Review: The Three, by Sarah Lotz
When four passenger planes crash in different countries on the same day, the world is united in horror and speculation on what might have caused the accidents. After it is revealed that three children have survived the accidents, the conspiracy theories begin to intensify, and a religious group claim that events are leading towards the end of the world.
From the beginning, The Three is a fast-paced and exciting read, although it did take me a little while to get into it, partly due to the format. After it begins with a detailed account of a plane crash, the story is told through a series of notes, interviews and transcripts, compiled by a journalist who is writing a book on the tragedy. Once you get used to the way the story abruptly jumps from one character to another, it becomes an engaging read, getting to the heart of the action and seeing things through the eyes of the people who have been most affected by events.
There is also an intriguing a supernatural element running through the novel, raising a lot of questions about why the four planes crashed and the children survived. Outlandish theories abound: are the children possessed by demons, or aliens, or evil spirits? Are they changelings? Are they responsible for subsequent natural disasters and deaths? There are some chilling moments as the book explores these possibilities.
On the downside, because the novel features so many characters, many of whom appear only briefly, there are a few stereotypes and examples of shallow characterisation, in particular the chavvy family of one of the surviving children, who are straight out of the Jeremy Kyle show.
The plane crashes in the story occur in four different places: a South African township; a Japanese forest, renowned as a suicide hotspot; the American Everglades, and the Atlantic Ocean, as a jet full of British holidaymakers return from Tenerife. This actually works as an interesting device, allowing the author to weave different cultural elements and superstitions into the story, from a US End of Days religious cult, to Japanese online chat rooms and android technology, to British daytime chat shows.
This is the kind of book that raises more questions than it answers, allowing your imagination to run wild. It’s a great read for anyone who enjoys a high-concept thriller, although it’s not one to take with you on the plane this summer!
Find out more:
The Three, on Amazon (affiliate link)
The Three, on Goodreads
Disclaimer: I received a free advance copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley for the purpose of providing an honest review; all opinions are my own.