Monday, 26 May 2014

The Three by Sarah Lotz

Description from Goodreads:

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 was pretty excited when my request on NetGalley was accepted. The blurb sounds pretty awesome as it gives you sort of pre-apocalyptic/terrorism/thriller vibes. I plunged into reading The Three and while I found it an enjoyable read, it wasn't exactly a horror or science fiction novel like it had been categorised on Goodreads. I was certainly surprised and captivated by the story, but I never had to know what was going to happen next. The novel tried to tackle a pretty ambitious concept, and I felt like it half succeeded, half let me down.

The story is told in the format of interviews, emails, and audiotapes of the caretakers of the survivors and witnesses of the events that took place after the plane crashes. Basically, the readers are allowed into the lives of the sole survivors through the experiences of bystanders like uncles, grandmothers, cousins, and friends. That's why the reader has to constantly question whether to believe these statements they give - there is no objective perspective to the story most of the time, so the author has let the readers decide themselves what to believe. I really liked this way of story telling as it kept the readers on their toes. The downside to it was that I found the other accounts far more interesting than the others. Paul & Jess's story was the most interesting, but the events that took place in the Africa weren't as compelling.

Like already mentioned, The Three is categorised as horror and science fiction novel which strikes me a bit weird. I think it was trying an attempt at a horror novel, but I think I found only one scene in the book scary and I'm pretty sure that doesn't automatically make the story to belong in the horror genre. I think the categories mystery and thriller were spot on, but sometimes I feel the thriller genre was a bit forgotten as occasionally there were  quite many moments when the scenes just dragged on without any thrill in them. Most of the chapters ended in a sort of 'uh oh' feeling which made you want to  see how the events would develop. But I never got into that zone where I just read as quickly as possible just to learn what happened next. 

The last 30 pages of the book were definitely my favourites. The ending was very suspenseful and I loved how some of the pieces locked into their place, even though the end was some what open-ended. I usually like endings like The Three had and I'm glad the author was able to pull of a pretty intriguing ending. Like the rest of the book, the readers are left on their own to decide what to make out of the whole story. I'm sure some people would have liked a more definite ending, but I felt like it was an appropriate way to end the book as it was a loyal to the rest of the book's character.

The Three isn't the most quickly paced thriller I've read, and that might have lowered my view of it, but nevertheless I found it an intriguing depiction of what could be the beginning of an apocalypse. Certain characters like Paul & Jess, and Pastor Len really absorbed me into their worlds and I was really entertained. However, I feel like there was something missing in the story and I really can't put my finger on it what this could be. Lack of action? Too many point of views? I would definitely recommend the story to people who are intrigued by the description and see for themselves if it's something they like. Actual rating 3.5


  1. The whole horror/sci-fi is what drew me into it too, with the hint of conspiracy/aliens. So, I was disappointed with that too, since I wouldn't exactly call it horror either, it was more mystery/thriller than anything. I did love the format and the way it was shown and told though, even if it was a little confusing in the beginning until I got into it, it was a fun way and pretty different. I found the last half better than the first, and as we got more into it with the Three and their interactions- creeeeeeeeepy. Overall, I did enjoy to a point too, but the whole religious aspect (though, I know what it was trying to do) put me off it a bit. Great review! :)

    Kirsty @ StudioReads

  2. I see that we share quite many opinions! :) I can see why the religious aspect wasn't to your tasting, but I sort of enjoyed it from a psychological perspective. It was interesting to observe for example how Pastor Len sort of justified his needs for fame and recognition through religion. Thanks for commenting! :)


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