25 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
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. There’s also a search going on for “Kenneth”, the rumored survivor of the Africa crash. Also in the mix is testimony from the crash investigators and a few others. It makes for a potent brew.
This is a complex book, and there’s really no easy way to sum up the events. I can say that Lotz is an expert in the creepies, but I already knew that (see The Mall, her novel as ½ of SL Grey). For example, Pamela’s plane lands in Aokigahara, also known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees. It’s estimated that up to 100 suicides occur there each year. There are actually signs there encouraging people to reconsider their actions. Like I said, creepy. Hauntingly beautiful, but creepy. Pamela’s last vision before her death includes some of the most unsettling imagery in the book. The kids are certainly a bit “off”, most of all Jess, and Bobby seems to have a miraculous effect on one of his family members. The biggest clue to what’s going on, early in the book, comes from Jess, and her uncle’s suspicion that she’s not the real Jess begins to consume him. His spiral is devastating, but you won’t be able to tear your eye’s away.
It’s not worth your time to try to plug this book into any particular genre. It has horror elements, certainly, and thriller elements, but considering the end times angle, and Pastor Lem’s certainty that The Three are harbingers of Revelations being upon us, it’s also a very clever, and thoughtful exploration of extremism in all its forms, and also our fascination with disaster and its aftermath. Lotz’s character studies are nothing short of fascinating, and if the book’s structure kept me at arm’s length from the characters a bit, that’ s ok, because this book is so damn cleverly put together, and Lotz’s attention to detail is phenomenal. The Three will reward readers in the end, at least it did me, and each little slice of life, and death, that I experienced along the way was a treat. The Three is a solid, absorbing-and yes, creepy-solo effort from a very talented author. Can’t wait to see what she does next!
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
My love affair with horror has endured longer than with any other genre. My habit in my youth was to wait until everyone was asleep before delving into a new horror book. Like setting up for a romantic interlude, the mood had to be right, uninterrupted privacy ensured. While it did not happen often, there was excitement in the hope that the next book holds frightening delights. I wanted to be scared, I wanted to be afraid of going down the stairs for a glass of water. Such moments were more precious for their rarity.
I wanted to fall in love with this novel. It has been a really long time since I experienced a visceral fear whilst reading a horror novel. I had high expectations, purchasing it on release date. Sadly, however, I do not feel it lived up to all the ballyhoo that preceded its release. It had a great premise and a curious and interesting format, but it failed to deliver on the promise of being a must-read horror novel. Simply put, I did not love it.
Four commercial planes go down almost at the same time, in four different countries, in four different continents. Only three survivors were found, all children, from three of the four planes. The seemingly synchronized crashes gave rise to numerous rumors. When terrorism was ruled out, conspiracy theorists zeroed in on the three young survivors, decreeing their survival suspect and an impossibility, giving rise to all manner of speculation from a miracle to alien interference to the signaling of an impending apocalypse.
The Three, as the survivors came to be called, became the subjects of endless media scrutiny. The theory that gained the greatest momentum came from religious fanatics who declared the children the embodiment of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as written in the Book of Revelations in the Christian bible, prompting a crazed search for a fourth child survivor they were certain existed and was just waiting to be found.
The children’s guardians began noticing behavioral anomalies-- the children seemed different from the way they were before the planes crashed. The behavioral anomalies did not seem consistent with and went beyond the presumed trauma that they suffered. If anything, they appeared unfazed and unemotional about their respective experience. As insane as it sounded, the guardians entertained the nagging thought that the children were not who they appeared to be, changed in a way they could not identify.
THE THREE is a novel about the process of writing a novel. Journalist Elspeth Martins was writing a book about the plane crashes, the survivors and other persons relating to them. The story is told in an epistolary style, a novel compiling available letters and other documents – interviews, correspondences, media features, government reports – from various sources. It read like a documentary or an episode of 60 Minutes or 48 Hours. Through these papers, we were given insight into the incidents and the lives of the survivors and their caretakers before and after the crashes, and the people in a position to observe them. Strictly speaking, there is no narrator, the accounts found in the documents serving the purpose of telling the story from different perspectives.
In the beginning, the manner in which the story is told was captivating, engaging and intriguing. About thirty percent into the book, however, the same strength of storytelling slowly began the transformation into its weakness. It started being droll, feeling clinical, sometimes seemingly repetitive and --yes-- even boring. The documentary-style storytelling also made it difficult to form any empathetic bond with the characters. While relatable or empathetic characters are not necessary components of a good tale, together with my other difficulties with this book, my general disappointment was not assuaged. A part of this is due to the restrictions of the storytelling mode which necessitated a slew of characters, some of whom I am not quite sure were truly necessary or relevant, some felt contrived, others seemed to have been added for novelty or quirk.
Despite all this though, I did continue reading and finished the book. The underlying mystery remained sufficient enough motivation to continue reading, though the reading became less and less enjoyable, a bit of a slog in parts. To be honest, after the halfway point, I had invested enough time in the book that I felt I had to see it through to the end and there was always the hope for a grand surprise, some unexpected climax and sublime ending that would reverse the escalating ennui.
I'm not certain I agree with the classification of THE THREE as a horror tale. I would classify it more as a psychological or mystery thriller perhaps. For me, it lacks the visceral quality of a true horror tale, one that spurs spontaneous physical tremor as well as scaring you out of your mind. Any fear it engendered was almost purely speculative or intellectual, possibly imagined. While cerebral horror tales do exist, THE THREE just did not feel like it fit into that category. It read and felt like an academic case study which would largely preclude the primal fear that a horror tale should evince. The uncertainty or mystery can be assessed in a rather clinical manner much like a psychological treatise, anathema to a horror tale. At least to me.
The ending was also rather anti-climactic. It is not the fact that the ending was ambiguous that I have issue with. I rather enjoy ambiguous or open-ended tales where the writer allows the reader’s imagination to take the tale further. My issue is that the ending did not provide anything more than what I knew less than halfway into the story. There were no surprises or significant twists or revelations that were not available earlier on in the story. It is not unfair to say that the whole story is a mere intellectual evaluation and reevaluation of theories repeatedly presented. Neither were the religious or technological themes explored particularly original. Other books have raised these issues before, some better, some not.
Perhaps my disappointment felt greater because of the fanfare that surrounded the release of this book. It was lauded as an exceptional horror novel and I wanted it to be everything that the early reviewers had said it would be. Sadly, I did not find it to be the case. THE THREE was not a bad book. It had an intriguing concept and was entertaining enough. While I cannot highly recommend it, I am sure there are others who will find it a more satisfying read than I did.