The One – John Marrs #bookreview @johnmarrs1

“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…”

(Previously published as  A Thousand Small Explosions)

If you could be matched with your perfect partner, the one person you are biologically made to be with for the mere price of £9.99 would you take the test?  That is the remarkable premise of this contemporary novel, as we meet five different individuals with one thing in common, the quest to find their perfect partner.  Don’t be fooled though, this is no romantic story released in time for you to curl up on St Valentine’s Day, this book shows the sinister consequences of what happens when you go dabbling in nature.  Think about it as Jurassic Park for lovers…

Mandy is a divorcee whose husband abandoned her for his Match after they failed to have a child.  Now she has been Matched with a handsome surfer a bit younger than she is but is in for a shock when she manages to track him down on Facebook.  Christopher (my personal favourite) is a charismatic psychopath who submits his DNA for testing out of curiosity, he’s not looking for love but is curious to find out what type of person could be Matched with someone like him.  Jade has been Matched with a sweet guy she has been talking to over the phone for six months, the only problem is he lives in Australia.  One day she decides to pack up and travel to the other side of the world to surprise her Match, but all is not as it first seems.  Nick is engaged to the woman of his dreams. He doesn’t believe in Match, but agrees to do the test because his fiancée wants to be sure they are right for each other before they take the plunge.  Ellie is the CEO of a multi-billion company and doesn’t have time for a personal life. She signed to be Matched a decade ago, but it’s only now that a Match has been found for her and he couldn’t be more down to earth.  Or so Ellie believes…..

The pace of the story is quite slow to begin with as we are introduced to all the characters and given a feel for their differing situations, then about half way through the book BANG, the book turns on its head as the speed begins to pick up with every twist to this dark tale.  Told in third person following the five main characters, the chapters are all short with each one ending on a mini cliffhanger, switching seamlessly between characters ensuring the reader is compelled to keep going.

The story was set in various locations and the author does not go into too much detail on the settings but that does not matter, these five couples could be anywhere and their stories would still be the same.  The characters are fairly well-developed.  Marrs manages to create characters which are convincing, with enough depth and complexity to engage the reader in every single story-line and with every single relationship.  Even the most inhuman of the group is relatable if not easy to empathise with.

This novel is reflective of society today in the sense that we no longer have the time or patience when we are overwhelmed by technology and apps that can do the job for us.  There are some light dystopian themes running through alongside themes in relationships; love, trust, anger and betrayal.  The book also poses interesting questions like what if your soulmate is a person of the same-sex, but you’re not gay?  What if they are decades older/younger than you?  What if they are not what you expected?  Would they still be the one?

I did enjoy this book, it’s a bit different from the type of book I normally pick up, but I like to be pushed from my comfort zone every now and again.  Even though the science wasn’t wholly believable this could be something that happens one day, as humans are matched through their DNA, not taking into account personality, circumstance, human nature and feelings.

This is a clever thought-provoking novel that leaves you wondering;  Would I?

Overall rating four fabulous stars.  Thanks to John Marrs and Ebury publishing for my advanced review copy.

Click here to buy The One




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