Review: The Three / Author: Sarah Lotz / Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton / Release Date: Out Now
The Three is a book that’s difficult to define, a tale that stretches across genres. Part horror, part sci-fi, part conspiracy thriller, part discourse on the nature of humanity itself, it’s vaguely reminiscent of something Dean Koontz would have written twenty years ago. Yet, Sarah Lotz’s novel succeeds at being all of these at once, creating a story that is impossible to put down.
The initial premise is deceptively simple – four aeroplanes crash on the same day, yet somehow a child survives from three of them – but it’s what comes afterwards that is central to the novel. To mention anything of the plot would be criminal; suffice to say, there’s a book within this book, a fictional publication that analyses the aftermath of the plane crashes and the effect the survivors have on their loved ones as well as the world at large, making it all feel very personal, yet epic at the same time.
This is achieved by documenting the accounts of various eye-witnesses, both professionally and personally related to the incidents as well as the three survivors. This allows the author to drip-feed information that tantalizes the reader to continue on to the next account. Each of these being relatively brief – a dozen pages at the most – the reader is then encouraged onto the next, then the next, until the final page is being turned. So be warned; once you start, you’d better cancel all your plans for the next couple of days, because you won’t want to leave the book for a single minute.
The author gives each of the accounts a different voice, allowing the reader to become familiar with the character in question. Their emotions are made apparent, but it’s the sorrow and sense of dread that really make the book come alive. The latter pervades the story, but is never overwhelming, increasing when it needs to, but more effective in smaller, more intimate moments. Still, the epic feel is never lost; the whole world is being affected here, as events begin to spiral out of control.
There are scenes that will sit in the mind of the reader for nights to come, knowing that it’s the human reaction to the strange events that may lead to its downfall, rather than the events themselves. The Three is chillingly brilliant, a masterpiece of a story that leaves the reader hanging on every word, always wanting to know more; the only disappointment is that it has to end, but the finale is such that it may make you want to read it again and find the clues you’ve missed.