The Kill Order (maze Runner, Book Four; Origin): Book Four; Origin by James DashnerThe Kill Order (maze Runner, Book Four; Origin): Book Four; Origin by James Dashner

The Kill Order (maze Runner, Book Four; Origin): Book Four; Origin

byJames Dashner

Paperback | January 7, 2014

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Book four in the blockbuster Maze Runner series that spawned a movie franchise and ushered in a worldwide phenomenon! And don’t miss The Fever Code, the highly-anticipated series conclusion that finally reveals the story of 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 end is only the beginning.

The Maze Runner, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, and Maze Runner: The Death Cure are all 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.
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
USA Today Bestseller
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 FliesThe 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

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 no...
Title:The Kill Order (maze Runner, Book Four; Origin): Book Four; OriginFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.82 inPublished:January 7, 2014Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385742894

ISBN - 13:9780385742894


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting Prequel was very well done!! very clever and surprised me too. New characters were fun to get to know and were well developed. Excited to see it come to life
Date published: 2018-08-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting prequel It was very informative, while also engaging as it introduced new characters from before the events in the Maze Runner. Due to this set-up, it was a bit harder to invest into these characters but they were well-developed enough. I only recommend this for people who've already finished the series though, as it'd make much more sense and supplement the knowledge gleaned from the original trilogy.
Date published: 2018-08-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Nice! The book didn't incorporate any of the characters the fans are used to and just plopped in random characters that came before the main cast. While I couldn't get used to the characters, the story is very fine on it's own!
Date published: 2018-08-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting This book reveals how it all started. It tells you how the flares started and how it changed the lives of people before the experiments WICKED did. Overall it was an interesting book to read.
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating great prequel. If you like this series, pick this up!
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting. An interesting prequel to an interesting story. Though I wasn't as invested in the characters as I was in the Maze Runner books this one gaze some interesting insights into the world in which they lived.
Date published: 2018-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I felt great to read how their lives were before all the experiments started by WICKED!
Date published: 2018-07-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Dry Book This book was very boring and the writing didn't do it for me.
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from wasn't as good as the others I loved this series very much, but this book, in my opinion, was not really interested and wasn't my favourite of the whole series.
Date published: 2018-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it !!! I found this book to be a great read, the plot and the characters were both really good. Although, unless you have read the other three Maze runner books I don't suggest you read this one yet because it will cause a lot of confusion. I found this book to be one of my favourites of the series, I liked it a lot. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-04-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book but different Loved the book but couldn't really get attached to the characters.
Date published: 2018-04-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh It was ok. Characters were sort of forgettable and only 1 of them really matters in the grander scheme of the story. It does give some backstory on the origins of the flare and the "cure." #plumreview
Date published: 2018-03-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Must read of you are reading the series Really happy this book came out, it really did explain the origins of the FLARE, and WICKED. Although it was completely new characters by the end of the novel it did tie into the whole series, this one is a must read if you have read the whole series
Date published: 2018-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book This was a great book i could nopt put it down #plumreview
Date published: 2018-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty good This book is definitely interesting, no doubt. It is pretty good but I wouldn't give it five stars. I guess we were all just hoping for a book with the original characters.
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book! love the whole series. its gripping from begining to end
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from So hard to read It was so hard to get into and to stay interested. Struggled to read to the end.
Date published: 2018-01-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok I loved it to the ending. The ending was a bit too much, but I have hope that the series will be redeemed
Date published: 2017-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read Love how the author goes back in time to so we can have more background knowledge of the story and it’s characters.
Date published: 2017-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Book! This book answered a lot of questions that I had. It was great because it let the reader know more about the Flare and what it was like to be living through that time. All in all, a great origin of the series.
Date published: 2017-12-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Alright It was hard to read from different peoples perspective but it answered a lot of questions
Date published: 2017-11-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from GR8 Great book i really recommend it to those who like to read books
Date published: 2017-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Read disappointing to be reading about other characters but these were also very captivating. More information related to the virus and its origin and intentions.
Date published: 2017-10-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Different from the first three books ... not bad, just not what i was expecting. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing overbook is just as good as the last james dasner is an amazing writer!!!!
Date published: 2017-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This Made Book 3's Ending So Much Better This really wrapped up the series nicely for me. It put everything in perspective and made book 3's ending better in my opinion.
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interestingly amazing Loved the way the author wrote this prequel!
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read An interesting prequel to the Maze Runner series, and good story on its own.
Date published: 2017-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really good I liked the origin story. Very interesting to have more backstory
Date published: 2017-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Although I missed the original characters of the Maze Runner series, this book quickly got me hooked. It's a great book that starts at the very beginning of the Flare and takes you on a completely different adventure.
Date published: 2017-07-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Origin Story It was a good origin story that provided new information about a beloved series.
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from like it i really like this book. i liked that i got to read what happen before the maze and to find out what teresa's real name.
Date published: 2017-05-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 2.5 stars Not as good as the original trilogy. I loved the first two books, and the Death Cure fell a bit flat for me. I was excited to see what this book was all about - how the Flare started. It gave some more insight and information, but the story itself was fairly boring. It was well written, but not intriguing, and I would've given it two stars, if it weren't for the very last chapter, after the epilogue, which I enjoyed more than everything that came before it. Not sure whether it's worth the read, but if you really enjoyed the first three books, consider giving this one a shot.
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved This! I was surprised at how much these books hooked me in and kept me interested the entire time! Every chapter literally ends with a cliff hanger and you just can't put it down.
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better than the original trilogy Enjoyed this even more than the others in the series. Usually I'm skeptical about .05 or 1.5 in series because I think its a money grab but this one was well worth it.
Date published: 2017-05-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, for an origin story This book was just what I didn't know I needed in order to put things into perspective
Date published: 2017-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So cool It was really cool learning about how things started with the solar flares and how the Flare started. I especially liked the ending and how Dashner tied everything together, it was really cool.
Date published: 2017-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Series Good read. Liked how everything tied in at the end and let us with a surprise!
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Didn't like I'm a fan of the Maze Runner series, so I thought that I'd read this, but I found this book so boring!!
Date published: 2017-03-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVED IT It filled in a lot of gaps and gave you a lot of back story which I really enjoyed!
Date published: 2017-03-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hmm Not what I expected.. The series had a very redundant plot..
Date published: 2017-03-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Better than the First Three I actually enjoyed this book more than I did all of the others before it. You do have to read this after reading the originals though, or else I feel like there will be a lot of confusion.
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good I seemed to like this book more than the series. All of the maze runner books are good though!
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved It Really loved this book. It's a really good prequel and I love all the different characters in this book just as much as the original characters. If you've read the original 3 books, you must read this!
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book! This was an excellent series, well written and captivating. I couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh... A struggle to get to the end, didn't like it at all. Nowhere near as good as the Series!
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from As Good as The First This book was as good as the first, in my opinion. I think the problem with this one is that it's often marketed as "book four", while it's actually a prequel... but that you have to read after the trilogy, or else you will not understand some details. I personally really liked it.
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book It is absolutely incredible. Twists and plots. Never boring. It amazes me how the author keeps a spin on the book. Very well done.
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh Skipped the majority of the book...
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was okay. Was not completely in love with it and was not completelty dissapointed. I also don't like some of the chaacters.
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 10/10 I bought this book thinking it was the fourth and final maze runner book, so when I found out it was a prequel I wasn't sure if I was going to pick it up. I'm not usually a fan of prequels but for a book report at school I figured why not give it a shot. I'm so glad I did. I loved this book and because it explained a bit more about WICKED I found myself enjoying the other maze runner books a lot more because they began to make more sense. I actually enjoyed the writing and characters better than I did in the main maze runner novels.
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Okay I didn't really like this. It was too slow for me.
Date published: 2016-12-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Interesting to see where it all started
Date published: 2016-12-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not very exciting or entertaining To be honest, I didn't have high expectations for this novel. It's the prequel to the 'Maze Runner' series and I believe this series has been hyped up and given more credit than it deserves. This prequel started off lackluster from the very beginning. It did pick up and get more exciting, only to become boring again. It just didn't hold my attention because there wasn't anything too thrilling about it. The story was predictable and it dragged on. Everything that I thought was happening and predicted, did eventually happen 300 or so pages later. The ending was good and it did tie in well with the rest of the series but like I said, I think the rest of the series gets more credit and publicity than it deserves. I would largely recommend the Divergent or Hunger Games series' (as well as a plethora of other dystopian novels) over this series.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! Gives you insight on what was happening before TMR.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! I liked it. The plot was okay and the action parts were okay. Overall good.
Date published: 2016-12-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was good, but not as good I had high expectations for this book after reading the original series. It didn't meet those expectations but it still was an amazing book to read. The ending is amazing and makes you think about the actual series and what was actually happening.
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from NOOOOOOO And this book killed the whole series for me. People often as me to borrow my books and I refuse to give them this one because it ruins it all... its so pointless and dumb... what a let down.. it doesn't answer any questions like it said it would and the characters aren't even the same
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed Other than 1 character, all others are new and so found it disappointing. I wanted to learn about Thomas too. BUT, if you're like me, you'll still want to read it since it is part of the series.
Date published: 2016-12-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good! It was a good read for fans of the maze runner
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good! Not what i was expecting but still great!
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Went from good to irrelevant and disappointment Well, that was an odd prequel. I liked it at first but it soon became hard to continue. Character roles and traits changed and was not done very well. If you are a completionist, it was ok enough if you have read the rest if the series. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book. It was an amazing read I highly recommend it!
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from really good i read this before starting the maze runner, made me want to finish the series
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Teresa's old story when she was DeeDee not that good
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good book #plumrewards. It was a little odd that there were no original characters from first 3 books but it went surprisingly well regardless. Hope to see more
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from im so happy with this I bout this a few months ago and i love it!!!!
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from meh very disappointed not what i was expecting
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring! Had barely anything to do with the rest of the books.
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from DO YOU LIKE ACTION AND ADVENTURE BOOKS, THEN THE "KILL ORDER" IS THE BOOK FOR YOU DO YOU LIKE ACTION AND ADVENTURE BOOKS, THEN THE "KILL ORDER" IS THE BOOK FOR YOU. In the book "The Kill Order" written by James Dashner, you are quickly introduced to a future Earth where sun flares have killed off most of the surface life. Mark is a teenager who is just always in the wrong place at the wrong time he was on lucky once when then sun flares hit he was underground, but after that it seemed that his guardian angel left him. Trina, the girl Mark had a crush on was with Mark when the flares hit. Alec, a member of the group is a former soldier and his significant other Lana is also a former soldier. Both helped Mark and Trina throughout the flares. The group of survivors have made a settlement in the mountains of New Hampshire where they are trying not die. They have to face their biggest challenge yet. There’s a deadly virus going around and guess who’s infected.......... All in all I found "The Kill Order" is a very good read as it is filled with loads of excitement and is a real page turner through out many different scenes of survival and fighting like a scene where Mark squished a bad guy in a hydraulic closing door and slight humor of the aged soldier Alec with his war jokes. It was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down. What I did not like about the book was that I thought the book was going to be about Thomas and Teresa creating the maze and how the Gladers came to be. But instead, it was more on how the virus was released and how wicked started in the first place, which was an okay trade off even though I would like to see another book to explain how the maze came to be. Also I think this book is receiving a bit too much "hate" as I've been reading some of the other reviews. I thought this book was a very good read through all the exciting scenes, detail and just a good written book. 1. I recommend you read the whole maze runner series or else "The Kill Order" book may confuse you. 2. (SPOILER ALERT)............In the book it does explain how wicked was created. The PFC, The ones who released the virus turns into wicked.
Date published: 2016-06-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty good The story was pretty good. I wasn't expecting the moon, but I was surprised about how great the story was.
Date published: 2016-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Eh Very interesting but at the same time boring and confusing. Instead of having all the gladers before the flare virus, they have Mark, Trina, Lana and Alec. Totally new characters. Which was extremely confusing at the beginning but it ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL made sense at the end. It had a very good ending AND answered quite a few questions. Not necessarily about the gladers but defiantly about the new characters in this book. I recommend this book but be prepared for a suprise and quite a few sad moments.
Date published: 2015-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Slight disappointment The book was not how I expected it to be, it has completely different characters than the books prior. It took me a bit to get into it because I was confused about the flip but once I got into it I have to say I did enjoy it.
Date published: 2015-10-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from *sighs* This one isn't getting a full review because I am angry that I spent my time, energy, and money on this. I thought for SURE there would be some ANSWERS about why The Maze Runner happened and maybe a bit of the formation of WICKED and how they decided to do what they did, but NOTHING. Some of my world building questions were answered but not enough of them because I was left with even more questions. Explains the very beginnings of the situation but doesn't get close enough to the start of where the series starts to make it really connect to it. And because we are introduced to EVEN MORE CHARACTERS, I am left with EVEN MORE FREAKING QUESTIONS. I still think Dashner had no idea what to do after The Maze Runner and wrote the rest of the books as he went along to try and make a full story. Then he realized "oh shit I don't have all my plot holes covered, better write a prequel that will confuse the readers even more!" Overall: 3/5 stars. A good read if you want to know more about the world, but not necessary for the series imo.
Date published: 2015-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from completely love it This is the book before it all went down even before Thomas got tricked into helping wicked recommend it!!!!
Date published: 2015-05-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Totally NOT what I expected it should be If you are expecting to read about how WICKED was established, how Thomas & Theresa helped built the Maze, like me, then you can forget about reading this book. Not only none of the above was mentioned in the entire book, it is merely yet another journey about a group of people struggling to survive after the sun flare happened, you will get glimpse of it through Mark’s dreams though, and its not much, take my word on that one. How they were trying to figure out why somebody is going around shooting darts at people, how some die soon after, how some became what you know as “Cranks” if you have read the other 3 books. I really thought when I was reading this that Mark & Trina were the predecessors of WICKED, and how I was totally disappointed. Like the 1st book, The Maze Runner, it was extremely boring and slow for the first half of the book, when I got to the middle, things started to pick up, just to find that I have to pull myself to turn the pages. I almost gave up on the last couple chapters, almost but I just told myself just a few more to go, might as well finish it. Honestly, Dashner only took 5 pages to sum up how the government decided and launched the Kill Order, and it’s like in the last 6 chapters of the book (each chapter is merely 4-5 pages long) And he made it as correspondences between two people, what an easy way out of it! And don’t even expect you will get details of it, it’s just a memorandum to “justify” their decision, reasoning, no action, no emotion, no plot, nothing. As for Thomas & Theresa, they were NEVER mentioned anywhere in the story, they were placed as a different part of the book, after the Epilogue, not part of. Not only that, its only 3-4 pages long, about how Thomas was “recruited” (which you already know from all the memories Thomas got in the last 3 books) I did had a little assumption which was confirmed true when I was reading the last chapter of the book when I was reading about Thomas & Theresa. So you can see there isn’t really any surprises there. If you only want to find out who Theresa is, you can just go into the store and spend about 5 minutes to read the very last section of the book on the profile on Theresa. She is a village girl that Mark saved when his group was making their way to a place they believed are responsible for the killings of their villagers. Having said all that, if you are looking for background information on WICKED, on Thomas & Theresa, on the predecessors of WICKED, how the Maze was built, you will find none of them in this book. So my recommendation is: You can stay away from this Prequel, no need to read as it does not tie to the Maze Runner series. Just read the other 3 books.
Date published: 2014-07-03

Read from the Book

Chapter 1Mark 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.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

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   [STAR] “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 NewsFrom the Hardcover edition.