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The Three: A Novel Kindle Edition

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Length: 515 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2014: The "facts" are these: four planes crash almost simultaneously in different parts of the world; three children survive, against all reason. When one victim's ominous final voicemail message makes headlines, the religious and out-of-this-world conspiracy theories are abound. Sarah Lotz masters a chorus of distinct character voices as she tells a thrilling, disturbing story in the guise of a nonfiction oral history. The "author" is a character herself, presenting interviews, chat transcripts, book excerpts, and news stories. Lotz commits so fully to each character's perspective that we can never quite determine which is the telling the “truth”--if any. Prepare to be surprised, mesmerized, frustrated, spooked, and utterly entertained. Remind yourself occasionally that it's not real, but maybe play it safe and avoid reading this book on a plane.--Robin A. Rothman

From Booklist

Around the world, at almost the same time, four passenger airplanes plummet to the earth. There are no survivors, apart from three children (on three separate planes) and a woman who soon dies but not before leaving a recorded message that warns listeners to “watch the dead people.” The young survivors, soon dubbed The Three by the press, become worldwide sensations, even as some begin to suspect something is not quite right about them. Theories about The Three start to spread: they’re harbingers of doom, says one theory, the embodiments of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; no, says another, they were chosen for survival by our reptilian alien overlords. As it turns out, no one has any real notion of just how important and dangerous these children really are. The author’s use of the oral-history format, with its shifting voices and points of view, is a stroke of genius: the reader is in a state of near-constant confusion at the beginning, which is slowly replaced by unease and then dread as the various commentators start to see the bigger picture. A very creepy, very effective novel. --David Pitt

Product Details

  • File Size: 1667 KB
  • Print Length: 515 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316299626
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (May 20, 2014)
  • Publication Date: May 20, 2014
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,379 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Scarlet Aingeal on June 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Amelia Gremelspacher TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book immediately snares the reader with the disparate views of the crash of four different commuter flights. The viewpoints of a passenger, of a waiting relative, of EMT and of investigaters lead the evolving mystery. While complex, the plot knits together seamlessly as the unanswered questions mount. Three small children have survived wrecks of immense horror. Right away they serve as lightening rods for the grief and the lack of answers.

I think that a prevailing hook to this book is the need for explanations when tragedy hits. As we have seen currently with the missing airplane, the dropping of people from the sky fills one with dread. It would seem preferable in some way for an unknown threat to have caused the failure than for random fate to have entered our lives. As one relative notes, our seeing off of loved ones has become almost prosaic. "See you when you're older mate." is a comfortable enforcement of the idea that one's twin will return from a perfectly routine flight.

Each of the different narrator's bring his/her own voice to the story. This book is remarkable in the varying points of view that are successfully assumed. I was particularly invested in the Japanese relative of one survivor in her online dialogue with a hikikomori, recluse, about her struggles to reach her nephew. I also have a soft spot for the actor uncle who undertakes to raise his niece safe from the "Addam's family" of her deceased mother.. The characters are fully realized adding an unsettling element to the undercurrent of supernatural. In addition, the settings are diverse and rich. Japan's Aokigahara Forest is an eerie site of one of the crashes which comes to vivid detail. It is a real forest, and this adds to the texture of the setting.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By MyBookishWays on May 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Four planes crash in different places throughout the world. Three children, one from each of three sites, are the only survivors, although there are pervasive rumors of a fourth. An American woman (the only one on a Japanese flight), Pamela May Donald, supposedly survives long enough after one of the crashes to leave a cryptic message on her phone, directed at a certain Pastor Len, that alludes to a boy and “the dead people.” This leads Pastor Len to believe that the children may be three of the four horsemen, and that the end times are approaching. That sounds more simplistic than it really is, though. There is a progression, not only of events, but of certain ideas, that lead to such apocalyptic talk, and a rather odd fervor is created. But, a little should be said about the survivors. All are of a certain age (under 10) and come from fairly different backgrounds, two boys and a girl. Jess Craddock is sent to live with her gay uncle Paul, little Bobby’s grandparents, including a grandfather suffering from Alzheimer’s, takes him in, and little Hiro Yanagida, the son of a brilliant Japanese robot expert, is left with his aunt and cousin. The boy, in fact, communicates only through a lifelike robot that his father has created in his image. If you think that sounds creepy, you’d be right. The story of these three unusual kids is told in book-inside-a-book form, called Black Thursday: From Crash to Conspiracy by Elspeth Martins, and each tale is laid out in quite different ways. Paul and Jess’s tale plays out via Paul’s confessional style voice recordings, Bobby’s by way of interviews of his grandmother and neighbors, and Hiro’s in the form of his teen cousin Chiyoko’s instant messages to a lonely young man, Ryu, that longs to be with her.Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Tollerton on July 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I like the premise of this book and the attempt at a unique story-telling style. I tried to fall in love with this book as I read it, but I struggled for many of the same reasons others have posted:

- The "chapters" were scattered. Too many characters introduced late in three or four story lines made it difficult to follow.

- There was a lack of suspense or thrill. The only suspense I felt as I read the book would be in the last sentence or two in a section. It was enough to keep me starting the next chapter, but there wasn't much to hold on to.

- I hate to say it, but there really did seem to be an effort to associate religious extremism with mainstream Judeo-Christianity as part of some knock against the United States. I consider myself a social liberal, but I could sense some bias against people of faith on the part of the author.

The book was a great idea and I can only imagine the imagination that went into it. I just wish it had a little more excitement.
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