Tuesday 17 February 2015

The Three - Sarah Lotz

Title: The Three
Author: Sarah Lotz
Genre: Horror
Published: 2014
Formats: Hardback/Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

“The Three” by Sarah Lotz is mainly described around the internet as a horror novel although after reading it, I would say that it would be more apt to describe it as an interesting cocktail of multiple genres. It basically contains facets of mystery, horror, thriller and religious literature whilst also trying to maintain some semblance of realism.

The story starts with four plane crashes happening almost simultaneously across the globe. Three children are the only survivors and their very survival seems to be miraculous, resulting in some rather intriguing theories. So the plot follows the children, their families and some external forces who are very interested in how and why the children survived.

As I said earlier, the book does include a lot of elements from other genres but there is still an overall tone of horror present throughout. However, this isn’t the type of horror that includes gore or shocks; it is the type that provides the reader with a creepy undertone and a sense of unease about what may really be happening.

In regards to the style of the writing, well everything is told in the manner of a documentary with various books, newspaper articles, interviews and recordings being used to tell the story. It was an interesting style which helped to give the book a sense of realism and provide the reader with multiple points of view from which to understand the various events. However, this factual documentary style meant that emotional engagement with the characters was rather limited and I therefore didn’t really care much about any of them.

My main issue with the novel was probably the pacing. It started off wonderfully, with the plane crashes, the initial responses and the foreshadowing of tragedy that was going to unfold. The pace then changed and the plot slowed to a crawl with very little movement in the story and various plot lines that didn’t really add anything valuable to the story. It actually became a chore to read and then when you get to the ending it doesn’t even reward you properly for getting to it.

The ending was quite simply irritating in the extreme. After dragging on the story for so long the reader is then given an open and ambiguous ending. Was it terrorists, aliens, the four horsemen, plain happenstance or something completely different? I don’t know and because of this I feel incredibly cheated. I now know there is a sequel novel but I don’t know if I can face reading it as I worry that Lotz will follow the same method and continue to leave out some form of final pay-off!

Overall, it is an interesting enough story and I thoroughly enjoyed the initial portion of the book before it began to drag on. There is a lot of potential here but there was a fair bit of filler present which should have been cut by the editing team. If the novel had been a bit sharper and quicker I could probably have also forgiven the rather open ending but instead I slogged through the 2nd half of the novel and received little reward.


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