Review: Day Four by Sarah Lotz
Also by this author: The Three
Published by Little, Brown on June 16, 2015
The chilling follow-up to The Three, Sarah Lotz's "hard to put down and vastly entertaining" debut (Stephen King).
Hundreds of pleasure-seekers stream aboard The Beautiful Dreamer cruise ship for five days of cut-price fun in the Caribbean sun. On the fourth day, disaster strikes: smoke roils out of the engine room, and the ship is stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. Soon supplies run low, a virus plagues the ship, and there are whispered rumors that the cabins on the lower decks are haunted by shadowy figures. Irritation escalates to panic, the crew loses control, factions form, and violent chaos erupts among the survivors.
When, at last, the ship is spotted drifting off the coast of Key West, the world's press reports it empty. But the gloomy headlines may be covering up an even more disturbing reality.
DAY FOUR is a heart-racing tale from "a ferociously imaginative storyteller."*
Day Four will make you cringe, laugh and shudder. It shows you the horror that can exist in humanity, it provides you haunting events and things that you can’t explain in any sense of the world we know and live in. It will creep you out in so many ways. But, it will also entertain you and make you laugh. There is an incredible balance with the dark parts of this book that keep it from ever becoming too dismal. It is addictive and incredibly hard to put down. At the end of reading this, my largest issue is trying to find information on when Lotz’s next book might be coming out. Oh, and the fact that I will never set foot on a cruise, but that’s not so much an issue for me as for anyone who tries to convince me otherwise.
I think the world can be split into two types of people. Those that enjoy cruises (or the thought of them) and those that don’t see the appeal. I’m of the latter type. Honestly, the thought of being in such an enclosed space with such a large group of people, all the organized activities, the shows, etc. none of that appeals to me. And boy does confirm my natural instinct to steer clear of cruise ships. This book is creepy, it’s a ghost story set on water in a cruise ship full of obnoxious strangers (and coworkers if you’re staff). But even before you get to the supernatural parts, I was already creeped out by the characters. There are some seriously messed up people aboard, and honestly, those that aren’t creepy are just rude and annoying. There are like maybe two exceptions, and that is because probably because of the combination that we got their perspectives (and hopefully they don’t annoy themselves) and they were both people that were on the cruise as a result of their job. And to be fair, I’m sure there are nice normal people that take cruises, I just don’t plan on going on one to find out.
The story is told through several character POVs, and each chapter title tells you who it is. But instead of just blatantly listing the character name like George R. R. Martin, Lotz gives each character (or in one case a pair of characters) a descriptive name such as “The Condemned Man”, “The Devil’s Handmaiden” and “The Suicide Sisters”. For me this added to the fun because when you start reading your first thought is “Why are they called that??”, and well, you just have to read to find out why.
I honestly hate to delve too much into the story on this one. It’s a quick and intensely addictive read. The characters were all quite unique and trust me, none of them are even close to perfect people. Most of them aren’t even likable, but I still wanted to read every word of it. I love how Lotz is able to flesh out these individuals in a way where you quickly identify and understand them. I love the dynamics as things start to go wrong. I just really can’t say enough great things about it.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the mysterious, the creepy or just crave haunting tales. It’s one of those books that you know won’t leave you because the story was so well done and powerful. I enjoyed every word of it.
** This is also now required reading for anyone who even considers inviting me on a cruise.