4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
It would cause some speculation wouldn't it?. Four planes crash on the same day and from out of all of that dreadul carnage step forward three survivors. Three children. You can imagine the sound of social media sites crashing as millions flock online. That's where the author has been clever. She has tapped directly into modern culture with themes of conspiracy, politics, religion and social unrest to mix up a fiction that's just scarily believable.
I particularly enjoyed the format of this book. It's written mainly as a non fiction report, Black Thursday, which takes some of the surreal edge off the plot and anchors it down. Information comes in the form of 'real' interviews that build credibility but; there's a building sense of unease as theories abound throughout the world and maybe those being interviewed have another agenda that has little to do with honesty or the fate of three children.
What happens to the children in the middle of the storm and exactly who, or what, they are is key to the fantasy element of the plot?. I'm not saying another word. You'll have to read the book!.
From it's black cover with three red slashes through to the black edged pages 'The Three' has a look and feel I'd expect from one of the best of the contemporary horror writers. Don't be fooled. The only devils in here are people and the horror comes in the cleverly worked insight into our ability to fall into a state of chaos.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
“The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many …”
This book caught my interest, and I’m glad I’ve read it. The book is presented as a book within a book; it’s a book which incorporates a book purporting to be written about an event known as Black Thursday, by an author by the name of Elspeth Martins. That book is wrapped by a prequel chapter, How it Begins, and with a chapter at the end, How it Ends. Those parts are outside the ‘published’ book incorporated within this book (if that all makes sense).
On January 12, 2012, four airliners crashed in various locations around the world. Over one thousand people died. Three lived, all children. How could they have survived these crashes? Why did they live, and all others died? What caused the crashes of four commercial airliners? Is there something the world should or could learn from these incidents? And what did the recorded message left on her phone by Pam mean? And the messages left by the other doomed passengers on the Japanese airline? And what did the air investigator see?
We follow the ‘breaking story’ from the crash, to the conspiracy theories, to the resolution – or do we? This is one of those books where there’s more to the story than meets the eye, or at least there appears to be. It’s mystery wrapped up in conspiracy and surrounded by intrigue. The reader is drawn into narratives offered by relatives, friends and colleagues of the survivors and of those who died, of those whose lives are affected by the tragedies and their aftermath.
This is a great read; while it sometimes feels like it leaves the reader with more questions than answers, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Along the way, the narratives of so many diverse and interesting characters whose lives were changed forever by the events of that Black Thursday offer an intriguing narrative into how events can change us all, forever. A great read, and a great bit of escapism.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2014
I was drawn to The Three as who wouldn’t be intrigued by four plane crashes, all on the same day with three child survivors. I had heard that this was a cross between Lost and The Passage and as I enjoyed those books, I thought that The Three would be good too.
It’s really difficult to say anything about the storyline without giving too much away but the book is written mainly as a non-fiction report titled ‘Black Thursday’. Information comes in the form of interviews that the author did with the relevant people involved. I loved this way of writing and particularly enjoyed the conversations in the online chat rooms between 2 of the characters. The author has used modern technology examples on where the data was gathered. The characters are all strong and some more spooky than others. The only slight disappointment for me was the ending as it felt a bit flat. I’m not sure how I would have wanted it to end but it just didn’t seem right for me.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the storyline and the style and I finished it in a few days.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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…
It’s the bane of a reviewer (well, this particular reviewer at least) – so many books, so little time. When The Three was originally released back in 2014 it almost completely passed me by. I heard lots of good buzz, but other commitments meant I missed out. Now I’m glad to say that I’ve rectified that gross oversight and have finally arrived at the party. Fashionably late, I have no doubt, but better late than never.
Regular readers of the site are familiar with my penchant for all things apocalyptic. I just can’t get enough of the end of the world. The premise of The Three appealed to me straight away. When the final words of a fellow passenger are revealed to an unsuspecting world, almost immediately a dozen conflicting conspiracy theories pop into existence. Why did four planes crash on the same day? Why did three children survive when everyone else was lost? What does this mean for the rest of humanity? Are The Three incredibly lucky, touched by the divine, or the harbingers of the End Times?
The character I found myself most interested in was an actor called Paul Craddock. He finds himself thrust into the limelight for all the wrong reasons. The direct impact one of the crashes has on his life is completely devastating. In his case, fame appears to be more of a curse than a blessing, and watching his already fragile mental state unravel is riveting stuff.
I don’t often comment on the technical structure of books, but The Three is bloody clever. Put together like a book within a book, similar to World War Z, the narrative is made up of research material taken from multiple sources. It allows the plot to be explored using multiple differing perspectives of the events. Rather than being confusing or jarring, this approach works perfectly and you get a real sense of divided opinion when it comes to people’s interpretation of what the three survivor’s actually are.
Lotz has crafted one hell of a story, and not just in the main narrative. There are some supplemental themes explored that are just as engrossing. One of the elements I found particularly interesting involves the creation of creepily realistic androids that are almost indistinguishable from humans. In one of those weird moments of synchronicity, I read an article shortly after finishing The Three about the current state of this very technology. Sheesh, talk about spookily appropriate timing.
The book ends with a suitably brain-melting denouement. I was left with that delicious need to learn more about what was going on. It is always impressive when a writer has such skill when it comes to playing around with ambiguity. Put it this way, I would fully expect that you could ask a dozen people to read this book, and then if you asked them what was going on, you would get a dozen different responses.
How best to clarify The Three? Well, this certainly isn’t some all out gore fest. Don’t get me wrong, there are a plethora of creepy moments but they tend to be more mentally than physically horrific. Put simply, this is subtle psychological horror at its finest.
The Three is published by Hodder and is available now. My advice is buy it. This will be a purchase that you will not regret. I enjoyed The Three so much I’ll be reading the sequel, Day Four, next. I don’t just want to know what happens next, I NEED TO KNOW!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2014
This is the first book I have ever read that is made up entirely of a series of articles and interviews by eyewitnesses to the event after the plane crashes that are the centre of this story and the three children that somehow have survived them. The questions following the crashes are many.... why did just a single child survive each crash when everyone else perished, is there a fourth survivor that no-one can find, are these kids just kids or something more? and that's just a few of them. Do they get answered..... well yes and no, no spoilers from me! You just have read it for yourself and experience it, it's dramatic to say the very least.
It's a very hard book to describe as I have never read anything like it and when it was finished I tried to explain it to me husband but really struggled to. It's a fascinating book to read and I found it very intriguing, it was a book I was keen to get back to every night and was a little gutted to have finished it as it was that interesting.
Is it a mind-blowingly good?
As I said it's a fascinating read and it grabs you from the very beginning, it's so full of intrigue and mystery that you cannot help yourself but get pulled into all the drama..... and there is a huge amount of drama. It calls itself horror but I didn't find anything in it that was overly horrific, I'm sure entirely sure what genre I would put it in at all as it has touches of so many but isn't entirely any of them.
Is it interesting?
Very much so, every inch of it is totally fascinating. The kids are the crux of the tale and they do verge a bit on the creepy side at times as do the religious nuts who take hold of the story of The Three and take off running with it as you would expect, but in the worst way imaginable.
Is it enjoyable to read?
Indeed, I was worried about it when I started and realised that it would be wholly in article form (a series of letter, email, interviews etc) as it was something I've not come across in a book before. I wasn't at all sure that I was going to be able to get my head around it and enjoy it but the book took me completely by surprise as I loved reading in this format, very different and very refreshing.
Is is well written?
Yes, despite the format the book has taken it is still very well written as despite that lack of the more descriptive work that you usually get to help you envision characters and their surroundings you still came away with the same sense of who each character is and I wasn't expecting it to be that way. I was expecting the characterisation to be much thinner than it actually was so the writing has got to be good for me to still get each character (and there are a lot of characters to get to know too but they are still easy to envisage).
Would you recommend it?
If you think you'll be okay reading a book that is made of articles like this then definitely but I know there are a lot of people that don't like this format. I think it's definitely worth a read as I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and was sad when it was over despite the fact that there were still a few unanswered questions speeding around in my head.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2014
I received a copy of this from the publishers via netgalley in return for an honest review.
I was drawn to this book initially by the cover, it gives the impression that it's going to be a horror novel. I'm not sure I would class this as horror, it's so much more, it has mystery, conspiracy, thrills, chills, apocalypse, religious fanatics and creepy children.
The author drew me into the story and kept me turning the pages for more, however I feel like I have been left hanging now that I am finished. During the story we are introduced to several different conspiracies and theories about what happened, why it happened and the possible outcome. Each as possible and believable as the other albeit a bit far fetched outside of the story itself.
There is no definitive explanation or answer given, it's left open for the reader to decide and I think that's what spoiled this one for me. With all the theories put in place in the story it's possible that any of them could be the answer and I would have much preferred that there was a clear outcome to the end of the book.
I'm not sure what to rate this, I did enjoy it and I kept reading to find out what was going on but I'm still none the wiser. I'm giving this 3 stars (ironic considering the name lol) because I liked the premise of the book, it intrigued me and kept me reading.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I first became aware of THE THREE through Amazon.com. As soon as I read the synopsis, I decided that I wanted to read it. Now that I have finished it, I found that I have struggled to try and describe it to others.
The basic plot is that one day, across the globe in different countries, four planes crash. From each plane there is a single child which survives. These are termed as The Three (the fourth one takes a little finding) by the media. At first they are seen as miracle children. But, not too long afterwards, there are some who question exactly what they are. Conspiracy theories fly around, there are some who believe that they are aliens and there are others who see them as bringers of the end of the world.
So, that is the basic plot. Lotz has used an interesting technique to tell her story. Rather than having one main narrator, instead each chapter is a different type of media. So, for instance, some of the chapters are set out as newspaper articles, or articles from the internet, whereas others are supposed to be transcripts of interviews etc. It is an interesting technique to use, and I personally think that for this book it works very well. It means that the story develops, but not in the linear way you may be used to. It also means that you are kept guessing about just which trails of thought may be true. Are the children just suffering from PTSD or is there something else, more supernatural, going on?
I really enjoyed this book. The reason I gave it only one star is due to the ending. Without giving anything away, it was a disappointment. Not to say that it was bad! Read it for yourself to see what I mean.
The Three is a massively frustrating read. Frustrating because the writer clearly knows about creating well fleshed out and interesting characters, knows how to turn in a gripping scene and play with intriguing concepts and world-building. But what happens here is that “World War Z” style multi-point narrative (different characters tell different angles of the story through as diverse a range of short pieces as interviews with journalists and writers; police, medical and other official reports; Amazon reviews; tweets and internet threads, and so on. This kaleidoscope story-telling fatally slows and confuses an already slow burn tale. It’s not helped by some strong and disturbing final scenes that are followed by long expository scenes and conversations that dwindle to an unsatisfactory, vague and I’ll use that word again, frustrating resolution and pay off for the considerable investment the reader will have had to make to keep up with this tale.
On a day that comes to be known as “Black Thursday” 4 airliner planes crash almost simultaneously in Japan, the US, Africa and Canada. There are three verified human child survivors (and a rumoured fourth) of whom it can be said that there is “something not quite right” other than the fact that their survival is miraculous. There is a recorded phone message from a survivor Pam that appears to be a warning that sets of a terrible catalyst of events that could eventually lead to global conflict and catastrophe. Because the warning is interpreted by the End-time Christian movement to mean a harbinger of Armageddon, and the children are interpreted as the Four Horsemen of Revelations. Said End-timers set about doing everything they can to make their Armageddon a self fulfilling prophecy. In the meantime the children are placed with family. The main meat of the book is the family members’ relation of events to interviewers etc. after the events have played out, as they puzzle over the changed nature of the children and strange and seeming miraculous events. Sometimes the children seem benign and healing, other times sinister and detached. This after the fact narration allow for teasing and ominous glimpses of how things will play out. We know disaster is on its way.
So what works? Vivid and interesting characters and set pieces, including the opening chapter detailing Pam’s experience of a plane crash, the descent of a Bible belt preacher into Waco style paranoia and madness, and recovering alcoholic and actor Paul Craddock being tormented to insanity by his sinister changeling of a niece Jess. But the there is a lot of teeth grindingly tedious padding and exposition. A recurring internet thread between Japanese internet geeks is interminable. A lot of the final exposition reminds me of the final segments of various mini -series franchises that don’t quite know how to resolve story arcs because of too many writers being involved, and so leave things stupidly open and unresolved leading to a poor return on the viewers investment, of babbly exposition that mixes science and the supernatural and just doesn’t make sense.
There is no real closure or resolution to the novel, Are the children possessed by aliens? Demons? Ghosts of the dead? Just as we feel we are getting to a resolution someone will pop up with another “Ah but are they” kind of curve-ball. One of the characters screams at another in a final scene to stop talking in riddles and give a straight answer. We know how they feel.
The narration of the audio-book by Andrew WIncott and Melanie McHugh is stand-out, though. They do a superb job of acting out a wide range of roles in this fractured narrative.
on 1 March 2015
It was called Black Thursday, the day four planes all went down in different areas, within hours of each other, the world is in an uproar and people want answers. Was it terrorists? An act of war? The officials are under pressure to find a mechanical cause to the crashes...but what if there isn't one? Three of the crashes....well they're clutching at straws to explain it away.
Meanwhile there's three child survivors, dubbed as The Three by press. After surviving the children appear to be changed from their former selves and exhibit strange behaviour, not to mention some of the things they say. A rapture cult led by a pastor is convinced they're the horse men of the apocalypse and starts to gain a huge following after one of his church goers who died in one crash, was discovered to have left a voice message about "the boy". But as the fanatics are whipping more people in a frenzy, and the pastor is convincing his followers to do away with the Three, their guardians are starting to suspect something isn't right.....
Oh my God this book was so awesome I can't even begin to tell you guys, my synopsis is also really crappy but like I still haven't processed how incredible this book is and let's be honest it's not often, if I ever that I give a 5 star rating to a book that isn't a YA type of affair. So you can see how this book is quite clearly special.
The Three is a book within a book and it's so well done, with the first little bit intriguing you enough to grab your attention, and then the book was so cleverly done, and I really enjoyed the layout. We have a book written about The Three, inside the book, it's bookception is what it is.
In this book about the "conspiracy" of the crashes and The Three, we see transcripts from IM's, phone conversations, articles, interviews and so on from members of the family and friends of the Three and some of the investigators, and you kind of have to decide for yourself if something freaky is going on, what exactly is going on and you know....decide what you believe about the whole thing, and you're given all this evidence.
Then the end of the book, that's the end of the book inside the book, is like...boom. Mind blown. It details what happens after the book has been written, and that's when you start to realize you where either right or wrong, and that something very strange is going on and has gone on. And then the last little page? Oh my God. I can't even.
I can't being to describe how incredible this book is, it's chilling, it's creepy, it's intriguing, it's gripping, it's spellbinding, you don't want to stop reading, you have to keep going to see what happens next, what's going on, and most of all it's original and so different with it's entire layout not to mention the actual plot itself which is so rich and complex.
The author expertly juggles all these points of view, essentially, and all these sources to create a plot that's utterly captivating and engrossing. Expertly switching from source or POV seamlessly, while keeping a narrative up without having an actual overarching narrative, which doesn't make sense when I type it out, but it does when you read it!
Like I said, I really loved how the book was done, with the transcripts and interviews and so on, instead of one narrative, it was very well done, it was original, and it added another level of awesome to the book, and I can't impinge it being done any other way, the various forms of correspondence worked very well for the book, and showing, very disturbingly, how quickly panic and terror causes people to spiral out of control very quickly.
Like I said (again) it added another level of awesome because it added another level of creepy, there was a foreboding sense, some of the material/sources ended rather ominously so you knew something was up, but not what, and some of the sources including our author are perhaps...unreliable. Is she being truthful? Or has she just picked the bits most likely to cause a stir and make a certain point?
While I did find the creepy children...well...very creepy, I mean it's hard not to think creepy when the kids are acting how they are, I would say this is more suspense than horror, while I did feel creeped out it wasn't to horror level, because I hate horror, because well.....I don't get on well with it because I like my sleep haha!
I know you're all thinking four plane crashes....but three kids....right. I was too, it was a question constantly in my mind, and there wasn't as much material about it, and it's for a good reason, and you'll find out when you're reading, but it's another fantastic point of intrigue, and the UK cover I have is so fitting for it.
The Three gives you glimpses of the lives of the children, and is structured in an original way that works so very well. As you read you'll be intrigued....creeped out by creepy children, there's mystery, you'll be kept guessing, you'll second guess yourself thanks to the uncertainty, and you'll be unable to stop reading, needing to pursue answers. Paul Craddock and Jess in particular, brought the creepiness, it was totally spine chilling, I wouldn't read those bits at night!
This book was downright unnerving, and it's safe to say I'm now a huge fan of the author, and I can't wait to read what she comes up with next! Even if it does creep me out to the max!
on 28 February 2015
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I was so excited when I received THE THREE, I mean, that synopsis… it promises big things! And I was immediately plunged into all-consuming terror – now you have to understand that this book is not merely unsettling, its downright disturbing! And I was absolutely lapping it up!
THE THREE is written as a book within a book; and that book is a documentary novel based on the aftermath of the four plane crashes on ‘Black Thursday’. Our fictional author, Elspeth Martins, collects official records, media samples, and the accounts of various people affected by the events of that day.
The crashes left only 3 known survivors between them; 3 children who are now acting very strangely – and this sets off a course of conspiracy theories from alien interference to the biblical ‘End of Days’.
As you are slowly drip-fed more details of what happened to all concerned following the crashes, you are left chilled to the bone, and with only more questions about what really happened and why.
The character development is absolute gold. With such a diverse collection of people, all given fantastic depth; and whilst they recount their experiences, you can’t help but be consumed by the intensity of their fear and emotion. All of them repeatedly and intriguingly refer to ‘what happened later’, and you just knew that something terrible was coming… thing is, I was already completely terrified by the details I was being given! I mean, seriously, this was the scariest book I’ve read since Stephen King, and we all know that is saying something!
There was a brief moment towards the end where I thought I could see where this was all going, and I was really worried that the ending was going to be a right cop out – and I would have been devastated seeing as how much I’d loved the whole thing so far. Then it was as if Lotz said “Haha, kidding Storm, here’s your ending…” – and this was just pure genius.
Overall, this was clever, addictive, and brilliantly terrifying. It most certainly earns a place in ‘Storm’s Favourites’, and I am just itching to read the follow-up; DAY FOUR.
Many thanks to the publisher for providing this book for review.