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Will to Survive: The Rule of 3    by Eric Walters order for
Will to Survive
by Eric Walters
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I'm hooked on Eric Walter's YA novels, both his contemporary works and dystopians like The Rule of 3 books. Will to Survive is the third (following The Rule of 3 and Fight for Power) in the series and, though I inexplicably missed the first two, I had no problem at all catching up. The author addresses what happens to an ordinary neighborhood after a global blackout causes civilization to crumble.

Fortunately this particular neighborhood, Eden Mills, has several important assets - a natural leader in teen Adam Daley (who can fly a small plane), a female police captain (Adam's Mom), her lieutenant Howie, and a retired government spy (their elderly neighbor Herb who's a father figure to Adam). Herb has a stockpile of food and weapons put aside for just such a disaster.

They organized and fortified Eden Mills, 'an island of calm in a sea of chaos', surviving attacks from outside (Division bandits) and within. Now Adam's Mom and Herb lead sixteen hundred residents in their fortress neighborhood. Adam's pilot father, who had been in Chicago when disaster struck, has made his way hundreds of miles home on foot. And Adam's girlfriend Lori and best friend Todd work beside him to keep their community safe.

As Will to Survive opens, Adam struggles with the fact that he shot two men, the community's prisoners, who had been trying to kidnap him and force him to fly them to the Division compound. His nemesis, Brett, the villain of the piece, has escaped and plans dire revenge. Adam and Herb strike first, but sociopathic Brett survives and continues his vicious attacks. In defense, Adam proposes reaching out to ally and trade with nearby surviving communities, to strengthen them all.

It's an exciting series that looks hard at the cost of survival, the struggle to maintain basic humanity, and the trade-offs and tough decisions that would be needed. Adam struggles with all of this, but still does not hesitate to take a leadership role when it's asked of him, and to keep on hoping and striving for a better future.

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