18 July 2014

Review: The Three

The Three
The Three by Sarah Lotz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

No book I have read recently that I've enjoyed and finished has frustrated me the way The Three has.

The book is sort of a World War Z take on four plane crashes that occur at the same time around the world. There are three child survivors, and it ushers in a weird reaction where some see it as a biblical apocalpyse, others various conspiracy theories, there are questions of immortality, and so on and so forth. Conceptually, the idea is really fascinating and certainly kept me going on this book.

What's frustrating about it? For one, far too many of the characters end up sounding exactly the same, which just doesn't work in a book like this. While there are really fully-formed, distinct characters (most notably the Asian survivor's contingent), the rest feels really similar whether you're in Cape Town or in the Americas. For another, the journalistic angle the narrative takes ultimately leaves a lot more questions than answers, and, while I get that the choice taken here is the point, it really didn't work within the existing narrative. This is not to say all raised questions needed to be answered, but it also means that, when providing a Lost-style story, the end result of leaving some questions unanswered needs to be much more compelling than what was ultimately offered.

This is less a story of survivors than a story of people dealing with a confusing world. I can see why I was drawn to it, and I can see why other people have come to enjoy this. It's just so flawed and so riddled with unforced errors that made me feel like it could have been more that those issues offset what was otherwise a quick and occasionally entertaining read. I can't recommend as much as I'd like to, although you could do worse if you're looking for a sci-fi beach-style read.

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