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The Rule of Three

Fourth Dimension

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In a world with no power, chaos soon descends. A powerful look at the disintegration of society in the wake of a massive and mysterious outage that has knocked out all modern amenities.

Fifteen-year-old Emma has moved house with her ex-Marine mother and younger brother. It's a brand-new condo building, which explains the semi-regular power outages, as workers complete the units around them. So Emma isn't particularly concerned when the latest blackout hits just as they are preparing to leave town on a long weekend camping trip. But then the car won't start, and their cellphones appear dead -- and all the cars outside their building seem to be stalled in a long traffic jam ...

In the midst of what appears to be a massive power outage, with their camping gear packed and ready, Emma and her family canoe over to the islands, just offshore, to wait it out. But while they land on an isolated island, with a relatively hidden site, they are far from safe, as people become increasingly desperate to find food and shelter. And as the days pass, and the power remains out, the threat of violence becomes all too real.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published February 6, 2018

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About the author

Eric Walters

144 books849 followers
Eric was born in Toronto in 1957, which makes him "real old". But, as Eric says, "Just because I have to grow old doesn't mean that I have to grow up!" In his many roles as parent, teacher, social worker, youth sports coach and writer he is in constant contact with children and young adults. He draws from these experiences and feels that this helps him to capture the realistic interaction between young people - the conflicts, tensions, stresses and interests that make up their lives.

Eric began his writing as a teacher. He taught in classes from kindergarten up and his stories often reflect the curriculum that he was teaching. He always read stories - picture books and novels - to his students and this helped him to understand what children liked, responded to, and were inspired by. He enjoys the enthusiasm of his students and often looks at them to provide him with the inspiration to pursue a particular topic in both the classroom and in his writing.

Eric tries to write every day. When he has a story idea he starts with research. This could involve reading books, watching a documentary, or trying to experience the things that his characters are going to go through. This could include rock climbing or riding white water (for STARS), spending time in a wheelchair (Rebound), playing and walking with tigers (Tiger By The Tail), hanging around a tough biker bar (Diamonds in the Rough), standing out in his backyard in a blizzard wearing a T-shirt and shorts (Trapped In Ice), or traveling to Africa (Alexandria of Africa).

"The most important thing anybody ever told me about writing was to write what you know . . . and the only way to get to know things is to do your homework and research before you write," Eric stated.

Once the writing begins the story is always playing around in his head. He takes any opportunity, even if it's just a few minutes between presentations, to put things down, either with pen and paper or on his laptop.

Prior to entering teaching and writing Eric was a social worker (B.S.W., M.S.W., B.A.Hons - specialized major psychology). He worked in a variety of settings including child welfare, private practice, a mental health centre, and, for twenty years on a part-time basis as a Crisis Social Worker in an emergency department. He stopped teaching 4 years ago and left the ER only last year.

The majority of Eric's time is spent in the company of his wife, children and dogs (Lola a big standard poodle and a little white dog named Winnie The Poodle).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 86 reviews
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
February 3, 2018
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

15-year-old Emma was only supposed to go on a camping trip over the weekend for "quality time" with her ex-Marine mother and younger brother. Then the power went out, cars stopped working and cell phones became bricks. Far from her deployed father and their Marine friends they indefinitely hide out on the islands in the bay. As people become desperate to find food and shelter, the threat of violence becomes all too real.

The short review...

Before anyone crucifies me for my rating, this is a middle grade book. Actually its one of those annoying ones that verges on YA too. These are hard to review properly because they don't meet YA criteria but they have themes and situations that are above middle grade. I always consider these middle grade!

For a middle grade book this is excellent! Emma started out so bratty that I did consider DNFing but with the dangerous situation they are in she quickly become the one her mother relies on. It was just so realistic, that was what I liked about it the most. I know middle grade kids would enjoy this and even teens who want to read about being a marine. The journey of Emma growing from a self absorbed teenager to a respectful and responsible young adult is engaging and powerful. I kept thinking that I would have become a dystopian fan way earlier if they had these books when I was a young teen!!

I appreciated that her ex-Marine mother wasn't eliminated but was incorporated and necessary for the story. That her role was to teach Emma so that when her daughter got into situations the girl could choose to act! The setting was used expertly to create a unique environment where a Marine's knowledge could be used yet a teenager could provide ideas needed to adapt quickly to the different situations. Adults may not enjoy this as much because there wasn't a single outrageously fantastical thing that happened in the book (compared to typical YA fare this felt more tame).

Cover & Title grade -> A-

I quite like this cover. It's what drew me to reading the premise! I do wish it reflected the setting a little better, especially near the bottom of the cover where clearly showing they were on a forested island would have better suited the story. It does appear one is standing on a distant shore and looking at the city, but the telephone pole gives mixed messages. I quite loved the title and actually raised the cover rating from a B+ to an A- because it suited the story absolutely perfect!

Why were the realistic aspects so dynamite?

Emma's mother felt like a marine!
This was a totally essential aspect of the story. In this lawless situation law enforcement and military personal and family are the most likely to survive because they have skills. Giving characters the back history without the actual means makes for a contrived story... but Emma's mom had all the survival skills and weapons knowledge that are part and parcel of being a Marine! She also had strategy and tactical knowledge that was the REAL clincher for both authenticity's sake and for the powerhouse plot.

They had to earn each safe port!
Have you ever read a dystopian where the protagonists happens to find a safe place and then there is all this internal conflict? Yes, well so have I, and its so contrived! People who are in relatively safe positions wouldn't just allow anyone to enter, unless there was a reason to. I loved how Emma's mother being a marine started them out safe for the moment, but that it wasn't easy and they had to wait and bide their time. They had to take advantage of situations, risk with people and barter for their services. And each time they thought they'd gotten safer... the problems also became bigger!

Emma's journey suited a 15 year old!
This is a pretty controversial fact, but as a 15 year old Emma is pretty helpless. Normally in YA books we show a teen acting like a 30 year old with 30 years of experience in life and able to beat out adults. Instead of Emma playing this unrealistic role, she acted her age!

Emma listened to her mother and relied on her Marine training. She had a bow and arrows and stuck to them (because she'd been taught them earlier). When they got into sticky situations Emma took the initiative (like a young person would) but also looked to her mother to do her part. She asked questions to understand why her mother was taking the actions she was for their family. And she thought about what was said and shared her own ideas. It wasn't Emma saving the world, but it was Emma making her contribution to her own survival.

As a Writer...

Originally I was going to score this a little differently but changed my mind. This is a really solid story, I rooted for Emma and enjoyed her journey. The writing style was good. The pacing was more realistic that most dystopian books. The world building was just enough for the story... the setting used so well by the plot. I quite believed reasonings behind actions and the characters felt real.

So why are the ratings split 50/50 between like and dislike? As readers of YA fiction we don't really want to be reading about reality. We want the main character to be the center of the world and everything that can and will to happen to them. We want to avoid the tame and skirt the boring. We want POW! We want a flaming high kick! This is free of that fantastical injection. It doesn't make it bad, it makes it realistic.

Emma is a 15 year old who has realized that her safe and insulated world is gone, probably for good. Now she's a young adult who has to play a part in her own survival. She isn't freaking out, she's a Marine's daughter and they listen, learn and take action! If that sounds good, then you'll want to read this book.

⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building

BOTTOM LINE: Great if you want to read about being a Marine in a dystopian world!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions.

You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...
Profile Image for A Book Shrew.
578 reviews127 followers
May 18, 2021
This book attracted me with a great premise, but lost me once it fell into the rut that made me stop watching The Walking Dead: holy repetitiveness.

Full review at A Book Shrew

I've never read Eric Walters before, but the premise of this kind of apocalyptic world sounded so promising. In the end, I was left underwhelmed, bored and disconnected. I was left with several questions that didn't leave a feeling of satisfaction in finishing. For instance, we never learn what caused the loss of power to the world. The central theme of the book, and it is never answered. After I started reading this, I learned that this is some sort of companion novel to a trilogy that is centred in the same world. Maybe that one answers what happened, but the lack of an answer in this one really irked me when I hit that last page. Not only that, but the way this story ended was so abrupt and peculiar that I was really left disappointed.

Considering there was no power, and the world was going to hell, I didn't get a sense of what should have been high stakes. In the beginning I definitely got that vibe of the world falling apart and the worry that came with that, but it lasted about a quarter of the way through the book. What killed that vibe was the main character Emma's mother, and the general ... convenience of how things worked out for them as a family. Ellen is a former marine, and her attitude rubbed me the wrong way. She had an answer for everything: how to get clean water, food, travelling around. There was no challenge to their survival. Even when dealing with other groups of survivors, her demeanour came across as a mix of passive and manipulative. "Now I know this is your place, and we want in, but we're not going to come out and say that, but you need to defend it, but I'm not going to tell you how, because this is your community, but I have ideas. But I won't tell you, because it's not my place." Over and over.

In keeping with such high stakes and danger, I felt very little connection to the other people in the story. They were mainly strangers to Emma that she saw in passing, and that translated to me. They had no names, no important role. They suffered, they died, and I felt nothing. Emma remarked on it in no heavy terms, and as such it went right over my head. Even with the people Emma did care about that died, I gave no thought to them. Mainly because I couldn't remember who on earth they were.

As I mentioned earlier, I stopped watching The Walking Dead because it got far too repetitive. The creativity was gone after the first few seasons. There are only so many zombie attacks and battles with other communities you can sit through before it gets boring. The same goes for this story. It fell into a pattern of attack, defend, peace for a bit, meet a new group, repeat. The creativity was lost once I got halfway through, which was disappointing.

On a side note, I finally understand how annoying it is for a reader when there is an abundance of exclamation marks on a single page. :)

This could have been great. The writing was nice, as was the imagery, but the plot events and the characters left me wanting more.

Profile Image for Britt.
429 reviews40 followers
November 19, 2017
I received an ARC copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
DNF @ 35%
Meh. This book has an interesting concept and I'm disappointed it wasn't better. It's not like the writing was bad—in particular, the descriptive imagery in this book was excellent—but after awhile the repetitiveness of the plot became very boring. That, and I couldn't really stand the main character, Emma. She was such a brat! Any sort of connection I had with her instantly went downhill when
Anyway, unfortunately, I was not a huge fan of this one.
Profile Image for Stephanie Tiner.
259 reviews41 followers
August 23, 2018
Fifteen-year-old Emma just moved to a new city with her mother and her little brother. Their apartment building is still under construction, so regular power outages are not uncommon. When the power goes out just as they are leaving for a weekend camping trip, they don’t think much of it. That is until their car won’t start and their cell phones die. Not to mention all of the cars that are no longer working, parked on the road outside their building.
Since they are already packed for their trip, Emma’s ex-marine mother decides they will take their gear and canoe to a small, uninhabited island. As the outage continues, people become desperate and suddenly things are far from safe as the threat of violence increases.
What would happen if suddenly the things that you use and count on everyday suddenly quit working? Would you know how to get food and water? How to build a fire?
Personally, I am not the biggest fan of post-apocalyptic fiction. They’re so realistic. This novel, however, I found to be a great read that helped highlight our dependence on modern technology and convenience. When the power mysteriously quits working, the citizens in Emma’s new city home don’t handle it well because very few of them have the knowledge that allows them to survive without it. The longer the power remains out, the more desperate everyone becomes, bringing out the strengths and the weaknesses of each individual, as well as, bringing out the worst in them.
The setting allowed me, as the reader, to envision this happening nearly anywhere. Usually being able to imagine this sort of scenario in my own backyard would be one of the reasons I would not have enjoyed this novel but for some reason that was not the case here.
Reading this novel made me extremely thankful to family and friends who taught me how to grow food, build fires and shelters, and purify water throughout the years.
This book is listed, on Goodreads, as the fourth book in The Power of Three series by Eric Walters. However, since the main character shifts for this installment, I was able to read it without any difficulty or confusion. The author himself has informed me that the fourth book can be read without reading the first three.
I was happily surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel and would give it four out of five stars.
I would recommend this novel to fans of post-apocalyptic fiction such as The Road.
I won my copy of this novel on LibraryThing.com for the sole purpose of providing an honest review.
Profile Image for Megan.
697 reviews
January 17, 2019
This is a great dystopian teen read. It is a stand alone companion to the Rule of Thre3 series, which I now may go back and read. I really liked how this appeals to not only the dystopian fans but also the adventure fiction crowd. I’ve already recommended this to students and this is one of my Red Maple favourites this year.
Profile Image for Libby May.
Author 3 books85 followers
December 24, 2018
So I didn't really enjoy this book.

Plot: the plot was ok. Sort of shallow and predictable. I don't even know what the point of this book was.

The Characters: the characters were ok. Emma had a sickening attitude in the beginning and she changed so hard towards the book that I didn't really feel like she was even the same person. But I guess it's possible considering what she and her family went through.
Ethan was cute, but I don't exactly know what his point was, just to be a younger sibling?
Ellen, Sam, and The Colonel were my favorite characters. Sam, because... I just liked him from the beginning. Besides these three, I felt like none of the characters were properly developed and never really got to know them that much.
Violence: there was a loooooot of violence and killing in this book, and it was fairly graphic I think. I wouldn't recommend this book at all really, it's a waste of time of my personal opinion. But if you want to read it probably 15 years old.
Language: it was clean. I don't remember even one instance of bad language but I wasn't doing a content read so I might have missed a couple.
Romance: Emma crushes on a boy named Willow but there was nothing bad at all. They didn't even kiss. One hug, and they held hands. That's all.
Three stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Profile Image for CynthiaA.
713 reviews28 followers
February 22, 2018
So I've read a few Eric Walters before, but none of his Rule of Three series. This book is set in the same 'world' as the Rule of Three series, but is not a part of that series. Or so I understand. It's post apocalyptic, although what actually happened is never explained. Other than that, it stands alone quite well, I didn't feel like I was missing anything.

The story itself is good, engaging and fast paced, the heroes are very heroic, the villains are very evil. I read it quickly and enjoyed it. It seems to be the beginning of a new series as its ending left lots of room for more.
Profile Image for P.M..
1,218 reviews
March 1, 2018
This is a return to The Rule of Three universe which has been one of my favorites. I just love those breakdown of society novels although I wouldn't care to live there. It was a little unreal that all the adults listened to Emma and followed her suggestions but I can ignore that. I just like see to see women and girls as the leaders and strong characters. I eagerly await the next installment.
Profile Image for Amie's Book Reviews.
1,502 reviews163 followers
Want to read
February 28, 2021
As usual, Eric Walters has hit it out of the park with THE FOURTH DIMENSION. This Canadian Author is a master of character driven fiction.

5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Profile Image for Susan B.
308 reviews10 followers
February 1, 2018
If only I could choose 2.5 stars.

I wanted to like this book. I've read other books by Eric Walters (though none of the Rule of Three series for which this title is a companion) and I like him as an author and as a human being. Unfortunately, while he had an interesting premise here, the writing seems flat and one-dimensional. As other reviewers have said, the most likable characters are Emma's mother and Chris, a resident of Ward's Island (on which the majority of the action is set). There is nothing to really draw the reader to Emma's side as the protagonist and it seems pretty incredible that she comes to play such a significant role in the community's survival. She's a Katniss wannabee, and that the skilled Marine leaders find her ideas more brilliant than their own is just unbelievable.

That being said, a look at the ratings for Walters' other titles in the series shows the original trilogy is well thought of. I would like to try one and see how it compares. It may be that Walters tried to milk the story in order to write about a female protagonist when he should have quit while he was ahead.

Full disclosure: I won this book in a Goodreads 'First Reads' giveaway and despite the less than stellar review, I'm most appreciative to have had the opportunity to read it.
Profile Image for Lori.
190 reviews14 followers
February 18, 2018
DNF'd at 25%. I just couldn't do it.

Soon after her parents divorce, Emma and her brother, Ethan, move with their mother to the city. As an ex-Marine, their mother's idea of a fun family outing is a camping trip on the island across the water at the edge of the city. Power within the city suddenly shuts down. Cars no longer run. Cellphones lose their ability to turn on. Suddenly, Emma's mother decides this camping trip is a necessity. Within the isolation of their camp, Emma and her family begin to witness humanity descend into a craze as the need to survive overpowers all sense of morality. Emma learns there's more to people than she ever realized.

This story had a lot of promise. I wish it lived up to it, as it easily could have. The author made some mistakes that really turned a good story into a grueling task to finish.

1) The story is told through dialogue. Instead of using descriptive words or world-building, the author just uses dialogue to introduce things. He has his characters state the obvious with each other, rather than penning information in a more creative sense. Example:
(What the book really said.) "'Oh, the door was kicked open.' He said."
(What it should have said.) "As we reached the landing, I noticed the door was hanging loosely on one hinge. Splintered wood covered the floor, announcing the desperation of the intruder."
Which one is more fun for you to read? Dialogue is important, but it should not be the main component of a book.

2) Why does every character think the same? We can place every person the main character meets into two simple boxes. Those who are smart, carry a gun, and haven't descended into madness. Those that are not longer rational, do not carry their gun in a concealed fashion, and have zero rational thoughts. Sure this method is great, it helps establish what people act like in chaos. The problem here, is that within these boxes, there needs to be some variation. Why do they all talk and think exactly the same. Why do all of the sane characters always have to say, "I see you're carrying a gun." Opinions on guns aside, it was annoying. We don't need every character pointing out that the main character is carrying. If we are going to use a lot of dialogue, let's make it dynamic and actually entertaining or thought provoking, yes?

3) It's hard to identify the intended audience. This goes along with the points above. The writing is so elementary with the overuse of dialogue and the "We did this. We did that." scheme that it reads like a middle grade. The content is far more suited for an older audience, therefore it really isn't a middle grade though. The main character suggests it's meant to be a YA. but the writing is too much of a bore for that age group. In actuality, I vote that the language should be matured, and the story should be told from the perspective of the Marine. I'd be far more intrigued to hear what she's thinking, than hearing about how some whiny teenager can't text her best friend. The author missed the chance for a truly great book in putting the story in Emma's perspective.

I really wish I liked this book. It had such a promising premise. Unfortunately, it was an extreme let-down. If this premise sounded interesting to you, there are far better books to sate your interest. Try The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Looking for a YA novel instead? Try Station 11 by Emily St. john Mandel. These were remarkable reads that better explore the ideas in this book, and then some.
3 reviews1 follower
July 20, 2018
I took my time reading this, it isn't a difficult read. It's a pretty good book and almost like a soap opera in the technique of revealing information. The title and fourth dimension as a psychological perspective kind of bothers me, but I found a way to go with it.
Profile Image for Teri.
Author 5 books143 followers
January 11, 2018
This book starts out with a lot of potential.  The family dynamics between Emma, her mother, and her brother are realistic and amusing, and the imagery is vivid.  Once the power goes out, the situation deteriorates rapidly and as an ER nurse and former Marine, Emma's mother is well-trained to handle their situation.  She's a force to be reckoned with.

Shortly after, the story loses its luster.  Everything that happens - the people they meet and their occupations, the supplies they come across - is just a little too convenient and unrealistic.  The plot becomes somewhat repetitive and I skimmed through several pages toward the end.  Which I'm not sure it was.  The closer I got to the end, it became clear nothing would be resolved.  Maybe there's a sequel?

Although an intriguing concept, this book fell flat for me, but other post-apocalyptic fans may feel differently.  

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Profile Image for Ms. Yingling.
1,222 reviews492 followers
November 12, 2022
Ohio Digital Library Copy

Emma and Ethan have had to move to a condo in the city after their mother, a former Marine and a nurse, and father divorce. Ethan likes their new home, but Emma does not, and complains about everything, even when her mother plans a fun family camping trip. This all becomes inconsequential when all the power goes out and the city erupts in chaos. Luckily, the family has a canoe in their storage unit and manage to get out of the city and camp on an island until they can figure out what's going on. They do come back briefly to grab supplies, but their apartment has been looted and they go quickly back. They've run into a few other people in their journey. Some, like Jimmie and Johnny are evil and trying to profit from the situation, but others, like Sam and his grandmother Chris on Ward's Island, who try to help. Ward's Island looks somewhat appealing, since it is an artsy community with some solar power and land for crops, but Ellen is wary of how well the area is protective from marauding hordes. The family soon joins up with three couples, one with a baby, who are living on a newarby island under picnic tables. They build makeshift shelters and eat a lot of fish, and when Ellen helps Ward's Island when it comes under attack, she and her group are asked to join. They do, taking over the cottage of a resident who was killed. The town thinks that they will be safe, even after many were killed in the attack, but Ellen takes them in hand and tries to get them to fortify the area and pool their resources. Emma makes friends with Willow, and the two come up with some ideas to make it look like the island is more heavily guarded than it is. This proves to be successful and saves them some grief. It also brings them to the attention of a community of veterans who have settled in the nearby airport. The two groups trade resources, and eventually the residents of Ward's Island move onto the airport site. When Adam, Lori, and Herb arrive from Eden Hills in Mustang airplanes, the groups all realize that there is a lot more danger in the world than they can imagine. The Division, a group of paramilitary sorts bent on taking over everything, has their eyes on the airport. Can everyone work together to keep the communities safe?
Strengths: The Rule of Three and its sequels (Fight for Power and Will to Survive) have been HUGELY popular in my library. I have three very worn out copies, and it has fans that range from avid 8th grade boys to reluctant readers who love the story so much they aren't daunted by the length. There's something vastly appealing about a dystopia where survival is possible if difficult. Emma learns a lot of new skills and quickly learns that complaining doesn't help matters. Her mother is beyond awesome, with her no nonsense attitude and plethora of top notch skills. I love that the men never question her ability to lead. There's a lot of intrigue, and eventually seeing Herb and Adam was fantastic. There is a fifth book being written, and I absolutely can't wait.
Weaknesses: I could have done with a little less of the attacks and a little more of the nitty gritty of survival, but that's just me. If I want that, I can always reread Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It (2007), where my favorite part was that the electricity would come on sporadically and the characters would rush to do laundry!
What I really think: I absolutely cannot wait for the fifth book! I'm not sure how I missed this fourth volume, other than perhaps it was marketed primarily in Canada. Walters does so many different kinds of books, and they are all good, so I will be paying closer attention from now on!
Profile Image for Wendy.
2,318 reviews40 followers
February 4, 2018
In “Fourth Dimension” a thrilling addition to the “Rule of Three” series fifteen-year-old Emma troubled by her parents’ divorce and the move into a new condo overlooking the lake is resentful about going with her mother and brother on a weekend camping trip. But when a massive power outrage strikes the city and their car won’t start she has little choice but to help paddle their canoe to a small secluded island, setting up camp away from prying eyes on the water.

Well-written and intriguing, intensity and suspense heat up as the days pass and Emma and her mother realize that to survive they must join a larger self-sufficient community, gravitating to Ward’s Island where they’ve made friends with Sam a security guard and his generous and caring mother Chris. The danger quickly ignites when the island’s attacked, houses looted, and residents killed only to have Emma’s mother a nurse and tough ex-marine who’s resented by some of the quirky and artistic islanders, stepping in and taking over security, creating an illusion to divert further raids. But as society breaks down and the violence on shore escalates the civilized world they once knew quickly crumbles becoming a “Fourth Dimension” where any sense of humanity is quickly disappearing and only with determination and resourcefulness can they hope to survive.

The action never slows as Emma, her brother, her mother Ellen and the islanders struggle to survive in an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear with ruthless increasing attacks from militants in the city. Skillfully Eric Walters rouses emotional intensity as the islanders not only rally around Ellen as the danger multiplies and she struggles to keep her children away from the violence, but also as Emma learns to appreciate her family and put aside her scruples when called on to protect them. Enlarging the scope of this gripping tale as it flows quickly and smoothly to an explosive climax are background details about the island and its eccentric population as well as characters and incidents from the “Rule of Three” series.

Emma a loner who’s troubled by her separation from her father and her friends is resentful and snarky, furious with her mother and cross with her brother Ethan. Yet a smart girl who’s calm under pressure, she quickly adapts to the situation becoming protective of her brother and valuing her mother. As the central focus of this story although unrealistic because of her age she’s often called into decision- making meetings providing strategic input to the discussions. In contrast eleven-year-old Ethan has a positive attitude, easily makes friends and is fun-loving just as her friend Willow is funny, good-natured and self-sacrificing in his need to keep Emma safe. Ellen, Emma’s mother a skilled and tough former Marine is confident, controlled and duty-oriented as well as highly respected by military leadership and the islanders. It is these characters and a host of others that infuse this story with excitement, depth and high energy as they face one deadly conflict after another in an often tenuous struggle to survive on Ward’s Island.

I thoroughly enjoyed “Fourth Dimension” as Eric Walters sweeps you into another suspenseful page-turner you can’t put down until finished. This is a series I expect will get better with each new adventure.
4 reviews
April 9, 2018
Emma is about to leave for a camping trip with her mother and brother when a power outage seems to freeze everything in place. Cars won't start, phones won't power on, and lights won't work. The only things still running seem to be machines and old vehicles that don't have internal computers. They decide to go anyways and take a boat to an island where the family sets up camp. As the days go on, people get more panicked and the city gets much more dangerous. Emma and her family have to find a way to survive in the increasingly violent powerless world, or they will become just another few casualties out of the millions who have already died.

This book, a spin-off of the Rule of Three books, tells the tale of Emma during the same time period as the first Rule of Three book takes place in. Eric Walters is very adept at writing descriptions of the surroundings and explaining to the reader what is happening in great detail. The characters were well thought out and had their own unique personalities. I did tend to get annoyed at Emma, however, as she could be a big jerk to her brother. She ridiculed him quite a lot at the beginning of the book, even though it seemed like he had done nothing at all to her. This made me almost immediately dislike her. I did get over it when she began to grow up because of her situation, but I don't think a book should start you off with a dislike for the main character. This book was also a little dull in comparison to the original books. I don't mean to say it was bad by any means. It certainly had its moments, but in all, it wasn't quite as good as I was hoping.

This book and its predecessors are very good reads for older middle school students and young adults. They have their fair share of relatively detailed fight scenes with death and dark themes, but they aren't unnecessarily gory. The books also have a lot of what I would call side details that make the book more interesting to teens by giving them deeper things to think about as the books go on.
Profile Image for Amy.
232 reviews
March 16, 2018
The premise of this book intrigued and excited me, so I was excited to receive my copy and begin reading it. It started off good - it went right into the action, with the power going out within a few pages of the book beginning. I even enjoyed the adventure that Emma and her family go on.

For some reason, this book just came up short for me. I don't know if it was the character development - I found the characters that Emma and her family meet along the way to be quite convenient. With each new person, they advance their standing in the new world and find themselves in a very comfortable spot. While this advanced the story, I just didn't feel it was very realistic.

The book was also very dialogue-heavy. This advanced the plot quickly, but I found it limited how much I got to know Emma as a person. I wanted to see more from her in her development throughout the book. Even in the development of her relationships. I will say that I enjoyed the evolution of her relationship with her mother, but aside from that relationship, I didn't feel much from the others she created in this book.

And then there was that ending... without spoiling it for you, let me just say that for me, it was very anticlimactic. I was ready for something big and exciting, and was left feeling disappointed.

I give this book three stars for the world that Eric Walters has created (although I would love to know WHY the power went out - for being in this situation, the people in it didn't seem to wonder about that much) and for the relationship between Emma and her mother, which I really appreciated.

**Thank you to Penguin Books for sending me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for S.M. Pearce.
Author 2 books9 followers
December 28, 2018
I really loved this spin off! It was fantastic to see more of the Rule of Three world, and the book kept me turning page after page!

Emma’s character was a great protagonist! I was sure about her at the start, but she grew a lot to protect her family and community. She quickly learned her priorities and worked for them, learning how to better defend her family and think up strategies for everyone’s protection/safety against attacks. I liked the pretend army idea a lot, it worked well with the kinds of people and equipment available, and while it wasn’t a permanent solution by any means, it was tactful thinking!

I found the plot intriguing, and it was great to read about how the communities and people all interacted/were changed by the situation.

I loved how this book connected to the Rule of Three characters at the end, it was a great contribution to the story! I’d love to see more about this world if there are any future, especially now with both communities and characters connected!

One tiny thing bugged me a little—it was just toward the very end when Wilson was giving the walkie talkie orders. I found it over explained a bit about the signal of when it was fake/real orders, like they had to mention it each time.

Overall this was another amazing read, and I really hope we get to see more! I highly recommend to any lovers of YA dystopian! 😁
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
3 reviews
December 15, 2019
When I first started the book I was very confused with the setting and the characters who were introduced. Emma had moved into a house with her ex-military brother and her younger brother. They are living in a new condo building and this caused somewhat regular power outages. The family isn't really concerned when the most recent blackout happens because they are going on a family camping trip. They start getting scared when their phones die and their car won't start. This part confused me because I could not imagine what type of warfare or apocalypse would have to happen for this terrifying thing to happen.
This book answers the question what it means to be American by showing the unity the family has when the hard times come and this is what our country does when bad things happen such as when 911 happened. The country was united as one instead of all being sad together they all came together to create one big family.
“We have each other,” I said. “We’re here to take care of each other” (Walters 57). I feel as if this quote shows how love is used throughout the novel and how the characters care for each-other. This goes with the essential question of what it means to be American.

Profile Image for Linda .
3,659 reviews40 followers
September 11, 2019
That same mysterious outage that has rendered useless all recent computer-driven devices (cars, phones, etc.) is the same as the first three, but this time, it's in a different place, with a new family as the main protagonists, especially Emma, fifteen. She has just moved with her ex-Marine mother and younger brother, Ethan. It's a brand-new condo building and near a lake with islands. They're used to periodic black-outs, but on their way to a weekend camping trip, the power still is not back. Thus begins their survival, taking all belongings possible, including a canoe, for first a few days camping, but with stress increasing as they realize how serious it's going to be.
They eventually end up joining a larger community, an interesting group including all kinds of people, and the challenge to create a group that will fight to survive is one of many challenges. I read through it rather quickly, was not as intrigued by this particular set of characters as I was in the earlier books. It is perhaps because no matter the different community, I knew what kind of things were going to happen.
Profile Image for Mrs. Kenyon.
1,217 reviews24 followers
January 10, 2018
Emma is used to moving, that is what happens when you are a military brat. Now her mother has her moving again, but not because of the military. There is a lot of construction happening in her building and Emma isn’t really concerned when the power goes out. Her family is ready to leave on their camping trip, so they adjust their plans a little and kayak to a small island nearby. As the days progress they continue to wonder how long the power will be out. Can they stay hidden from the people nearby? What violence may be in their future?

Fourth Dimension is the fourth book in The Rule of Three series. It is not a direct sequel; I would consider it more of a companion novel. The events in this story run parallel to the first three books in the series. Some of the characters from these original books have cameo appearances in this novel, but readers can read this book and enjoy it without having read any of the other books. A fun read and I can’t wait to see where the story might go next.
Profile Image for Zu Reviews.
165 reviews
June 8, 2020
There was a lot that was refreshing about this story. Emma wasn't too busy trying to start an impractical romance during the apocalypse for one thing. There was a lot of tension but not a lot of drama. For some I think it would make it boring - you're never really afraid for the characters or go through heavy losses - but it's immersive. I'm reading this during the Covid 19 pandemic, so it ended up being the right mix of escapism without being tragically depressing. Might not work so well for others.

The writing style is very telling and there isn't really this overall plot were building from or resolving. It's slice of life but during an end to modern civilization. Also, don't let the title "fourth dimension" fool you. It's metaphorical, and not implying some sort of parallel dimension sci-fi twist, if that is what you were hoping for or expecting.
Profile Image for Book Nerd Shenanigans.
80 reviews3 followers
February 18, 2018
**Some spoilers** What happens when the whole world experiences a black out?! Fun premise and this story started out strong. The mother, Ellen, is a total badass and an impressive protector of her children. I liked the sometimes mean banter between the siblings as well because it rang true. It was also nice to read about a family coming together during a major crisis and focusing on each other's survival. The further along we go, though, the more obvious it is that this is wholly written for teens. A lot of very adult decisions are made by the teen characters. They come up with ideas that the adults would've thought of in a heart beat given their backgrounds and training. I'm all for a story empowering youth and showing them that they are vital, wanted, and loved but this became hard to read and even harder to believe. Good action sequences despite an enormous amount of repetitiveness in the descriptions and situations.
(Received a DRC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
February 27, 2018
This was amazing- I loved the rule of three series with Adam and Lori and I honestly enjoyed reading a whole new perspective about the apocalyptic events from Emma’s view. I hope I HOPE ERIC WALTER MAKES A SECOND BOOK!!!!! Pleaseeee.... it would be so cool that in the next book Emma’s father appears... and Emma has a certain relationship with someone. it’s about this teabags girl named Emma that moved to the big city of Toronto little did she know that her world was about to be turned upside down. No electricity nothing new that included the latest technology worked only vintage cars and vintage planes. They moved to Main Island “Centre Island” and live on ward island. It’s all about the apocalypse. I love these type of books and I honestly recommend it.
Profile Image for Heather Brown.
655 reviews11 followers
February 2, 2018
Emma and her family are some of the lucky ones. When the mass power outage hit the US, they were just getting ready for a camping trip. All they did was change the venue to the nearby islands, since they had their canoe ready to go. Emma's mom is also a former Marine medic, battle trained and prepared for anything. They're going to need all the luck and help they can get in this continuation of Eric Walters' Rule of Three series about how quickly civilized behavior breaks down when the end of the world hits.
Walters is a great writer that fills his books with energy and thrills. I love that this series has lots of strong female characters!
Profile Image for Alisha.
33 reviews2 followers
December 12, 2018
Emma is a very fearless teenager. She shows dauntless bravery and fierceness, yet somehow, I find that soothing. I feel if I could talk to her, she would be very amiable.

This book was bursting with action, with the story plot of being stuck on an island, living with limited resources, and all you want to do is go home. The life of Emma’s family drastically went from living in a condo, to not even having a roof above their heads. Who knew a canoe was so valuable?

I think Mr. Walters uses a vast array of vocabulary, and that really gives the action-sense to the book, and this book was very enjoyable to read. Great book!!
Profile Image for Renee ☔️.
121 reviews
July 19, 2020
I am now an Eric Walters fan. What a fun summer read! Told from the teenager daughter Emma's point of view, a sudden end to all things computerized or electrical (unless you can produce your own), 4th Dimension looks at a military family's reaction and handling of such an event. As food runs out, people become more desperate. They form colonies and battle it out. Emma and her mother (nurse/former marine) step up to the plate. Her mother uses her skills to help them survive. It is unfortunate that the world resorts to these skirmishes, but very plausible should this happen. Looking forward to more!
Profile Image for Taylor.
149 reviews35 followers
January 23, 2021
Ellen the almost Mary-Sue Marine, Emma the almost Mary-Sue teenager and Ethan the fisher/ostrich rider, the Williams' were the center of this story. Despite those things the book was brilliant and I actually enjoyed it more than the original three of the series. Maybe it was because of the communication, maybe it was because the background characters were a lot more fleshed out, who knows, but I liked it better. I also read it first, so if you read this one first and then read the other three, please know that it does contain spoilers! It definitely took the suspense out of the third book. But I definitely recommend it even if the first three weren't your thing.
Profile Image for Toby Craig.
90 reviews
December 8, 2022
A great book that ties in to the rule of three series.
Despite, restarting from the beginning it doesn't feel to repetitive. It feels welcome as it tells the story from a new perspective. Then of course tying in the loved hero's of rule of three was very fascinating.
The Ward Island community felt fresh. It's an entirely new crew of people who make peace. Yet they know they have to adapt in this new world. The Military base folks were also a welcome addition to see how they are in a bad situation.
Learning the story from a different side to see how people handled there joint situations was another very nice thing.
Overall I enjoyed the book very much.
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