Book Review: The One by John Marrs
The One by John Marrs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The concept of soul mates is not one that I believe in. I love my husband with every single fiber of my being, but I can’t fathom there only being one right person out there for anyone. There are too many things that could potentially go wrong. What if your soul mate dies of cancer before they graduate high school? What if they live halfway around the world? Those kinds of questions are just scratching the surface of what Marrs explores in The One.
Imagine if scientists were able to isolate a component of DNA that exactly matched with only one other person on the face of the earth. That’s exactly what has happened in The One. The company Match Your DNA has taken the world by storm. One simple mouth swab, and they’ll scour their database in search of your genetic match. Dating and marriage are forever changed. Racism, homophobia, and religious conflicts are basically things of the past, as DNA matches can cross continents, genders, races, and creeds. It would be an almost idyllic society, at least on the surface, if not for all of the families that have been broken up as married couples split to be with their genetic matches. But, as with all things, there’s an underbelly to this new world of that is anything but romantic.
The One is not exactly a novel, but instead follows the lives of five strangers as they find their matches. We see how these matches wreck or improve the lives of their counterparts. The five plotlines don’t cross, which made the book feel like a collection of five smaller stories, but I thought this added a level of interest to the plots that might not have been there had said plots intermingled. And each story was radically different. I found them all delightfully twisty, far more so than I expected.
Definitely don’t go into this book expecting a romance. Yes, romance is a big part of each story, but this is a thriller; a happily ever after ending isn’t guaranteed in the slightest. There was nothing predictable about this book, and I found that lack of predictability delightful. The pacing was phenomenal. However, I have to confess that I wasn’t blown away by the character development. The One was much more about the plot lines than about the characters themselves, and I never truly connected with any of them. But I was fascinated by their stories, and was always eager to learn what had happened next by the time the narrative cycled back around to them.
I found The One a refreshing, unique conglomeration of stories. I’ve never read anything quite like it. I’m definitely interested in digging into other works by Marrs. This book is the inspiration for a new Netflix series, and you can bet that I’ll be adding it to my watchlist. If you’re in the mood for something addictively unpredictable, picking up the book or giving the Netflix series a try might be just what you’re looking for.
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