i cant wait to know about things before the glade and before thomas had to assist WICKED in making the maze
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Kill Order ties the Maze Runner series back to the beginning. As always, James Dashner's skilled use of suspense and detail kept me anxious and I never wanted to put this book down. Loved it and didn't want the series to end!