Book Report: The Three

The Three

What’s The Buzz?: The author known as Sarah Lotz is in fact a woman of many names – in fact she has no less than three pseudonyms. Under her actual name, her bibliography isn’t incredibly long, but buzz has been building for the release of her latest title, The Three. For one thing, the master of horror himself, Stephen King has picked this baby up and praised it. For another…well…call it an eerie work of timing. The book deals with a series of mysterious plane crashes, and with the global population still waiting to discover the whereabouts and outcome of Malaysia Air Flight MH370, this book is an extra chilling read.

What’s The Story?: As I mentioned above, The Three pivots around a day known as Black Tuesday, when four commerical passenger planes crashed on four separate continents, just hours apart. Only three survivors are recovered – all of them children – and the trio quickly gains notoriety as ‘The Three’, with conspiracy theorists positing the kids as everything from harbingers of the apocalypse to aliens. The story’s format is actually pretty similar to another runaway horror hit, World War Z, in that it’s actually a book within a book (bookended by some additional content), crafted by a woman named Elspeth. Rather than reading like a work of fiction, the ‘book’ is instead made up of transcripts, interviews, articles and more, all trying to cobble together the truth about The Three’s purported odd behaviours after the crash – because make no mistake, there’s a very heavy question as to ‘Are they or aren’t they?’ when it comes to assessing whether the kids really are demons / angels / possessed, etc.

I’m Easily Afraid. How Scary Is This Book?: On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say The Three ranks at about a 6 or 7 for the creepy factor. It’s not gore-laden like the horror genre can sometimes be, but it’s also not for the faint of heart. If you’re already antsy about flying, I’d say skip this one – the descriptions of the plane crashes are amongst the more gruesome passages in the book, however fact-based they may be. If you’re not a fan of the classic ‘creepy children’ horror trope, this is also one you may want to pass over – although the children themselves never really take centre stage (i.e. Elspeth never interviews them), they are present within just about every page. And the ending in particular may make your spine tingle.

Tell Me More About The Format & Style?: If you haven’t read World War Z, let me start there. That book gathered firsthand recollections to help identify what finally ended the war on the zombies, somewhat chronologically, somewhat in a meandering kind of way. This book is very similar; after a brief introduction about an American passenger’s experience while her plane goes down in Japan, the story flips into a ‘special rerelease’ of the fictional author’s compendium, The Three. The story is chronologically ordered and includes firsthand accounts from people that were involved in The Three’s story in one way or another, whether directly, as a caregiver, or perhaps indirectly, as one of the conspiracy theorists that emerged after the crashes. As a result of this organization, the style is more literary than you might expect from a horror novel. It’s not Jonathan Franzen or anything, but it’s also not a Dean Koontz paperback either.

Who Should Read This Book?: Well my first recommendation has got to be fans of World War Z. If you enjoyed that unique format, you’ll be pleased to see it make a reappearance here. Beyond that, if you’re just looking for a solidly crafted, eerie as all get out horror novel, The Three is a fun one to work your way through as each account included in Elspeth’s book (as well as the reveal at the end as to why it’s a ‘special edition’) helps build an increasingly clear but also confounding and ironic picture of what The Three brought down on Earth.

The Three is available in stores starting today, for $29. If you’re looking for a page-turning yet unique summer read for a friend that’s about to go on holidays, or for your book-loving best friend or spouse, consider picking this one up as an awesome gift idea. And of course, I’ve also got a copy to give away to a lucky, soon-to-be-spooked reader. Here’s how to enter:

1) Tell me in the comments below by June 11, 2014 – why do you want to read this book?

2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around June 12, 2014 to select the winner(s), who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.

4) Bonus Entry #1: Like Hachette Book Group Canada on Facebook and leave a comment on the wall as to why you’re soooo psyched to read this series. You don’t have to mention CGG, but you do have to leave a link to your comment below.

5) Bonus Entry #2: Add The Three to your ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads. Leave a link back to your to-read list on the page where the book is included to earn yet another bonus entry.

IMPORTANT: Please ensure all entries are submitted as separate comments. That means your base entry, and each of the bonus entries, should be 3 individual comments – otherwise your entries won’t be counted!

38 Responses to “Book Report: The Three”
  1. janicour says:

    For someone who loves dark genre fiction as much as I love originality and artistic bravery, the Three is a cause for a great weekend read. After the disappearance of the Malasian flight, I find this timely. ..

  2. Joan G says:

    Your comments have sparked my interest in this book and I would really like to read it.

  3. cookie3 says:

    I love dark themes & spooky stories so naturally I’d love to read this book also.

  4. Holly says:

    I like scary/creepy books!

  5. Jim says:

    I am not particularly interested in this book but my wife would just love it.

  6. Audrey Skinner says:

    I want to read this book because the story intrigues me.

  7. Susan says:

    I haven’t read a spine-tingler in a long time, so would like to read The Three.

  8. Susan T. says:

    I love a scary book and creepy children totally freak me out! I haven’t heard of this book before but it sounds like something I would totally be into.

  9. Alison K says:

    I want to read this book ‘cos the King of Horror gave his vote of approval & it’s not ghosty-horror but sounds more like brain-thinking horror. Throw in some conspiracy theory & aliens, man how can you go wrong? Yeah-yeah I’m intrigued!

  10. Alison K says:

    Goodreads Bonus Entry #2: Added The Three to my ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads

  11. GARRY S says:


  12. Kimberley says:

    I am a huge fan of World War Z and loved the format of the book, so I would like to read this one.

  13. neednewspace says:

    The Three has been on my TBR list since December. Thanks for the reminder and the great review!✓&search%5Bquery%5D=the+three+sarah+lotz

  14. Pam says:

    Looks like a good book

  15. truckerofbc says:

    What an ironic book to come out just after the malaysian 370 flight. Would love to read this and compare the two.

  16. mousecat says:

    Every time you do a book report I want to read the book! But I really like this genre too, so I’ll be reading it sometime!

  17. i need a page turner..i have not read a good book in a long time

  18. CLC says:

    I love eerie. Getting goosebumps is my thing!

  19. Angela Mitchell says:

    For about 10 years now I’ve been reading a lot of what Stephen King recommends. I discovered a book that I loved so much once that I rely on him for recommendations all the time. I love creepy books obviously, so I’m looking forward to reading this one.

  20. Angela Mitchell says:

    Added to my Goodreads shelf. Hope this link is right:

  21. Sarah Forrester says:

    I’m so psyched to read this book because I love planes and flying. I also like being scared while I read.

  22. Lisa S says:

    I love books like this and the creepier the better! Can wait to pick this one up!

  23. Lisa S says:

    my to be read shelf on 50 book pledge:

  24. Jacquie Hess says:

    My husband would like this book.

  25. Sharon says:

    It looks like a great book

  26. This book is right up my alley. I love anything horror/supernatural. And I fly a lot, but also have a terrible fascination with plane crash movies and stories. So this book would probably keep me lying bug-eyed in the dark for at least a week.

  27. linnett says:

    I would love to add this to my summer book pile, thanks

  28. Wanda Bergman says:

    I would love to read this because this is a new (to me) author and her books sounds super interesting.

  29. Lori P says:

    I enjoy reading a wide variety of books, and every now and again something to blow the cobwebs out of what I might expect. This sounds like just that book for an entertaining and unpredictable Summer read!

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