The Three by Sarah Lotz: Review

the three

Four planes, in four different places around the world, crash almost simultaneously. The only survivors are three children, who are nearly uninjured; they should be dead. When a mysterious message from one of the dying passengers is discovered, people start to question their survival. What did she mean by watch the boy and warn them? Warn who about what?

An American minister sees this as a sign of the end of the world. He connects the children to the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. If so, where is the survivor of the fourth crash? Others claim that the children are aliens, that the real kids died and were replaced by beings from another planet. One thing is for sure, the children no longer act like their former selves. Was this the result of the trauma they’ve suffered or something supernatural?

aliens
This guy would be head of the Alien Theorists
The Three by Sarah Lotz is mostly told as a previously published exposé on the crash and the three survivors called From Crash to Conspiracy by Elspeth Martins, sandwiched between chapters “How It Begins” and “How It Ends.” From Crash to Conspiracy is Elspeth’s research and interviews. Some of the material is told through emails, recorded interviews, and chat room transcripts. The first and last chapters and the only parts that are in the present tense: passenger Pamela May Donald’s last moments and Elspeth’s experiences after her book came out.

Elspeth presents her research as she found it without much commentary but what she reveals has a profound effect on world events. What the reader discovers is how everything unravelled after the plane crashes, and what happened to the survivors. Those kids were super creepy. No wonder they freaked everyone out.

The way The Three is written reminds me a lot of how Dracula was told. Stoker used technology (the wax recorder, Mina’s typewritten transcripts) to tell the story and similarly so does Lotz. For the most part I enjoyed this but I found the transcripts from the chat room clunky and distracting. I wanted to skip those parts. Of all the ways the story is told I thought that was the most disconnected from the reader.

If you are looking for tidy endings, you’re not going to find them here. I still don’t know what I read. I have some theories and I’d love to share them but I’m going to have to find a safe non-spoilery place to discuss them.

I highly recommend The Three if you want a creepy read that will keep you guessing.

Thanks to Little, Brown and Company via NetGalley for the review copy.

9 comments:

  1. I've only read one other review of The Three and that blogger said I HAD to read it. It sounds pretty good. I like creepy if done well.

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  2. I loved this one! May has been an excellent month for spooky books!

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    1. It is! That's something I expect in the fall but May has been excellent.

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  3. THIS SOUNDS SO GOOD. I cannot resist a format like this -- with stories told in a bunch of different formats, from a bunch of different perspectives. YES YES YES YES.

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    1. I like it too because the reader has to make the connections. I love that.

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  4. This sounds really good, but I hate ambiguous endings, so I think it might drive me crazy! :)

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    1. Yeah, you kind of have to make up your own mind about the end.

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  5. Super excited to pick this up from the library this week!

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