Review: Rule of Three: Fight for Power by Eric Walters

The Rule of Three: Fight for Power
Eric Walters

Farrar, Straus & Giroux
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.
Released January 20, 2015
352 pages
YA / Dystopian

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The world keeps getting darker in this second reality-based survival adventure in the Rule of Three trilogy

After sixty-six days of a catastrophic global blackout, life in the suburbs is not what it used to be for Adam and his fortified neighborhood of Eden Mills. Although an explosive clash has minimized one threat from outside the walls, Adam’s battle-hardened mentor, Herb, continues to make decisions in the name of security that are increasingly wrenching and questionable. Like his police chief mom and others, Adam will follow Herb’s lead. But when the next threat comes from an unexpected direction, nobody is ready for it. And someone is going to pay the price—because of Adam’s mistakes and mistaken trust.

I am generally a negative person. No matter how hard I try not to be or force myself to be positive, there’s still those quiet voices in the back of my head that is generally pessimistic and thinks the worst about humanity as a whole. Eric Walters gets me. He gets assuming the worst because he’d rather be surprised when something goes right. So the next time someone asks why I think so badly of humanity as a whole, I will hand them Eric Walters’ The Rule of Three series and say, “That’s why.”

Meanwhile Eric Walters will keep giving me nightmare fuel by feeding into my negativity. It’s not a very healthy relationship we have here, Eric, and yet I enjoy it all the same.

SPOILERS FOR THE RULE OF THREE AHEAD

At the end of the first book of the series, Adam has survived 66 days through a catastrophic blackout within the walls of his suburban community after having to blow up a nearby bridge to keep out a band of murderous marauders. The first book just stopped after the explosion and Fight for Power picks up seconds later as Adam and his mentor Herb land at the wreckage sight to start going through the fiery mess. What follows is a continuous roller coaster ride of successes and paranoia that made me a nervous wreck until I finished the last page.

For a brief bright second, I thought Eric was going to end Fight For Power on a high note after spending the previous 300 pages putting Adam and his friends through their paces. An event that is highly telegraphed from the beginning of the book comes to fruition and several other good things finally happen to these people as they continue to build up their community. Then there were 10 pages left and Eric decided to douse the entire thing with gasoline and light on fire spectacularly. Without giving away spoilers, I’m in complete denial about that ending. Like, serious “why wouldn’t they sleep in the basement, everyone’s chumps” type of denial.

That last bit will only make sense if you read Fight for Power and choose to be in denial alongside me until the third book in the series is released.

Fight for Power continues that too-close-to-comfort realism that makes my skin itch while at the same time being a nice change from the other the top apocalypses. Adam is a teenage boy with the occasional mood swing, but usually maintains a cool head and acknowledges he has things to learn. I enjoy watching his relationships with the adults in his life continue to grow as he takes on more responsibilities.

We also get to spend a bit more time with people outside the safety of Adam’s neighborhood walls. Seeing another version of events from the point of view of the outsiders, who are generally harmless, living in the forest within view of his neighborhood fleshes out the devastation of this world further. This is balanced out by the creeping insidious forces that start to fracture the peace within the neighborhood walls as people start getting restless.

Eric Walters’ writing lends itself to the kinetic action sequences as well as the slower meandering scenes. Even in happier moments, bleakness is creeping in at the edges as the paranoia of living in this Wild West sort of environment never strays far from Adam’s consciousness. This world continues to feel too close for comfort, and I am firmly convinced that, once civilization comes to an end, I’m going to be one of the first to die. I am not equipped to live in this type of world.

Fight for Power is a bleak look at what humanity is capable of when all the rules disappear. It continues the adventures of the honorable Adam as he tries to do what’s right while also helping his family, friends and community remain safe from a lawless world. This series continues to be a great, far more realistic look at what might become of our world one day.

 

If you want to hear more from Eric Walters himself, he stopped by Working for the Mandroid as part of his tour to discuss his advice on how to stay safe when traveling abroad here.