Author: Sarah Lotz
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Source: personal purchase
Summary from Goodreads:
Hundreds of pleasure-seekers stream aboard The Beautiful Dreamer cruise ship for five days of cut-price fun in the Caribbean sun. On the fourth day, disaster strikes: smoke roils out of the engine room, and the ship is stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. Soon supplies run low, a virus plagues the ship, and there are whispered rumors that the cabins on the lower decks are haunted by shadowy figures. Irritation escalates to panic, the crew loses control, factions form, and violent chaos erupts among the survivors.
When, at last, the ship is spotted drifting off the coast of Key West, the world's press reports it empty. But the gloomy headlines may be covering up an even more disturbing reality.
First, Sarah Lotz ruined air travel for all of us in The Three. Now, Lotz is back with Day Four to sabotage what is arguably my favorite mode of travel: cruising.
|In a previous life, I vacationed without children and did ridiculous dances in life vests.|
First and foremost, I've read a few reviews of this book that were written by people who did not read The Three first, and many of them did enjoy it as a stand-alone. However, as someone who has read both, I absolutely think you should read The Three first. There are SO many good connections between these two books, and while I wouldn't say Day Four is a sequel in the traditional sense (not much character overlap, completely different setting, etc), there are a lot of small details that clicked perfectly for me in this novel, simply because I knew how they played out previously in The Three. Plus, the ending of Day Four is good on its own, but it is mind-blowing if you put it in the context of The Three.
But let's be clear...Day Four is not The Three. First, it is much, much creepier. Day Four would be an excellent horror movie; I can imagine just how spine-tingling some of those visuals would be. The Three definitely was unsettling, but it's format (told via book excerpts, interviews, chat forums, etc) does not convey quite the same tone as Day Four's third-person narrative.
That said, I did find that the story moved a bit more slowly for me in Day Four. I think the constantly-changing narrative in The Three is part of what made me read it so fast--there was always a new perspective, and that made the novel hard to put down. In Day Four, you do have several different POVs between chapters, but they are all essentially telling the same tale from various viewpoints, and about halfway through the book I felt like the entire story hit the brakes. We're stuck at sea...we're still stuck at sea...things are getting kind of weird...running out of food...stillllll stuck at sea...etcetera. I was feeling rather disappointed, honestly, between the 50-75% marks of the book (I read it on Kindle).
However--the last quarter of the novel made the wait worth it. I positively flew through the last section (as the book description alludes--this is when the ship is finally discovered in Miami), and I love love loved the ending. The only caveat: the ending (and the entire message behind this book) is probably only going to be enjoyed by readers who liked the ending to The Three. As you know from my previous review, I was a huge fan of it, but I've talked to several readers who didn't love the open-ended nature of its conclusion. If that didn't ring well with you in the first novel, then you might have a bit of trouble with Day Four, as it builds on many of the same themes.
Overall, what Day Four lacked in fast pacing, it more than made up for in its crazy, mind-bending conclusion, and it is an excellent follow-up to The Three. Sarah Lotz has a serious talent for exploring the fluidity of "life after death", and has most definitely earned a spot on my Favorite Authors list. If you want a book that will leave your wheels turning for a long time afterwards, this is the read for you.
Where are my fellow cruise lovers?? What's the last cruise you took (destination, cruise line, etc)? Or, if you've never cruised (or heaven forbid, hate cruising), what's your favorite mode of travel? Perhaps you, too, can experience the privilege of having it ruined by Sarah Lotz in her next novel!