REVIEW – The One by John Marrs

After a series of challenging reads, it felt nice to get back into a simpler read that was easy to immerse myself in.

The One has a fairly straightforward premise – a DNA test that points you to your soulmate, the one you’re genetically ‘made for’. Whilst I originally thought this might have fluffy overtones, this book was anything but. It follows a series of matched and unmatched couples as some try to fight their connection while others embrace it – with some fairly twisted side stories.

The early interesting couple for me was Amy the police officer and Christopher the serial killer – Marrs clearly has a sense of irony there. It was interesting to watch Christopher grapple with his ‘I was born a psychopath’ demeanour versus a deep set love for Amy that developed. Another interesting couple was Richard and Mandy – but that’s a whole lot of twisted with kidnappings, comas and crazy families. Needless to say that this book was not full of the mushy romance I was half expecting, but that was fine by me – twisted books seem to be my bread and butter since the days I fell in love with Val McDermid’s writing.

Some aspects of the writing were especially heartfelt, with a lot of wrought emotions. What happens if you’re not one of the 92% who instantly fall in love with their matches? What if you’re a straight guy and your match is another straight guy? What if you’re already in a relationship and they’re not your match? These questions are all addressed within the book, and it did tug at the heart strings a little but not in a mushy romantic way.

Overall, it was a fairly dark read in places, but everything was united by a common theme. Is there such a thing as knowing too much? Knowing who exactly you’re meant to be with, placing that pressure on if a match can’t be found – everyone you date you’d feel that there is that missing piece. This for me is summed up in Ellie’s character and her final words of the book – let the world start making its own mistakes again. What I think Marrs may have done here is given us a cautionary tale on the role of science in emotion and decision making, and how that might not always be a good thing. People would then expect something to be fool proof, an easy answer when relationships are far from that. But who knows, maybe I’m sensitive to science and technology advances after my recent foray into the new Dan Brown.

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