The Three by Sarah Lotz
Where do I start with this one? It was a dark and stormy night and the strong and angry wind blew ragged holes in my introduction.
The Three is a difficult book to categorize. Is it supernatural, sci-fi, or just an examination of the human condition and sometimes tendency towards mass hysteria?
The premise is based upon four plane crashes that occur at the same time but in different parts of the world. One drops in Florida. One just off the Portuguese coast. One falls in Japan and one in Cape Town. Yet, as impossible as it may seem, there are survivors, four in all. One is an adult who lives just long enough to record a cryptic voice message. The remaining three are children who become the focus of intense speculation and accusation, partly because of said voice message.
The plot is fairly strong, and at least it’s something different from a lot of what is being released today. We are made to wonder if the children are indeed what the lunatic element say they are, or are they simply children who have got lucky in surviving, yet have been through a terrible ordeal and now face the worst excesses of the human condition.
I have reviewed other books by Sarah Lotz and The Three is similar in terms of the quality of writing. Lotz can write, but she’s no all-time great. The dialogue is decent and consistent, but I do feel that this novel is very slow to get going. It’s bloated. There’s too much content, and it would probably have been better served by some serious editing.
The Three has a good story-line which is somewhat ruined by over-elaboration. There are a lot of characters, and it took me a while to get a fix on who was who, as the chapters bounce from one continent to another. Yet, as the tale became more fully developed, I found it increasingly attractive and, as a result, I became more attentive to it.
There is not a computer whizz-kid or hitman in sight. There were no filthy rich friends with private planes on tap and sophisticated weaponry coming out the wazoo. There were no scheming serial killers who dressed in the skins of their victims whilst playing the panpipes.
There were, however, lots of very foolish and flawed people who get swept up in a media-generated hysteria that leads to disaster. Now where have we encountered that story-line recently?
I didn’t enjoy the ending to this book, but then I believe that I have made the same complaint previously about Sarah Lotz’s books. All-in-all, The Three isn’t dire. It isn’t enough to make you weep for time lost whilst reading it. It isn’t so bad that you would rather give Theresa May a back, sack and crack wax. It is not poor enough to make you want to use the time to go to Saudi Arabia and walk around in a bikini that you borrowed from your 80 year old grandmother, all the while singing ‘I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts’. It’s just alright.
Sult scale rating: 5 out of 10. Not recommended, unless the alternative is reading Trump’s entire list of grooming products.