Book Review: The Three by Sarah Lotz (The Three #1)

The Three - Sarah Lotz

The monthly buddy reads with Beth @ Bibliobeth continue; for the month of November, we chose to read The Three by Sarah Lotz, having both enjoyed her novel, The White Road.


Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.


UK. South Africa. US. Japan. Four countries, four different continents, four planes crashed at the exact same time. The survivors: Pamela Donald, and the children, later known simply as The Three. Throughout the world this day became known as Black Thursday. This novel is the story of The Three, a ‘book within a book’, ‘Black Thursday’ as written by Elspeth Martins. This format was genius, essentially you’re reading a series of documents (witness accounts, articles, interviews, etc), this worked really well to build up a picture of events from all angles, across all continents.

Due to the formatting, and the differing locations of the crashes, there are a lot of characters in this novel. Sometimes you lose track of who’s who, especially in the beginning, but it doesn’t overly matter, as long as you know who the survivors are, everything else falls into place around their stories. Once you settle into the style Lotz chose for this novel, you’re hooked. You have your first-hand accounts, a conspiracy theory or two, and some descriptions that will creep you out. This sense of unease in some of the events that followed the crash was brilliant, it was the unease that, despite the feelings of unsettlement, you were desperate to know what was happening.

What was great about this novel was its realism, the mass hysteria surrounding the events and its meaning, people trying to take advantage of this hysteria for their own gain. Namely, the pastor, who wanted to direct the dialogue in a religious way, but the benefits were to himself, not to the community. There’s a great interview in the novel where he was completely railroaded, it was brilliant, one of my favourite documents to read!

While this novel is essentially Elspeth’s book, the narration comes from a range of characters, and this built such a well-rounded narrative. Of the surviving children, the story of Jess was my favourite, likely because it was the creepiest, and had me asking the most questions. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say, all aspects of this book were fantastic. The Three is a seriously underrated novel, and I just don’t understand why it rates so low on Goodreads, please read this one and decide for yourself. This novel is a duology, and I’m so excited to read the sequel, Day Four!

As there is a sequel, don’t expect everything to be sufficiently concluded in this one, the ending is satisfactory, but will leave you with questions that will hopefully be answered in the next book.

A large part of this books success was in its delivery, if you’ve enjoyed books with this documentary style narration, books such as Sleeping Giants, and House of Leaves, then you’ll be right at home with this novel. It’s dark in nature, and will have you wanting to know as much as you can about what occurred! You’ll want information from every angle, Black Thursday is a day that will never be forgotten, The Three is the aftermath.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

Previous buddy reads with Beth

The Fireman by Joe Hill – My review / Beth’s review

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – My review / Beth’s review

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – My review / Beth’s review

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – My review / Beth’s review

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #1) – My review / Beth’s review

The Girls by Emma Cline – My review / Beth’s review

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #2) – My review / Beth’s review

17 thoughts on “Book Review: The Three by Sarah Lotz (The Three #1)

  1. I’ve been on the fence about this for a while.
    Haven’t read any of the other books you mentioned with similar / documentary style, so i’m not sure i’d like that. I don’t usually like non-fiction and kinda thought it will be like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your review of this book is perfect timing for me! Sarah Lotz has a short story in the anthology I’m reading right now and I just put her on my list of authors to check out because I loved it. I’m thinking I might just start here!

    Liked by 1 person

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