Thursday, November 24, 2022

Fourth Dimension

Walters, Eric. Fourth Dimension (Rule of Three #4)
February 6, 2018 by Penguin Teen Canada
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!

Ms. Yingling


  1. I'm going to check out this series, My youngest is entering a stage where books are harder to find for him in middle school and this might just be a winner for him. Thanks!

  2. Canuck here, so absolutely thrilled to find Eric Walters profiled on your website! Thanks for reminding me to read more adventure books. I'm usually up to my neck in SFF, which is a pretty great place to be, but still.