CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 28. . . .March 23, 2018
Fourth Dimension. (The Rule of 3).
Toronto, ON: Penguin Teen, 2018.
370 pp., hardcover & EPUB, $21.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-14-319844-4 (hc.), ISBN 978-0-14-319846-8 (EPUB).
Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.
Review by Sarah Wethered.
We went slowly down the stairwell. Dusty cement stairs meeting dusty landings dimly lit by the yellowy glow of the emergency lights. This was almost as unnerving as the parking garage – wait, would the emergency lights be working down there?
“Are all the flashlights in the car already?” I asked my mother?
“All of them except this one, she said. A beam appeared, leading from my mother’s hand and down the next flight of stairs. Sometimes having an annoying organized mother had its benefits.
“I’m just glad we weren’t in the elevator when the power went off,” my brother said.
“I think we are all glad about that,” I said.
“Mom, what would have happened if we’d been in there?” he asked.
“There’d be nothing to worry about. There’d be emergency lights in the elevator and—”
“If they were working,” I said, cutting her off.
“They would have been working,” she said. As would the emergency call box. It would have been a short time until either the power came back on or they got us out.”
“The lights have been out almost fifteen minutes,” I said.
Fourth Dimension takes place in Eric Walter’s “The Rule of 3” world where life is instantly changed when anything with a computer chip suddenly does not work. Emma, her mother Ellen, and her brother Ethan are on their way to a camping trip when their lives change forever. In an instant, their world goes dark, and only older technology without computer chips works. The family draws on Ellen’s military training and soon sets up a camp on a small island a short canoe paddle from the city. There, Emma’s family begin to create alliances, first with other small camps, then a community of artists, and finally with a community at an airport. As the family expand their network, they work with all partners to survive the inevitable attacks from the outside world.
Fourth Dimension is an action-packed story that examines what societies would develop if all the trappings of our modern society, such as modern cars, cellphones, and electricity, ceased to work. Everyone in the communities that develop must work together to provide basic necessities, such as food and protection. Ellen must draw on her military training and help teach a community of artists how to defend themselves. Emma takes on a leadership role and is given the responsibility to train the teenagers how to do guard duty.
Readers of Fourth Dimension are given many opportunities to examine how they would act in a similar situation and what moral and ethical issues would result if society as we know it ceased to exist. As Emma’s family expands their alliances and join larger and larger communities, there are larger, more complex issues to solve. The community of artists grapples with the idea of training people to shoot a gun but ultimately understand that it is necessary. Readers will want to know if the community will survive and whether there is civilization outside the fences of the airport.
I recommend Fourth Dimension to fans of “The Rule of 3” series as well as those readers who enjoy action/adventure, realistic, or post-apocalyptic stories. Emma and her mother are strong female characters who are great role models for teenage girls.
Sarah Wethered has been a teacher-librarian at New Westminster Secondary School for 18 years, and she currently lives in New Westminster, BC.
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