Fourth Dimension by Eric Walters
Published by Penguin Teen on February 6th 2018
Series: The Rule of Three #4
Genres: Adventure, Apoctalyptic, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Survival, Young Adult
Length: 384 pages Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
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In a world with no power, chaos soon descends. A powerful look at the disintegration of society in the wake of a massive and mysterious outage that has knocked out all modern amenities.
Fifteen-year-old Emma has moved house with her ex-Marine mother and younger brother. It's a brand-new condo building, which explains the semi-regular power outages, as workers complete the units around them. So Emma isn't particularly concerned when the latest blackout hits just as they are preparing to leave town on a long weekend camping trip. But then the car won't start, and their cellphones appear dead -- and all the cars outside their building seem to be stalled in a long traffic jam ...
In the midst of what appears to be a massive power outage, with their camping gear packed and ready, Emma and her family canoe over to the islands, just offshore, to wait it out. But while they land on an isolated island, with a relatively hidden site, they are far from safe, as people become increasingly desperate to find food and shelter. And as the days pass, and the power remains out, the threat of violence becomes all too real.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from LibraryThing Early Reviewers and Penguin Teen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Fourth Dimension tells the story of a small Marine family trying to survive after a complete technology blackout. What starts off as the family annual camping trip quickly turns into a dog-eat-dog world as violence ensues when humanity realizes life as they knew it has come to an end. Arming themselves with their mother’s military experience, their camping supplies, and limited connections… the family sets out to do whatever they must to survive.
I think the concept of this book is really interesting. The complete loss of technology would surely result in a world fallen to chaos. There were a few key points of this decent that bothered me. Firstly, the violence and desperation started within the first twenty-four hours. I’ve been without power for several days, and at that point, nobody starts looting and shanking each other. The author’s predilection to violence as a reaction was dramatic. Yes, violence would likely occur eventually, but I didn’t see his timeline as realistic. And things kept going at the same speed.
Unfortunately, every character see here is very flat and emotionless. This concerns me most about our protagonist, Emma. Where the story started off with great family dynamics, Emma quickly falls forward as her mother’s equal and confidant (even though she’s still a high schooler). Not only is she encouraged to learn to defend herself (fine), she is also urged take a life to protect their community and eventually asked to lead the military training of the teens. Through it all, Emma is remorseless. That bothers me just as much as the fact that their mother has no protective instinct to her children and either leaves them to their own devices or trains them to kill. It just doesn’t seem like a realistic relationship in the dynamic we were given at the beginning.
This book is overriden by dialogue. The parts where we settle in and learn about the community through Emma’s observations are alright, but at other time the characters will have a conversation about The Hunger Games that serves only to allow Willow to say Emma reminds him of Katniss. Flipping between long descriptive stretches and quick, quippy conversations threw the flow off.
Where the concept of Fourth Dimension is interesting, I just don’t buy the execution. The island is made it or LARPers, magicians, thespians, and grandmothers and yet it is the strongest and most thriving community in the area and is attacked often. Attacks are always repelled. I appreciate the fact with have a parental character with a military background because I don’t think I’ve run into a Marine in YA fiction before, but the idea that she is single-handedly protecting this community bent on living hedonistically is so unrealistic to me.
Fourth Dimension had a lot to offer in theory, but the storyline, characters, and writing style didn’t work for me. I think that people who enjoy YA fiction and military fiction will enjoy this book more. If you’re looking for something character driven, with relationship or intense world building… look elsewhere.
Fourth Dimension Goes to the Graveyard
While I appreciate receiving a free copy of this book from Penguin, I can’t see myself ever reading this one again. If we’re being perfectly honest, I almost didn’t read it the first time. I had a lot of trouble with the logical progression, unreliable characters, and militarism… and I found myself skimming a lot. It was a “Dear God, are we there yet?!” sort of book, and not one I want on my personal shelves. I will be donating Fourth Dimension.