The One, by John Marrs

If a DNA test could match you to the one person in the world you are biologically compatible with, would you take the test? How would your results influence your actions? Can terms like “love” and “soulmate” really be quantified through pheromones and neural reactions? That’s the idea behind The One: a gene has been identified that can match you up with your perfect biological soulmate, and millions of people have scrambled to enter their DNA into the database. Five narrators tell the stories of their lives and the way Match Your DNA influences and changes their fate.

For the third book in a row now, I had mixed feelings about this book. So again, I’ll just cut this into plus and minus:

Plus: This was a fast read that was very engaging and kept me on tenderhooks for all 400+ pages. It would be a great Readathon selection. The characters were all very diverse in personality and situation, and most of them (not just narrators but supporting characters also) were fleshed out quite well. The writing is precise, and each narrator sounds different from the others, which is hard to pull off. Each story has its own twists and turns, and while none of the stories really intersected with the others, I never felt like I was reading multiple books (also hard to pull off). This was a thriller that didn’t rely on shocks or unbelievable twists to move the plot ahead, and I really appreciated that.

Minus: As with most books that I speed through, I felt a little sick on finishing the book simply because I’d read it all too fast. I never felt like I had a chance to breathe the entire time I read. There were very few down moments. Additionally, some of the science and a lot of the psychology was WAY off, which irked me. (This is particularly apparent in any discussions of sociopathy/psychopathy throughout the book.) There was also little merit given to the non-biological aspects of romance, which Michelle discusses in her very excellent review. Several of the stories ended without wrapping up all the details, and while I don’t usually mind ambivalence in books, I prefer to have all the answers in a thriller like this one. Lastly, there was a note of “obviously this is a bad thing; we shouldn’t mess with science this way” that might be entirely accidental, simply because a lot of complicated stories are explored. I would have liked to see some contradictory evidence, though, because the whole premise of the book is that millions of couples have found each other and lived happily ever after due to Match Your DNA.

Despite my minus paragraph being nearly twice the size of my plus-paragraph, I actually swing closer to the positive side of this book. It was engaging and a good read, and some of my negatives are due to personal quirks (like disliking when I read a book too quickly). If you like thrillers, and don’t mind a tiny bit of quasi-science-fiction flavor, I highly recommend you pick this one up.

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2018, Adult, Prose and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The One, by John Marrs

  1. This sounds intriguing! I am going to add it to my list.


  2. Michelle says:

    I totally agree that there is almost no downtime in the book. I don’t think I realized that until you mentioned it. Personally, I like that in thrillers. In reading your review and going back and reading my own, I kind of wish Marrs would write a follow-up novel to explore the aftermath and the millions who found their happily-ever-afters through a cheek swab. Did they stay together in spite of the bombshell news? Did they doubt their compatibility? There is a whole other psychological side to this story I would LOVE to explore.


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