Title: The One
Author: John Marrs
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Date of publication: May 4th 2017
Format: Digital Review Copy
Number of pages: 386
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.
In this day and age, with all our alleged open-mindedness and all the progress the world is supposed to have made, celibacy still sounds like a curse word sometimes. I don’t feel I’m living in the middle age. Still, the first question I get from people following the usual greetings after some time not having seen each other is “So, are you dating someone?” I believe a relationship status doesn’t define a person and I am proud to be able to live without feeling the need to find someone to make me whole. I am whole by myself, I’m not some cheese!
But relationships are important. Loneliness is heavy and at times difficult to carry. This is why I was appealed by The One. Who doesn’t dream of their charming prince or princess? Of the right shoulder to cry on, the hand to hold when you’re slipping down that freaking cliff you thought it’d be fun to climb, the hand that offers you the remote control so you can decide what to watch on Netflix?
He wanted her to know that while people had loved him in the past, the had never known how to accept it until now.
The synopsis of The One is both attracting and scary. You see, like oil and water, I don’t believe hearts and science match. Except for a transplant of course. But when it comes to feelings, emotions, those things cannot be counted, laid out on spreadsheets, analyzed (except by $100 the-hour psychologists). My strong conviction that it could never work made me press the request button and it took me a while, but I finally got matched with the book by my Kindle and calendar. I had a date!
And one date was enough for me to devour the story. Because there’s something we all share at some point in our lives: loneliness. And there’s one thing we wish for: happiness. No matter what it means to you, this book explores the vulnerable side of us that makes us pray we don’t end up and old lady with a hundred cats that will eat her alive when she dies in her armchair. So why not take a chance on something that promises you to give you what you need, without the hassle of having to find it yourself?
They say you can’t miss what you’ve never had, but that’s not true.
Despite flickering from one narration to the other, the story never feels confusing. Each character has their reasons for looking for their match on the website, each character has a unique voice and personality that makes it easy to differentiate them. I really appreciated the different situations the protagonists were put in. Young Jade, bored in life and looking for a sparkle, Christopher’s curiosity, Ellie’s situation, Mandy being stuck as the divorcee and feeling like the best is never gonna happen to her, Nick’s perfect life. Everyone felt sincere and some events resonated in me because we all have that friend/family member/colleague and we all have heard heart stories. But the author took his little puppets and brought them to the extreme of their quest. Never in a far-fetched way. I loved how smooth and easy the flow kept going, the feelings grew, the tension ratcheted up, and life changed, for better or for worse.
My curiosity was fully satisfied and none of the narrations bored me. Of course, we all have our favorites, and I adored guarded and cold Ellie. I know what it’s like to put your work first and let the rest go. No one said it was easy to find a balance and not realize ten years later that you’ve built the highest walls around you! You’ll find true extremes in here, but they feel right and perfect to fully understand the consequences of such technological and scientific advance.
I felt for every character, which usually never happens, I love having favorites. But here, I was not concerned about the “hows” the system worked, but about the “whys” it chose people the way it did and why those people chose to put so much trust in something as cold as a computer regarding what makes us humans: our feelings.
Maybe when you took it back to basics, that’s what love really was: just being there for someone when the sun rises and sets.
Now for the controversial DNA part of this story… John Marrs convinced me for a while. I remember thinking “What if science can help?” because so many people deserve to find their other half. The romantic part of me was still skeptical. There’s nothing romantic in being matched with someone you don’t know just because of genes. I believe in chance encounters and butterflies in the stomach without the need of a website to tell you what to feel for whom. This is where I was reminded just how powerful the mind is. Tell people they are perfect for each other because science says it, and they’ll believe it. The placebo effect. Rings a bell? I doubt I would have take the test, but I loved how what started with an experiment ended up changing how people imagined true love to be, how they blindly relied on DNA to magically create the perfect couples. Yes, I believe in chemistry, in the alchemy souls can find if they are lucky enough to open their heart, but I’ll stay on my position and leave science out of it!!! As you can see, The One gave me a lot to think about, and my brain was working flat out while juggling my own thoughts and the events unfolding before my eyes.
Because the book doesn’t spare you on action… I’m not talking about the frantic police chases I’m used to. I refer to how life keeps you busy, how opportunities and choices fill your head and make you reassess your life, your decisions, all that makes you who you are. How an email can rattle your thoughts and your life. At times, I was surprised by a character’s decision, I was taken aback by what was happening, I was shocked and left wondering what spurred everyone to act the way they did, and the beauty of this book is that it really offers a wide range of situations you can follow and explore. Life is not easy, and a site that was supposed to help make it easier makes it messier instead!
It was fantastic to follow every narration going up and down, throwing surprises at the reader and leaving the characters deal with them. Every story had something special, something you can connect with, something to make you feel. The One is disturbing in the way it showed me just how craving for partnership can do to people, how a scary invention can change the way the world has been working forever. Nature takes care of the mix and match. But what if the human hand can get this power, too? Would you trust it? The stories and thinking behind The One goes deeper than one might think at first, and it truly made me reconsider love under different angles.
Overall, The One is a scary and disturbing story of what progress can turn our lives into, a disturbing and gripping tale feeding on one of humankind’s oldest fear: loneliness.
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. This review is my unbiased thank you to the author and publisher.
Find The One on Amazon! (the book, not your soul mate. I don’t think the website has started its dating service yet!)