Book Review: ‘The Fever Code’ (2016)

The short: 2.5 ✦.  Best enjoyed by fans of The Maze Runner series. Restrictions apply. Results may vary.

The long:

I’m going to be up front: I’m not a big fan of The Maze Runner series.

CONSTERNATION, UPROAR!

It’s true, it’s true. I’ve read each one, all (now) five books, and I gotta admit, it’s not the best series I’ve ever read. And Thomas is not among my favorite protagonists. But to be fair, the idea is certainly compelling, and I was just as flabbergasted as anyone with the reveal at the end of the third book about WICKED. Maze Runner is a good pulpy action story, and it’s actually a little amazing the movies have failed so hard, because the style of writing and narrative really does suit the big screen.

So all that being true, why did I read The Fever Code? Well, curiosity. I wanted to know about the Maze and how it was constructed and more about Thomas’s life at WICKED before it all went down. I was, ah, a little fuzzy on the details, it being quite a while since I read the other books. So I read the extensive wiki to understand what had happened and what would referenced in this prequel book, but much like reading No Fear Shakespeare SparkNotes for school (which, as an English major, I of course have never done this), it was merely to pass the test. I had no emotional investment in what would happen to the characters (nearly all of them die, anyway), and I didn’t like any of them enough to care about them pre-Maze. Again, it was mostly idle curiosity that carried me through (and for some books, that still isn’t enough).

I feel that if you’re going to enjoy The Fever Code, you really must be invested in the series as a whole, as this does give detailed information about WICKED life and some backstory for the characters. But it really could’ve just been a novella, or even a short story; there’s not that much substance to warrant an entire novel. And as it is, the book itself is not that long. And I had wanted information about building the Maze itself, but the hand-wavy science of how the Maze works obviously wasn’t going to withstand intense scrutiny, so it’s merely touched on. And it was interesting reading the excerpt from The Maze Runner at the end and noticing how different it is, how much . . . well, how much better written it is, despite it being older. Honestly, I think I just don’t like Dashner’s style. But that’s me! Everyone has different preferences and that’s fine~

Basically, if you love The Maze Runner series, from the titular first book to The Kill Order, you’re gonna love this one too.

Header image: The Fever Code by James Dashner, published September 27th 2016 by Delacorte Press

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