"The One" John Marrs
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.
I requested this book because I had seen so much about it on THE Book Club on Facebook. It seems John Marrs is an author readers fall in love with - whatever their DNA determines! And now I can see why!
It's also a great cover - very eye-catching and definitely captures the atmosphere of the book.
This novel has such a great premise - it's so contemporary and so reflective of a society where we are time short and overwhelmed with technology, apps and algorithms. It reminded me of some of the concepts behind much more classic dystopian and futuristic novels but written in a style that is a little lighter and very accessible. Not that this is a light read - it's a page turner and the exceptionally brief chapters ensure you race through the stories but the emotion issues, dynamics and events are not in any way superficial or in any way making light of the course of true love and the debate of following your head over your heart.
But don't be deceived into thinking that this is another story along the lines of "Love Actually" or some kind of predictable RomCom. Marrs alerts us to the fact that this will be a novel full of surprises by opening with a shocking moment of drama and suspense. In chapter 2, we are introduced to a very sinister and dangerous voice of one of the people who is awaiting their match who clearly has a much more deadly agenda:
"He rose to his feet and returned to the kitchen to find here where he'd left her minutes earlier, lying on her back on the cold, slate floor, the garrotte still embedded in her neck."
There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this novel but it is not difficult to do that. Marrs ensures that each snapshot or mini story is distinctive and each narrative voice different enough that we do not get confused. In fact we enjoy such a thorough exploration of the numerous journeys of love and the contrast in settings, characters, situations and endings. Marrs also manages to create characters which are convincing, with enough depth and complexity to engage the reader in every single storyline and with every single relationship. I enjoyed the variety of voices and admire the consistency which Marrs achieved as he sustained so many threads throughout the 370 pages. The reader happily invests in each relationship and is eager to find out what happens next to each couple trying to find their ideal match.
There were lots of couples to vouch for in this book - lots of couples where you wanted the match to work. There were couples where you didn't want the match to work. There were characters that you wish could meet their match and there were characters who you definitely wished wouldn't meet their match! I didn't really have a favourite storyline but enjoyed them all equally.
"You know that I love you with all my heart and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, but...what if we aren't actually soul mates?"
Indeed, what of these characters who have decided they are meant to be together even though they haven't taken the DNA test? What happens if your genetic makeup means you aren't a good match? Marrs asks questions not just about falling in love, following your heart, being governed by your head but also the power of knowledge, the development of science and the danger of secrets.
Another thing I enjoyed was that apart from the very creepy voice of the murderer, the rest of the sections appeared to be more like plot lines you might expect to come across in RomCom and ChickLit. For a while I thought I knew where everything was heading and was looking forward to the happy endings I thought were coming. But Marrs doesn't let this happen. He has plenty of revelations, twists and turns which means the story lines suddenly propel off in a different unexpected direction. He manages an ambitions story arc with ease and keeps challenging the reader's expectations about the relationships and characters in "The One."
I'm not entirely sure I can define exactly what genre this book should sit within. It's a psychological thriller, it's a murder story, it's police procedural, it's crime, it's drama, it's romantic. It's immensely satisfying!
This is a story of happy endings, sad endings, tragic endings and satisfying endings. It's a story about fate, destiny, whether you can control the path of true love or whether it controls you. It's about why we fall in love and what keeps us in love.
As one of the characters says:
"Sometimes the grass isn't greener on the other side and we should stay in the field where we belong. And sometimes we just need to take a gamble and hope for the best."
I'm sure book groups, friends, married couples and partners will enjoy the debates that could grow from reading this book! Should love be a mathematical equation? Can we build a relationship merely on a scientific formula? And what about making mistakes? What about heartbreak? What does falling in love mean and what really does make for a perfect relationship?
As Valentine's Day approaches, why don't you read "The One" and enjoy watching how far people will go to find that perfect match?
"The One" will be published on 26th January 2017.
For more recommendations and reviews you can follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacuk)