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Review: The One by John Marrs

on May 25, 2017

The One
John Marrs
Ebury Publishing
2017, 416p
Copy courtesy Random House UK via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes.

One tiny DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love.

Now, five more people take the test. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…

A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

I’ve read several YA books that tackle something similar to this so the idea was really intriguing – that we could give a simple DNA sample and be matched up with a soul mate, someone perfect for us. The thing is, the matching program doesn’t discriminate. Someone’s perfect match could be halfway around the world. They could be of a different religion or background. They could even be of a different sex to the one that the person believes they are attracted to.

The book revolves around five people finding their “match” – Ellie, a businesswoman who is incredibly wealthy but often the target of public hatred, Mandy, a divorcee whose marriage ended when her husband was matched with someone other than her, Jade who received a match on the other side of the world, Nick who is pressured into taking the test by his fiance to see if they are truly compatible and Christopher,  a psychopath who realises that he’s different from other people but takes the test anyway, to see what sort of match it might give someone like him.

The narrative revolves around the five characters as they meet their matches – and overcome surprises for some, get to know them, decide if they want to disrupt their lives in order to be with these people that have been termed their soul mates. Some of the stories are more interesting than others – I think it was Ellie, Nick and Christopher’s that really kept me interested. Ellie’s match was always a little too good to be true, a bit too perfect, almost rehearsed and I was pretty sure there was a big twist coming but I definitely didn’t expect it to go the way that it did! Nick’s match was one of the more interesting ones and I think that both of them handled it in quite a mature and respectful manner, because they were both surprised to be matched up for quite a few reasons. Nick was also engaged and his match had a partner as well, so they had to deal with the feelings that come from making contact, which is something that apparently happens to all matches. Quite often it’s immediate but it generally happens with 48 hours of meeting. I also really liked Christopher’s story because he was completely different from most of the others. He wasn’t really interested in meeting a soul mate exactly, but he was interested in what it might be like for someone like him, who doesn’t really have the same thoughts and feelings as most other people. He’s a serial killer – he’s already killed numerous women and has plans to continue killing quite a few more. His match is somewhat interesting and Christopher seems to have little regard for her at first except as in terms of curiosity. However he’s intrigued to find that he is capable of feeling things and that perhaps he could have a life with his match.

There was always a lot happening in this book and it was all very fascinating as people struggled with these new feelings – some of the stories were a bit less interesting but probably the one that I didn’t really get into was divorcee Mandy who gets her match only to discover something quite shocking about him. Mandy probably has some reasons for acting the way she did but she made some really frustrating choices and it seemed like every time we got back to her narration, she’d made an even worse choice than the one before until it was all just snowballing into crazy. It did build quite well though and it was clear that it was going to end quite badly.

Most of the stories have some element of psychological suspense running through them and pretty much all of the matches are not without drama, heartache and turmoil. It seems like it doesn’t matter how you find your match, it still contains a huge element of risk. Perhaps even more so because although your DNA might be perfectly compatible, it might change everything that you once thought or believed about yourself.

I definitely enjoyed this and I felt like it was really quite a clever take on a matched story line. The suspense is built really nicely where relevant and I really liked the ending and thought that it worked well.

7/10

Book #94 of 2017

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