♯1. The One by John Marrs

One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick 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 other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…

Paperback | 404 pages

Publisher: Del Ray (4th May 2017)

Couldn’t wait to start reading this. After finishing ‘The Passengers’ by John Marrs, I wanted to read other works by him and started with this one. I took it as part of my holiday reading to Tignes, France but it actually took me 4 days to read – which is a long time for me! First impressions were filled with curiosity about the five characters and what journey their paths would take and whether I would be surprised by their endings.

At first glance, I wondered what I was letting myself in for. 5 separate point of views? Was I crazy? Was I going to be able to keep track of all the separate voices and stories or would they become jumbled? Thankfully, I was able to read at a steady pace and understand all of the characters separately as well as collectively as I read. I didn’t have any problem with the multiple POVs and was gripped to the page as I read.

Mandy. Ellie. Jade. Christopher. Nick. Characters that were so vastly different from each other and yet characters that existed cohesively in the same universe. The book plays on the characters to build an idea of the concept of ‘match your DNA’ in a way that takes the reader into the book but also takes them out of it and makes them think of human nature and the lives we lead.

All five perspectives were uniquely different and engaging. There was Mandy who felt she would never get what she desired. Ellie who didn’t think she’d achieve what most others had. Jade who pushed her life forward spontaneously, Christopher who found his life view changing and Nick who realised there was more to life than the black and white lines of the society we live in. I can’t explain too much of the characters because it will spoil the book for you but I was gripped throughout all of the stories and conclude that the way each characters story was ended made perfect sense from the path they travelled.

I was invested in the story and the characters and the general feel of the book. I found visualising it was easy to do and it became rather vivid as I continued reading. I was able to individually picture the five different characters and their story as it progressed but I was also able to view the individual stories as a whole.

It’s funny because I loved reading this and found it to be an intensely gripping read but if I hadn’t already been introduced to John Marr’s writing and had looked this book up on Amazon, I would have felt suspicious about getting it because of all the – inaccurate in my opinion – 1 stars that are on the first page of the reviews. I believe, that I have read a different book to those bad reviews, or perhaps I just had a better understanding of the novel. Either way, I thought this was uniquely different from ‘The Passengers’ but written in the same style that made it feel familiar and relaxing (and yes, I know that ‘The One’ was published before ‘The Passengers.’)

I think it is difficult to execute a thriller narrative that has so many avenues to explore. The majority of thrillers I read are small on character mass – but no less enjoyable – whereas this one felt more like a 3D read and played out like a film in my head, rather than a straight-laced thriller – not sure if that makes sense?

I get excited when I find a new author who just clicks for me. John Marrs is the first click for 2020. I thought this book was interesting, tugging on a near future that didn’t seem too far-fetched. The story felt very believable and I found that I could connect to all the characters mentioned on some level. It wasn’t just that I enjoyed this book, I was excited to read it and eager to get to the end of it. I’m two for two now with John Marrs. There is no doubt in my mind that by the end of this year I’ll have all his works on my shelf!

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