Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

‘The Kill Order’ by James Dashner Is A Wonderfully Heart-Wrenching, Emotional Story of Love, Loss, and Hope.

We’re big fans of James Dashner here at Lytherus. His Maze Runner series is tense, disturbing, thought-provoking, and overall excellent. So it was with excitement that I cracked the pages of The Kill Order, curious to see what exactly the prequel to this series would entail. A part of me initially hoped for a Thomas and Teresa story, but I think learning that wasn’t the case ahead of time allowed me to go into the book with more of an open mind. What I got was a wonderfully heart-wrenching, emotional story of love, loss, and hope.

It’s a year after the solar flares decimated the earth. There are survivors, doing their best to live some sort of quality life. Mark and Trina are two of them. Friends living in NYC when the flares struck, they now live in the Appalachian mountains in a shanty town of sorts with other survivors. When a Berg shows up, firing down not bullets but darts filled with a mysterious virus, a group of survivors set out to discover what is happening, why they are being attacked by such a horrible disease, and why so many people are dying. What they discover is bigger than they ever imagined, and they race against time — the spreading of the virus, and essentially what will be the end of their lives — to protect those left.

Prequels written after a series are sometimes hard, since you know what’s coming. I was curious to see how Dashner would create a story that was mysterious enough to captivate me and stand alone as its own strong writing. And I think that his choice of not taking us through Tomas and Teresa’s final days before the Glade helped a lot with that. New characters, scary new world, lots of unfamiliar things.

Thomas has lots of dreams flashing back to the moment everything went to hell. I loved being privy to this information. Dashner writing it this way allowed the reader to experience both major events that set up the Maze Runner trilogy (the sun flares, and the Flare spreading), and that made for a richer reading experience for me.

Seeing the Flare hitting characters around the leads, wondering if they’d get it (and what it would manifest like in Thomas’s head) was creepy. Knowing the dangers from the future and knowing they weren’t taking the needed precautions was hard. I very much had many ,”No, don’t go there! Don’t do that!” moments while reading this book. Needless to say, I became very emotionally involved. And perhaps this wasn’t the wisest thing on my part, knowing the essential outcome. The ending of this book was a serious tear-jerker for me. But that also shows the excellence of Dashner’s writing, sucking me into a hard place when I’m aware of how hard it will be and allowing for it anyway.

Am I glad I read this book? Definitely. Though it was emotional, which made it hard for me sometimes, it made me think for a few days afterwards. That is a sign of a good book: it doesn’t leave you. It’s a slightly different feel to the Maze Runner trilogy, but it works for what it’s about, and I think it’s a definite must-have read for fans of the series. It really will complete the story, and add a new dimension to the complex world Dashner created. Highly recommended.

Book News, Books, News

New Book Releases, Week of August 12, 2012

Hey all! Here’s this week’s list of new scifi, fantasy and horror books. Click on the title to see the cover.

Released Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Romeo Spikes, by Joanna Reay

Working the Homicide squad, Alexis Bianco believes she’s seen every way a life can be taken. Then she meets the mysterious Lola and finds out she’s wrong. More weapon than woman, Lola pursues a predator with a method of murder like no other.

The Tormenta.

If you think you’ve never encountered Tormenta, think again. You’re friends with one. Have worked for one. Maybe even fallen in love with one.

They walk amongst us—looking like us, talking like us. Coercing our subconscious with their actions. Like the long-legged beauty who seduces the goofy geek only to break his heart, causing him to break his own neck in a noose. Or the rock star whose every song celebrates self-harm, inspiring his devoted fans to press knives to their own throats. The pusher who urges the addict toward one more hit, bringing him a high from which he’ll never come down. The tyrannical boss, crushing an assistant’s spirit until a bridge jump brings her low.

We call it a suicide. Tormenta call it a score, their demonic powers allowing them to siphon off the unspent life span of those who harm themselves.

To Bianco, being a cop is about right and wrong. Working with Lola is about this world and the next . . . and maybe the one after that. Because everything is about to change. The coming of a mighty Tormenta is prophesied, a dark messiah known as the Mosca.

To stop him, Bianco and Lola must fight their way through a cryptic web of secret societies and powerful legends and crack an ancient code that holds the only answer to the Mosca’s defeat. If this miscreant rises before they can unmask him, darkness will reign and mankind will fall in a storm of suicides. Nobody’s safe. Everyone’s a threat.

The Traitor Queen (The Traitor Spy Trilogy), by Trudi Canavan

Discover the magic of Trudi Canavan with her brand new novel in the Traitor Spy trilogy…
Events are building to a climax in Sachaka as Lorkin returns from his exile with the Traitor rebels. The Traitor Queen has given Lorkin the huge task of brokering an alliance between his people and the Traitors. Lorkin has also had to become a feared black magician in order to harness the power of an entirely new kind of gemstone magic. This knowledge could transform the Guild of Magicians – or make Lorkin an outcast forever.
The Traitor Spy trilogy, which began with The Ambassador’s Mission and The Rogue, is the new series set in the world of the international bestselling Black Magician trilogy.

Break Out (Blood Hunter), by Nina Croft

The year is 3048, Earth is no longer habitable, and man has fled to the stars where they’ve discovered the secret of immortality—Meridian. Unfortunately, the radioactive mineral is exorbitantly expensive and only available to a select few. A new class comprised of the super rich and immortal soon evolves. The Collective, as they’re called, rule the universe.

Two-thousand-year-old Ricardo Sanchez, vampire and rogue pilot of the space cruiser, El Cazador, can’t resist two things: gorgeous women and impossible jobs. When beautiful Skylar Rossaria approaches him to break a prisoner out of the Collective’s maximum security prison on Trakis One, Rico jumps at the chance. Being hunted by the Collective has never been so dangerous–or so fun!

Kingmaker, Kingbreaker: The Omnibus Edition, by Karen Miller

Being a fisherman like his father isn’t a bad life, but it’s not the one that Asher wants.

Despite his humble roots, Asher has grand dreams. And they call him to Dorana, home of princes, beggars, and the warrior mages who have protected the kingdom for generations.

Little does Asher know, however, that his arrival in the city is being closely watched…

KINGMAKER, KINGBREAKER, one of the most popular adventure fantasy series in recent years, is compiled into one volume for the first time. Included in this omnibus edition are: The Innocent Mage and The Awakened Mage.

Yesterday’s Hero (No Hero), by Jonathan Wood

Another day. Another zombie T-Rex to put down. All part of the routine for Arthur Wallace and MI37—the government department devoted to defending Britain from threats magical, supernatural, extraterrestrial, and generally odd. Except a zombie T-Rex is only the first of the problems about to trample, slavering and roaring, through Arthur’s life. Before he can say, “but didn’t I save the world yesterday?” a new co-director at MI37 is threatening his job, middle-aged Russian cyborg wizards are threatening his life, and his coworkers are threatening his sanity.

As Arthur struggles to unravel a plot to re-enact the Chernobyl disaster in England’s capital, he must not only battle foreign occult science but also struggle to keep the trust of his team. Events spiral out of control, friendships fray, and loyalties are tested to their breaking point.

False Memory, by Dan Krokos

Miranda wakes up alone on a park bench with no memory. In her panic, she releases a mysterious energy that incites pure terror in everyone around her. Except Peter, a boy who isn’t at all surprised by Miranda’s shocking ability.

Left with no choice but to trust this stranger, Miranda discovers she was trained to be a weapon and is part of an elite force of genetically-altered teens who possess flawless combat skills and powers strong enough to destroy a city. But adjusting to her old life isn’t easy—especially with Noah, the boyfriend she can’t remember loving.

Then Miranda uncovers a dark truth that sets her team on the run. Suddenly her past doesn’t seem to matter…when there may not be a future.

Dan Krokos’ debut is a tour-de-force of non-stop action that will leave readers begging for the next book in this bold and powerful new series.

 The Kill Order (Maze Runner Prequel), by James Dashner

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.
Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next.
Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.
Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—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.

Kissing Shakespeare, by Pamela Mingle

Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she’d like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he’s a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England–the world Stephen’s really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lose its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn’t convinced she’s the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it’s her only chance of getting back to the present and her “real” life. What Miranda doesn’t bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

Michael Vey 2: Rise of the Elgen, by Richard Paul Evans

Michael must save his mother—and protect his powers—in the electric sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling Michael Vey, from Richard Paul Evans.

I rolled over to my back, struggling for breath. The pain continued to pulse through my body—a heavy throb followed by a sharp, crisp sting.

The man said, “Trust me, there are worse things in this world than Cell 25.”

Michael, Taylor, Ostin, and the rest of the Electroclan have escaped from the Elgen Academy in Pasadena and are headed back to Idaho to plan their next move. But what’s waiting for them there will change everything.

After using their wits and powers to narrowly escape an Elgen trap, a mysterious voice leads the Electroclan to the jungles of Peru in search of Michael’s mother. Once there, they discover that Dr. Hatch and the Elgen are far more powerful than anyone realizes; entire countries have begun to fall under their control. Only the Electroclan and an anonymous voice now stand in the way of the Elgen’s plan for global domination.

But is the voice that Michael is following really an ally, or is it just another Elgen trap?

Suck it Up and Die, by Brian Meehl

Nearly two years after Suck It Up, all Morning McCobb wants is to complete his training at the NY Fire Academy and to stay head over heels in love with Portia for as long as the chronology-crossed lovers can, given that she’s now eighteen and he’s stalled at sixteen.
It’s nearly the first anniversary of American Out Day, the historic day on which the Leaguer vampires of America began going mainstream without going bloodstream on their fellow mortal citizens.
The tension between Morning’s wish for a simple, out of the spotlight life, and Portia’s cinematic obsession with historic events escalates to the breaking point when a super-sinister vampire rises from the grave with a powerful thirst, for revenge.

Touched, by Cyn Balog

Nick Cross always listens to the voice in his head. Because if he doesn’t? Things can go really, really wrong. Like the day he decided to go off script and saved a girl from being run over . . . and let another one drown. Trying to change the future doesn’t work.

But this summer at the Jersey Shore, something’s about to happen that Nick never could have predicted. He meets a girl named Taryn and finds out about the Book of Touch. Now the path that he thought he was on begins to shift . . . and there’s no way to stop things from happening. Or is there?

In a life where there are no surprises, nothing has prepared Nick for what he’s about to discover–or the choice he will be forced to make. . . .

The Unnaturalists, by Tiffany Trent

In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.

Blood Crave, by Jennifer Knight

Headstrong heroine Faith Reynolds returns in this thrilling sequel to the paranormal romance Blood on the Moon!

After surviving being kidnapped by a vampire, Faith would just love to focus on some alone time with her hot (though occasionally furry) boyfriend, Lucas. Unfortunately, with a vampire uprising on the horizon and her best friend, Derek, about to wake up and find himself transformed into a half-werewolf, half-vampire being without a beating heart, Faith has a few other things to take care of first.

Faith is not without help, in the form of her newfound powers of sensing people’s emotions and being able to influence werewolves’ actions, not to mention her begrudging but rather helpful boyfriend. Even so, convincing a werewolf packmaster to prepare for an epic battle may be difficult to do without solid evidence.

Lose yourself once more in the deliciously suspenseful world of werewolves versus vampires, otherworldly boys with deadly charm, and addictive, spine-tingling action and romance!

The fallen 4: Forsaken, by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Half angel and half human, Aaron holds the weight of the world in his hands in the fourth book of the New York Times bestselling The Fallen series.

The war between Heaven and Hell rages on. The devil has possessed Lucifer’s body and is intent on unleashing unfathomable chaos in the world. But no matter the cost, Aaron and the other Nephilim are determined to protect humanity.

As the casualties mount around them, Aaron and his beloved Vilma’s loyalty and faith will be tested. And in this next installment of the The Fallen series, they’re out to prove that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger….

Onyx (A Lux Novel), by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

 

All descriptions from amazon.com.

Book News, Books, News

Two Excerpts From Upcoming James Dashner and Pittacus Lore Books!

I came across some great excerpts today for books I’m really excited about, so of course sharing them here is a must-do!

First up is the prequel to The Maze Runner trilogy, The Kill Order by James Dashner. The excerpt is on EW.com, so you’ll have to click here and head on over to read it, but it’s 34 pages long, which is great. They’re also showing the book trailer (though at the time of this posting it’s temporarily down and says check back soon!).

What’s The Kill Order about? Here’s the summary on Amazon:

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.
Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next.
Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.
Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—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 Kill Order hits shelves on August 14th.

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Next up is another excerpt on EW.com, for the next book in the Lorien Legacies series, The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore. This is a huge excerpt of five chapters, enough to definitely get the appetite going! Click here to head on over and check it out. 

Unfamiliar with this fun series? Start with I Am Number FourFor those of you who are familiar, here’s what amazon has to say about this upcoming book:

Until the day I met John Smith, Number Four, I’d been on the run alone, hiding and fighting to stay alive.

Together, we are much more powerful. But it could only last so long before we had to separate to find the others. . . .

I went to Spain to find Seven, and I found even more, including a tenth member of the Garde who escaped from Lorien alive. Ella is younger than the rest of us, but just as brave. Now we’re looking for the others—including John.

But so are they.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They caught me in New York—but I escaped.
I am Number Six.
They want to finish what they started.

But they’ll have to fight us first.

The Rise of Nine is going to be released on August 21.

 

 

Book Events, Book Interviews, Books, Events, Interviews

SDCC12: Exclusive interview with James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner trilogy

Lytherus recently attended San Diego Comic-Con, where our staff had the opportunity to sit down and interview over a dozen movers and shakers in the fantasy, scifi, and horror worlds! The first in our series of Comic-Con interviews is our chat with NYT best-selling author James Dashner, known for his work on The Maze Runner trilogy and its soon-to-be-released prequel, The Kill Order, due out on August 14th!

Not familiar with Dashner’s series? From the back of The Maze Runner:

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

In this fifteen minute interview we chat with the author about how he defined the parameters of this world, his truly creepy creations, about examining who we really are as individuals, and of course, The Kill order. You’ll be interested to know that this prequel probably won’t be what readers are expecting!

Listen to the full interview with Dashner below:

https://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F53528798

Check back soon for more interviews featuring authors Gail Carriger, Mark Frost, Rachel Hartman, Christopher Paolini, Tessa Gratton, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, comic book artist Nicola Scott, comic book writers Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder, and the cast and crew of Silent Hill: Revelations!

Book News, Books, News

Just Announced! James Dashner “Maze Runner” Prequel Coming August 2012

Random House and Delacorte Press just announced that a prequel to James Dashner’s The Maze Runner trilogy will be hitting the shelves in August 2012. Titled The Kill Order, Dashner stated in his blog that this story was concieved even before the Maze Runner was written.

Here’s the official press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Delacorte Press Books

Announces Prequel to James Dashner’s

New York Times Bestselling Maze Runner Trilogy

THE KILL ORDER to be published in August 2012

New York, NY, November 21, 2011— Fast on the heels of the publication of The Death Cure, the third novel in James Dashner’s New York Timesbestselling trilogy, comes the news that Dashner will be releasing a prequel to the series, entitled THE KILL ORDER on August 14, 2012. The announcement and acquisition was made by Beverly Horowitz, Vice President and Publisher of Delacorte Press Books from Michael Bourret of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. Krista Marino, Executive Editor with Delacorte Press Books, who worked with Dashner on The Maze RunnerThe Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, is also the editor of THE KILL ORDER. Rights for the audiobook, which will be available on CD and as a digital download, were secured by Rebecca Waugh of Listening Library, a division of Random House, from Lauren Abramo of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares seared the earth and mankind fell to disease. THE KILL ORDER tells the story of that fall. “The prequel is something that has churned in my mind since before The Maze Runner was even complete. It’s been hard to keep it a secret! I’m excited to finally share the news and I can’t wait for my readers to see how it all began,” shared Dashner. Since the inception of the series, fans have clamored to know more. THE KILL ORDER will answer their most burning questions.

There are currently one million copies of The Maze Runner books in print. All three volumes have been New York Timesbestsellers. On October 11th the riveting conclusion, The Death Cure, was published and became an instant bestseller. In the novel, the truth behind WICKED was finally and thrillingly revealed. The first volume in the series, The Maze Runner, was published in October 2009 to both great anticipation and critical acclaim. Packed with intrigue and action, The Maze Runner was a hit upon publication, becoming a standout in the dystopian genre which has since exploded in popularity among young adult readers. The sequel, The Scorch Trials,followed in October 2010, with the story picking up a mere four hours after The Maze Runner left off. The heart-stopping sequel brought further acclaim and a widening fan base to the series.

James Dashner is also the author of the 13th Reality series. James was born and raised in Georgia, but now lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. Visit him at http://www.jamesdashner.com or follow him on Twitter (@jamesdashner).

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The cover has yet to be revealed, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated!