The Three by Sarah Lotz

May 31, 2014
The Three by Sarah LotzThe Three by Sarah Lotz
Narrator: Andrew Wincott, Melanie McHugh
Also by this author: Day Four
Published by Hodder and Stoughton, Little Brown and Company on May 20th, 2014
Genres: Horror
Length: 13 hours 55 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased

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five-stars

Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he's right?

The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn't appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.

Dubbed 'The Three' by the international press, the children all exhibit disturbing behavioural problems, presumably caused by the horror they lived through and the unrelenting press attention. This attention becomes more than just intrusive when a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children's behaviour becomes increasingly disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival...

The Three by Sarah Lotz is a truly fascinating story. The manner in which it is told is even more fascinating. The premise, four separate planes, across the world on four different continents crash on the same day. And somehow, there are three survivors, all children. What are the odds? Four fatal crashes all on the same day? And three of those un-survivable accidents miraculously have a single child that somehow escaped alive? It’s an unimaginable tragedy. And people can’t help it, they become fascinated and look for meaning or explanations for the survivors as well as for the fact that these accidents all happened on the same day. A day that is now labeled Black Thursday.

The format of the story is part of what really makes this book stand out. Instead of telling the story simply from the perspective of the survivors or a single person close to the survivors, it is told through a series of interviews, reports, transcripts, chat sessions, etc. We get the view of people around the world in a way that just made the story come to life.

Let’s face it; the format of this book greatly mirrors how we follow tragedies in the real world. We get news stories; we hear from fanatics trying to tie religious meaning to whatever tragedy, conspiracy theories, etc. are in the news. Then people talk about them in social media, you see tweets and chats, Facebook posts of whatever the latest buzz is. I think as a human race, we try to puzzle together meaning and causes for tragic events because if we can find a meaning or a cause, we can explain it and then its not truly random, it’s not something that can just happen for no reason. Within this story, people are fascinated by the survivors, referred to as “The Three” and wonder what makes them special? How did they escape? What does it mean that they lived?

And speaking of the survivors, that’s also where the story focuses. Each of these children that survived seems different than before. It’s easy to assume there would be some change for children that survived such a things, especially when they lost parents and siblings. But do the changes they have make sense (can anything make sense) after such a tragedy? Or are these children part of something more sinister or evil? Well, that’s what you’ll have to decide when you read this for yourself. I hate to give away too much of the good stuff.

I highly recommend this book. It is tragic and eerie and fully engrossing. And on top of that, I want to mention that I actually listened to the audiobook and it is now one of (if not my absolute) favorite audiobooks. This is a format that could have easily gone horribly wrong in the transition to audio, but the narrators did a phenomenal job. I honestly don’t know if I would have gotten quite as much of the ‘global’ feel to this story if I had read it instead of listened because no matter how much I try to fool myself, there is no way I could read this book with the accents the narrators were able to do. There were only two narrators, but it felt like a much larger cast because every person in the story, in the interviews had a unique voice as well as the accent to quickly place where they live. Just absolutely a wonderful job and performance, I can’t recommend it enough.

five-stars

14 Comments

  • Mogsy May 31, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Oh I’m very pleased to hear that it worked well in audio format! I’d originally planned to get this book through Audible, then as soon as I heard it was in the interview/articles/transcripts format I immediately canceled and preordered the print copy instead. I honestly didn’t think the style would translate well to audio and didn’t to risk it but apparently I had little to worry about!

    Anyway, this easily is among one of my top reads this year. I loved how we never got to “meet” the child survivors and that all their lives were told through second-hand guardian accounts, I thought it made it even more creepy.
    Mogsy recently posted…Mogsy’s Book Haul – For Review, Purchased, and Goodies From BalticonMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) May 31, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      Agreed! Without their accounts its all mystery and speculation. The unknown really adds to the creepiness 🙂

      I had someone warn me after I bought the audiobook and I was worried (and likely would have gotten the book instead if I hadn’t already got the audiobook). Especially after just finishing Mayhem which structurally, did work as well with audio. But articles and transcripts, etc were all done in such a way it was obvious what they were. Glad I stuck with it because I it is definitely one of my favorite audiobooks now.

  • Bibliotropic May 31, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    More and more I wish I’d been lucky enough to get a copy of this book. I keep hearing so many good things about it!
    Bibliotropic recently posted…May in RetrospectMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) May 31, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      I broke down and got the audiobook of it. No regrets. Hope you manage to get a copy eventually. My library actually has a copy, so maybe you’ll luck out that way. Also noticed a giveaway on Goodreads for US and Canada, though, the odds on those are always rather slim.

  • Lynn June 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I really enjoyed this. I had no idea what it was going to be about when I received a copy so went into it a bit blind but I think that all helped to add to the suspense and creepiness. The guardian’s accounts were really good and added massively.
    Lynn 😀
    Lynn recently posted…Blood Song by Anthony RyanMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) June 2, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      I think there are a lot of books, particularly horror, that are better to go in with a blank slate, no expectations, no idea where it is going to go.

  • Tabitha (Not Yet Read) June 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I’m really nervous about reading this one. I picked it up at BEA and met the author really quick in the autograph line (I namedropped Mogsy since her review prompted me to try to snatch it up). Now I think I’ll have to check for the audio edition.

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) June 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      As much as people who read it before me enjoyed it, I hardly think you can go wrong reading the print version. Hope you enjoy it as much as the rest of us! 🙂