52 Book Challenge: The Three by Sarah Lotz

1 Oct

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{Proceed with caution, light spoilers all up in this bitch}

If you’ve read The Three, or seen it in stores, you might notice that the final version has a slightly different cover. Which, I think, is really a shame: it immediately gives a darker, more ominous vibe to the book and also kind of contains a spoiler (that you’ll only realize part of the way in, but still). My version, which I definitely downloaded legally and it wasn’t a pre-release copy or anything, comes with the cover you see above: a bit creepy, a bit strange, but not an in-your-face “this is a horror novel!” cover. Which is more accurate because The Three dips its toes into horror, but also plays in lots of other genres: alternate histories, speculative fiction, mystery, thriller.

The base of the plot is simple: at the exact same time, four planes crash simultaneously around the world. On three of the planes, there is one survivor each: a young child. Everyone else dies. The planes do not crash due to terrorism and, in fact, each crash was caused by a different event or malfunction.

The Three is a “book in a book.” It’s a journalistic novel on what happened after the crash, told in epistolary format. We get letters, recordings, interviews, chat logs, and first-hand accounts from people involved either with the crash or with the three children who survived… aka “The Three” the book is named after. The “book in a book” aspect is only really relevant toward the very last chapters, after the “book” ends and we get to see the aftermath its publication had–which was wildly inventive and very clever.

There are a lot of great things going on in The Three. The atmosphere is tense, strange. I mean, there must be something going on here… right? Four planes don’t just crash at once. Each country deals with their survivor child differently: the boy in Japan achieves a sort of stardom, a girl in England seems to be driving her uncle crazy, an American boy is curing diseases. And, of course, there’s a crazy Christian cult based off of both the accidents and the survivors.

There are a few things that keep this from being a truly riveting book. First, it’s too long. Some sections could be trimmed significantly. I feel like there was a bit too much “fluff” around the eerie meat at the core of the book. And then… the end. I was not at all happy with it. Very little explanation, and it goes totally off the rails in terms of what we know about the events so far. Still, as an experimental piece of fiction I’d definitely chalk it up as a success. Pieces of it, especially the stories in Japan’s suicide forest, still keep me up at night. I just wish the whole thing was a bit more polished.


Book 58 The Three

Lipstick Rating 3 And 1 Half


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Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. June 2015 Wrapup: Week 2 | Lipstick & Libraries - June 17, 2015

    […] Four, by Sarah Lotz: Finished June 14th. I think I actually enjoyed this a little more than The Three. The writing is more polished, and there’s less of the dead weight that plagued The Three. […]

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