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Publisher's Summary

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....

©2014 Sarah Lotz (P)2014 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Lotz is a ferociously imaginative storyteller whose twisty plots will kick the stairs out from under you. She's a talent to watch." - Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.3 out of 5.0
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    33
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    57
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    54
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    22
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    20

Performance

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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    62
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    54
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    24
  • 2 Stars
    9
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    12

Story

  • 3.2 out of 5.0
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    28
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    23
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    24
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  • Story

Meh

What would have made The Three better?

The Three is like many books in the horror/suspense genre. Its premise and character development are much stronger than the plot. As a result, the conclusion of the book feels unsatisfying relative to the investment made by the reader/listener. I think this book would be much stronger had the author figured out a way to deliver her "make you wonder" conclusion within the construct of a single narrative style. Most of the novel is spent within a book-inside-a-book done in the recounting style of World War Z. The very beginning and very end are spent in standard third-person narration. This shift is distracting and makes the ending feel a bit more like a letdown.

What was most disappointing about Sarah Lotz’s story?

The underlying question of the novel is "who or what are the Three?" The conclusion is intended to leave you going "whoa" or "what the!?!" Instead, I found myself going "meh". I do not want to spoil the ending, so it is difficult to elaborate. I believe the author's intent with the ending is to make you rethink various clues throughout the novel. Fair enough. I enjoy books that try to do this. But it is a little annoying with this book because the punchline does not really answer the underlying question. And the punchline is simply not strong enough to make you want to reflect back upon the nuances of the story.

Have you listened to any of Andrew Wincott and Melanie McHugh ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I was unfamiliar with the work of the narrators. They both did an excellent job.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The Three draws you in with its premise and character development. My feelings about this novel are similar to my feelings about many of Stephen King's books -- the plot and conclusion were a bit of a letdown. Like King, I think Ms Lotz could easily hit a home run with a future novel.

Any additional comments?

There is an interesting commentary in the background of this book about the potential for the Christian Right to gain control of the US government such that the American republic is radically reshaped. I think the book could have gone in a very interesting direction by exploring this idea in more detail.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Different

I normally would not like a book put together like this. It is written as reading a book within a book and continually changes view points of multiple characters some significant and some just adding another small piece to the puzzle. The author with the help of some great narrators pulls this off well to make a smooth and highly interesting story. I don't want to say much to spoil the plot other than I had to listen straight through. The ending left me a little disappointed as I never really knew for sure what the kids were, it just gives you an idea of what they are but not an definitive answer. The narrators were excellent, they did so well that you could forget your listening to a book and just become immersed in it.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Matthew
  • SEATTLE, WA, United States
  • 06-11-14

Book your ticket now!!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If only for the performances alone, I highly recommend this offering. The 2 readers are simply stunning. Even several weeks after listening to it, I think of the characters and the way they were brought to life in the reading.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Three?

The conclusion, though somewhat contrived, is truly a revelation. I can anticipate ( and hope for ) a sequel.

Which scene was your favorite?

As above.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

True Survivors?

Any additional comments?

This is a sprawling, powerful and fascinating book. I can't say enough about the performers . Highly recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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When does it all come together?

By the time I realized I wasn’t actually enjoying this book, I had too much time invested to quit...

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I wanted to like this but it was terrible awful.

The way it was written was confusing and the climax was anticlimactic. No real explanation. Sorry this book was bad.

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Better read than listened

I liked the story but since most puff the story is correspondence over social media or email it might have served better to read the physical version of this book rather than listening to someone read all the hashtags and user names.

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Incredible

Gripping story that leaves you wanting more. Stephen King recommended her as an author and I was absolutely not disappointed. In fact,I purchased Day Four by the same author prior to finishing this story.

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Pre Apocalypse

This is a character driven epic about the pre-apocalypse. I was initially throw off by how the story is told but once I found the groove I grew to appreciate the narrative and how the novel moves forward. It has a lot of characters, some recurring, some not recurring but all tied to the events of black Thursday where four simultaneous plane crashes happen with the only remains being 3 child survivors.

What makes the story interesting is how society responds to an unexplainable phenomenon. While all the four crashes have scientific explanations for how the planes went down the speculation of why is what sends ripples throughout the world. The idea of four plane crashes is just enough for people to blow off as a coincidence but the three child survivors are perfect fodder for religious nuts and the tin foil hat types. Everyone has their theories but evangelicals and conspiracy theorists have a unique style of influence and with the internet at their disposal, they can be more influential than ever. The book is very meta. There is a book within the book and much of the story moves forward, via emails, interview transcripts, tweets, and skype sessions. It is really like you are reading the transcript to a documentary. I can’t imagine how much work it was for Lotz to create and put all of these various puzzle pieces together to form a coherent narrative. She pulls it off, though. There are some reoccurring characters and the way Lotz intertwines the stories of the three kid survivors and how the plane crash affects them and their families is impressive. There is a beautiful side story about one of the kid survivor’s grandmothers and her having to in the kid while caring for her husband that suffers from Alzheimer’s.

Honestly, with the way things are going on in the world, I found this book to be relevant and prescient on many levels. It has an international feel to it as the plane crashes happen in the Florida, UK, Japan, and Africa. The internet and the spread of information plays a role in society’s downfall. Religious fanatics use the events of “Black Thursday” and internet to bring upon a dystopia they think reflects their prophecy. I see there is a follow-up book called Day Four which I intend to check out. I am definitely in on this series and am looking forward to seeing what Lotz has next. Also, I want to add that I listened to the audiobook version of this novel and it is performed well. There are so many characters and the two narrators do a good job.

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Extremely good

I honestly cannot understand why this book didn't spread like wild fire. I loved the story. I loved the way the writing style reminded me of WWZ, another book I thought was brilliant. I thought the narrators did a great job of not sounding redundant. I wish I could buy a copy for everybody I knew who loves to read.

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No answers

I found parts of this book very intriguing, but I kept waiting for the crescendo that never came. It felt very much like an unfinished story.

The setup was neat. The book is a series of interviews that piece together a tragic accident and the aftermath for families and the world written by a fictitious author who eventually becomes part of the narrative. You really are drawn into the private horror that some families living with the changes fate has foisted upon them.

But, ultimately, I found myself to be annoyed with the book. Some of the consequences surrounding the fallout of the accident were too far-fetched and ill-conceived to be a believable or even logical part of the story. Aside from the feeling of an unfinished story, perhaps my biggest issue was that the setup of the book didn't allow the author to spend more time fleshing out the larger sociopolitical elements of the world. That setup made revelations in the latter half seem incongruous to the overall story.

So, the book goes like this. Lots of time on heart-wrenching family stories, the world falls apart, the end.

But, perhaps, I simply don't want to admit I live in such a fragile world.