I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Three: A Novel on May 20th 2014
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...
When four planes crash on separate continents with a child being the sole survivor in each crash except one, the day becomes known as Black Thursday and the survivors become known as The Three. A woman named Pamela May Donald survives long enough to record a message on her cell phone, a warning that many go on to believe is a message straight from God.
“They’re here. […] The boy watch the boy watch the death people oh Lordy there’s so many… They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us.”
Conspiracy theorists believe the children have been abducted by aliens or are possessed by the devil but the religious zealots are convinced that these children are representative of the four horseman of the apocalypse and that there is a fourth child that did survive and must be found. When these children are returned to their relatives, they indicate an unsettling change in these children but wouldn’t that be something one would expect after being the sole survivor of a horrific plane crash? The real question here is: Are they right to be worried about what’s going on with these children and their mental state or is it all just a product of the conspiracy theorists and their stories taking root in everyone’s minds?
The Three is actually written as a non-fiction book entitled “Black Thursday: From Crash to Conspiracy” which is written by the fictional character Elspeth Martins. For those of you who have read World War Z by Max Brooks, The Three is written in a similar manner by using witness testimonies but also chat room transcripts, news articles and blog posts. The chapters bounce back and forth between various individuals associated with the survivors and tells the story of life following the crash, with constant foreboding of a bleak future for all involved. Normally, I would find this writing style and constant switch back and forth between various individuals to be jarring but each and every witness accounting was incredibly interesting and I was completely engaged, eager for the next detail of these peoples lives.
The Three is a compelling and well-written novel that showcases a unique style of writing that was completely absorbing. It unfortunately suffers greatly from an ambiguous ending. An ambiguous ending filled with so many unknown factors can leave the reader with an uneasiness that warrants contemplation well after the book is finished, and while The Three has in fact kept me contemplating, I don’t feel the author gave enough answers to formulate my own opinion of what was truly going on. I don’t expect (or desire) that a story have a perfectly wrapped up with a bow on top sort of ending but turning that final page and having more answers than questions should be a given. Regardless, I still thoroughly enjoyed this mesmerizing novel and eagerly await more from this author.