Three by Jay Posey is an interesting look into a futuristic dystopian world where humans live in walled and scattered settlements, scavenging and living life day and hiding from terrible electronic zombies, known as the Weir, by night. I didn’t love the book, but at the same time, I did not hate it either. I felt like the world building was done excellently. Mr. Posey painted a living and vivid dystopian world. The writing was well done too. His prose wasn’t the artful stroke of a master’s brush, but it was easy enough on my eyes. The plot felt weak and fragmented to me. I regularly found myself reading to explore the setting and not really caring about the character’s individual goals. But sadly, the biggest weak point in the book were the characters. The protagonist and the supporting characters were all cookie cutter examples I could easily find in other stories, and their relationships felt forced and inorganic. While I won’t be busy pushing this book to all the people I know, if you’re a fan of futuristic dystopian novels, you could certainly do worse than Three.
I’d like to incorporate a new element into my reviews. The book cover. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” As an author I can relate to this statement. But as a reader, I can tell you we all do it. It’s just a part of marketing a book. The cover is the first impression a book will ever get to make, so it’s important.
I like the cover of the book. It’s dark, gritty, and I’m pretty fond of the artwork. It clearly tells me what kind of book I’m in for and it doesn’t miscommunicate. There were a few downsides though, having read the book I like the cover less as there are a few inconsistencies between the character portrayed on the cover and the character in the book. Three (the book’s protagonist) uses a pistol. I cannot think of a single instance in the book where he uses a rifle (nor can I think of anyone else in the book using a rifle), but the character on the front of the book clearly has a rifle on his back. I also had to take time to figure out what the publisher’s mark was. I initially thought it was a really sloppy mistake left over by the cover artist but after a bit of study I discovered it was the Angry Robot logo.
1. The most dominating facet of the book is its setting. The book takes place in a fallen world where humanity rules the day, but cowers in the night, hiding from the digital undead known as the Weir. Posey inserts just the right amount of futuristic slang mixed with modern day colloquialism, allowing the reader to slowly and meaningfully absorb his world. I think the world was the thing I enjoyed the most about this novel by far.
2. The writing and editing were above what I would consider par. As I said earlier, Posey did not weave words together in such a way that he made a beautiful tapestry, but his art was performed well enough that I was able to appreciate it. I do have to say though that there were a few oddities. The first paragraph or so of chapter six is all in caps, something that you don’t see with any other chapter. Mr. Posey also has an intense love of one-word sentences and sentence fragments.
1. The characters in the story did not feel organic to me. They felt like they did what the author’s pen (keystrokes) told them to do, as if they were puppets dancing to along with the tugs and twists of a puppeteers strings, rather than real people who reacted to things in a real manner. The main character and his friends even go as far to frequently recognize the fact that he is acting out of character for no real reason (other than those the author has given him).
2. The love story. I absolutely hate it when someone tosses a love story into something just because it’s a basic and universally understandable human emotion. That doesn’t mean that it has to be forced into every story written. The “love story” in this book felt forced, unnatural, and just kind of downright silly at times. I really feel like it detracted from the overall story.
1. ***SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER*** Never ever ever revive a character, I hate that. Doing so completely removes the concept and consequences of mortality from your world. In some instances ( Gandalf) it is acceptable that some characters operate outside of the rules that govern the rest of us. When anyone can become immortal, and even super-human, you ruin the dangers of mortality and destroy the consequences associated with death. Life threatening danger is no longer life threatening.
2. The plot was really overshadowed by the setting of the story for me. I was able to follow the plot but it felt fragmented and insignificant compared to the world it took place in. I was far more interested in knowing more about the towns of Morningside and Greenstone as opposed to why they were going there. I’m not really sure if this is a really a problem. One exceptionally well done part of a book overshadowing another may not be odd, but it was something I noticed.
The world has collapsed under the weight of an unknown catastrophe, leaving behind a broken and hollow shell of its former self. All manner of threats walk these wastelands: scavengers, slavers, the Weir. But the most dangerous thing out there? Three. A lone gunman and bounty hunter. While delivering a bounty in a small town, he is approached by a desperate woman and her child who beg him for his help. He initially decides that he cannot help them, but something about the pair intrigues him and he decides to help them. The only problem is that helping them will take them across ruined cities, through a swath of nearly complete destruction, and may even cost Three his life.