Thursday, 28 May 2015

Review: The Three by Sarah Lotz

Hardback book cover of The Three by Sarah Lotz
Hmm. I really didn't notice the creepy-ass children staring out at me from this book cover when I was reading it. I feel like I may have transferred to my dusty and neglected Kindle if I had... *shudders*

Plot summary:
They're here ... The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there's so many ... They're coming for me now. We're all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he's not to­­--
The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 - 2012)

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.

The message is a warning.

I went into this book not really knowing too much about it, and I honestly think that's the best way with a book like this one. I'd completely forgotten the subject of The Three between Katie buying it for my birthday in August and actually beginning to read it in March this year (believe it or not, that's actually quite a quick turnaround), so I decided not to bother reading the blurb and just run with it. I started to read it on the train on the way to work... four pages in I was hooked and couldn't wait until lunchtime when I could read some more.

There are a lot of different aspects to this story. Each of the four survivors have families who react in different ways, not to mention the media, the religious groups, the bereaved and a multitude of other groups. It's a very emotional book - emotion-provoking, I mean. You'd assume that I mean the generic descriptions of what it's like to lose a loved one, but that's absolutely not what I'm talking about. Sarah Lotz really does get inside her characters heads perfectly.

I've read different reviews of this book, and different aspects seem to affect different readers. I found the Doomsday Cult portion absolutely fascinating and I'd have been happy with a whole book about how religious factions can become over-zealous in reaction to certail events. That said, I really fervently disliked Chiyoko, or whatever her name is. She was a little too cliched and OTT to be believable and I found her chapters really halted the flow of my reading. So it's not perfect, but it is pretty damn good.

I'm not usually a fan of the newspaper/interview style of writing (you know, like in World War Z) as I think it sometimes prevents you from becoming properly immersed in the story. It does seem to work here though, possibly because it hides what's really happening for just that little bit longer...

At the risk of sounding overly hipster again, I loved the whole meta book-within-a-book thing. It was really detailed and perfectly thought out - clearly a lot of effort had gone in to making it work. It's impressive. It even includes fore and afterwords from the fictional editor. It's worth reading just for that.

The ending wasn't amazing, I have to admit. I understand that it's meant to be open to your own interpretation, but it was almost a little too open. I'd like to have something to go on, some indication of what the author was trying to imply The Three were, as I'm not entirely sure.

I really would recommend The Three. It's dark, inventive and mysterious, although perhaps refrain from reading it during any kind of plane ride. Just saying.

Read Ellie's review of The Three here.

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