Book Review: The Kill Order by James Dashner

9781909489431The Kill Order by James Dashner

Genre: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic

Publishing Info: 2013 by Chicken House (first published 2012)

Pages: 331

Star Rating: 2/5

Back Cover Summary:

Sun flares have unleashed devastation on the earth. Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and against the odds they survived.

But now a violent and high contagious disease is spreading like wildfire. Worse still, it’s mutating, and people are going crazy. Mark and Trina will do anything to save their friends – if only they can avoid madness and stay alive…

The opening few chapters got my interest, and I wanted to know more. I wanted to keep reading to find out why the virus was happening. The opening action sequence was exciting and gave me high hopes for the rest of the book. Unfortunately, it didn’t continue as well as it started.

The plot is vague. It just didn’t really go anywhere. Despite the constant action, I lost interest because there wasn’t anything else to keep me engaged. There was a lot of action, maybe too much. The action scenes become quite repetitive. Some of them were hard to follow. There was a scene at some kind of base, where I just couldn’t visualise the awkward attempts at describing the characters’ surroundings and spent a few chapters feeling confused because I couldn’t visualise what the characters were doing. In a couple of places, Dashner made the odds the characters had to face (e.g. the number of enemies in a fight) so difficult that it seemed unrealistic for them to get out of those situations.

The fast pace also meant there was little time to develop characters. As with the Maze Runner trilogy, most of the characters were bland, and the book lacked any kind of character arcs. Only Alec’s personality came through, but only through repetitive emphasis on his characteristics.

I wasn’t keen on the flashbacks, but that may have been to do with the way they are written. The narrative switches to present tense for the flashbacks. Dashner’s writing seems to read even worse in present tense than it does in past tense. His writing is simple, which I didn’t have too much issue with in the other books, but for some reason in this one it’s very clunky. I also felt the dream flashbacks didn’t add anything that couldn’t have been conveyed in other ways, such as through Mark’s thoughts.

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Book Review: Infected by Tara Ellis

Infected by Tara Ellis  

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Publishing Info: Self-published May 2016 (first published 2013)

Pages: 241

Star Rating: 3/5

Back Cover Summary:

An alien plague. A sixteen-year-old girl. A fight to save the world.

When a rare meteor shower unleashes a mind-altering infection, the people Alex loves begin to change. They’re smarter, faster, emotionless, and they have a plan. One that doesn’t include her.

Guided by cryptic clues left behind by her deceased father, Alex follows a trail of increasingly shocking discoveries. Earth’s history isn’t what she learned in school, and a new hive mind threatens to rewrite the future.

Alex is a fighter, but pursued by both friends and an unknown enemy, it will take everything she has to fulfill her destiny. Desperate to save her little brother, she flees to the mountains surrounding her home, where the only chance for humanity has lain hidden for thousands of years

Infected, The Shiners is book one in the Forgotten Origins Trilogy.

I read this as part of a book club. Although I wasn’t sure about it at the beginning, it got much better as it went on. The start has far too much info dumping about Alex’s past which took me out of the present story and made me lose interest. I got pretty bored of all the recap about her life. If it hadn’t been for the book club, that really would have put me off and I might not have carried on reading. Fortunately, I did carry on and things picked up. The first half was quite slow but I was intrigued, especially when it started getting creepy. The latter half of the book is much faster and I finished it quite quickly once I got to that point as the pace was full on. Although I like that it got really intense and fast paced, I think the first half could have been paced better so there wasn’t such a dramatic shift.

There’s not much I can say about the plot without giving away spoilers! It reminded me of a strange mix of The Host, National Treasure and Indiana Jones. I liked the mystery and adventure element – I do love a good hidden clue. There isn’t really an explanation for the infection and how or why it came to Earth in a meteor shower, but I’m guessing that’s something that will be dealt with more in the next books in the series. The middle section was particularly creepy once people started changing as a result of the infection, and the author did this suspenseful aspect really well.

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