Book Reviews

Book Review: The Rule of Three by Eric Walters


One ordinary afternoon, every single machine in sixteen-year-old Adam’s high school computer lab stops working. At first the problem seems to be an electrical outage, but it quickly becomes apparent that it is far more serious. Outside, cars won’t start, phones are down, and a blackout is widespread. Adam is surprised to find that his ancient, cyber-free car is one of the only vehicles to function. And he senses a rising storm tide of anger and fear as he drives home past hundreds of stranded motorists.

Soon Adam will discover that the problem has paralyzed not just his town but the whole region if not the whole country and beyond. Soon—as resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends—he will see that his suburban neighborhood must band together for protection. Soon violence will erupt and Adam will understand that having a police captain for a mother and a retired government agent living next door are not just the facts of his life but the keys to his survival.

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My Thoughts

The Rule of Three by Eric Walters was our most recent read-aloud story for my boys.

First thing I’m going to say, it was a bit more violent then something I would normally have picked for my younger son. He handled it fine and I checked in with him about it a few times, he was just so thrilled that I read a book that had guns and survival in it. Not something I would normally recommend for middle graders, but by the time I realized just how intense it was going to get, we were well into the book and the boys were really into it. I made the decision to let it go and just read it anyway, skipping over a few details here and there as I read.

My 12-year-old called this his “favourite book ever” and can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

The story is gripping and intense. The research that Walters did to write it is evident. Even my husband didn’t want to miss a night of reading. The story is a really good, fast-paced, action-packed, edge-of-your-seat adventure.

Walters specializes in writing novels for boys of all ages. As a teacher, he decided to write the stories boys in his classes would read. This is definitely more for the YA crowd however.

The only drawback, and I find this with many of Walters’ novels, is the over-use of the word “said”. As a writer, I can reason out that his books are plot-driven so characterization takes a back-seat. Most of his readers are more reluctant readers so a lot of time on character development is not something that holds their interest. Plus, The Rule of Three is over 400 pages long, making that already daunting for a semi-reluctant reader, adding in solid characterization is the addition of a lot of words. (I say semi-reluctant because it’s not marketed as a book for reluctant readers by any means, but it is targeted to keep the reader interested with zero fluff. The focus is on the plot.) However, reading it out loud, almost every line of dialogue has “he/she said” and there is a ton of dialogue! As much as the word “said” is supposed to disappear and be un-intrusive to the reader, it had an opposite affect when reading aloud, and I grew frustrated.

Besides that however, I recommend The Rule of Three for a young adult audience. It is believable, high-flying, and energetic.

This is an unsolicited review, I purchased this book from a local book store.

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill Canada; Int edition (Jan. 13 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143187523

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