Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The One

The One. John Marrs. 2018. (2016 UK) 416 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Mandy stared at the photograph on her computer screen and held her breath.

Premise/plot: What if finding "the one" was as simple as taking a DNA test and waiting to be matched with your one and only perfect match? The premise of this one is simple: for the past ten to twelve years, people have been joining Match Your DNA. Some wait weeks to hear back about their match; for others the wait is longer--much longer, YEARS longer. Once your match has been found, you're emailed the results. But, of course, love is a business, and you have to pay for contact information. The One follows the lives of five characters: Mandy, Christopher, Jade, Nick, and Ellie. All have recently got that all-important email. But their results differ.

The One is supposed to eliminate the "prejudices" and "biases" of dating, changing your expectations if you will. You might be matched with a male or female. (The process never once asks you your sexual orientation.) You might be matched with someone (much) older or (much) younger. Your perfect match might be a different religion and live on the opposite side of the world. Your perfect match might be rich or poor. Your perfect match might be married--with or without children--to someone else. Love has no boundaries or limitations. People are using the idea of a "perfect match" to end engagements, end marriages, abandon their children, quit jobs, and/or move around the world. Gone is the idea that love is a choice.

Who should read The One? Those that love HORROR just as much as SOAP OPERAS. It's melodramatic like a soap opera--with some near-graphic sexual scenes--but also GORY. It is not a suspense, in my opinion, because one of the main characters is up-front about being a serial killer. In that character's introductory chapter, readers learn this. And while other characters face dangers of their own, I personally saw most of the twists coming. The stories of these five characters do not really ever connect with one another.

My thoughts: Objectively, I suppose I don't have any problems with The One. The chapters are short; the action is well-paced. The narrators are unique enough that you can easily tell their voices--their stories--apart even if they weren't clearly marked. The characters, if not well-developed, are developed enough. What it lacks in suspense, it makes up for with some twists and turns.

Subjectively, I didn't care for it at all. I didn't realize it was published by Harlequin until I'd already said yes to reviewing it. I usually have a strict policy in terms of "adult" romance and a book's graphic-ness. I was looking for a suspense with plenty of action. But not Harlequin-type action. I also prefer less GORE.

That being said, the narrators alternate chapters. If this one was a book with five novellas, I definitely would have enjoyed some stories more. I preferred the stories of Mandy, Jade, and Ellie. Though there were elements within those stories that I didn't care for completely. And here's the thing: many of these elements weren't really all that necessary to the plot.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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