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The One by John Marrs


Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Date: 20 February 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Synopsis from the Publisher:

“A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for.

That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love.

Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been ‘Matched.’ They’re each about to meet their one true love. But ‘happily ever after’ isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…

A word-of-mouth hit in the United Kingdom, The One is a fascinating novel that shows how even the simplest discoveries can have complicated consequences.”

My Thoughts: I love when stories start out in one direction and veer suddenly in the opposite direction to take you on a wild ride. The One by John Marrs does just that with its story of five different people who decide to be matched to their one true love. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the floor drops and the story really begins.

The characters drive the story and make it truly special. Coming from all walks of life, their reasons for choosing to be matched is as diverse as they are. As you learn more about the five of them and follow along with the upheaval to their lives being matched causes, they become something more than flat characters. They become the kind of friend you want to see happy in whatever guise that comes. You hope they get their “happily ever after” because that is what we are taught to consider the epitome of success. With that friendship though comes emotional tension as each relationship deepens and matures into something special, and you worry that the happily ever after was all a bit too easy.

The One plays with the idea that being in a committed relationship is necessary for happiness. The assumption that nature trumps nurture when it comes to long-lasting relationships runs counter to everything sociologists understand about forming relationships. Yes, there is something biological about compatibility but there is an element of shared belief systems and ideas and experiences that only come through experience, i.e. nurture. Moreover, being matched ignores the dating rituals that allow individuals to learn more about each other and determine compatibility. It reduces partnering with someone down to a cheek swab. While not totally clinical, romance loses something by this process, no matter how romantic a couple is after they meet. The premise though is absolutely fascinating, and Mr. Marrs explores every avenue of such a life-changing discovery throughout the novel.

To say more about The One would be to give away everything which makes it an outstanding story. It is best if you go into it as blind as possible with no real expectations or understanding of the story. Mr. Marrs does a fabulous job building his world and developing his characters. Let the story sweep you away and force you to question your own ideal relationship or what would happen were you to find out your perfect match is not someone with whom you are currently partnered. Fall in love with the characters and their stories, and ride the roller coaster of romance with them. You will enjoy the story that much more.

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