Book Review: The Rule of Three, by Eric Walters

Image courtesy of Goodreads
Image courtesy of Goodreads

The Rule of Three

Eric Walters

Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Hardcover, 416 pages

Expected Publication date: January 21, 2014



Novel provided for review courtesy of NETGALLEY

One shocking afternoon, computers around the globe shut down in a viral catastrophe. At sixteen-year-old Adam Daley’s high school, the problem first seems to be a typical electrical outage, until students discover that cell phones are down, municipal utilities are failing, and a few computer-free cars like Adam’s are the only vehicles that function. Driving home, Adam encounters a storm tide of anger and fear as the region becomes paralyzed. Soon—as resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends—he will see his suburban neighborhood band together for protection. And Adam will understand that having a police captain for a mother and a retired government spy living next door are not just the facts of his life but the keys to his survival.

Let me begin by saying that I love the premise of this novel.  As far as Young Adult literature goes, this is an interesting and fresh take on a popular apocalyptic scenario.  The writing is sharp and for the most part the dialogue is realistic and engaging.

The book begins with an introduction to the main character, Adam Daley, and his best friend Todd.  We get a quick introduction to Adam’s character and maturity as the catastrophic electrical outage happens fairly soon into the story, and things unravel quickly from there.

Here is where my main problem with this book comes in; shortly after the electrical outage happens, there lacks questions and answers about what the government-wide response might be to such a disaster.  For me, that’s a big part of my interest in these types of scenarios – how the government tries and often fails to provide for society and maintain order.  This is what so often leads to the major challenges and plot twists faced by characters in these situations.  A feeling of betrayal by a failed government response to step in could have really fueled the fight for survival, and contributed to the characters feeling compelled to make tough choices in life or death scenarios.  I felt like this novel kind of glossed over that part and jumped right into the struggle to survive.  This is not a major problem, as the struggle is the main point of the novel, but personally it left me with some unanswered questions.

Moving forward, the story develops at a good pace and the action is realistic.  Adam is a likeable main character, and I love that he is a pilot.  It adds lots of excitement to the story and options for survival scenarios, not to mention juicy action sequences!  Plus it’s a different twist for young adult readers; Adam is a bit bad-ass but in a really cool and good kind of way.

The other downside to this novel is, I felt, a lack of development to Adam’s relationships with the people around him.  There was some good tension with a few characters, but again I felt like a lot was left unanswered.  But, that might just be a big door open into a sequel, which I think would be a great idea because there are still lots of places for this story to go.

Overall, a great YA book and I think many adults would enjoy it too.  4 / 5 stars!


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