Thursday, November 25, 2021

The One by John Marrs


I found THE ONE in a Little Free Library. It's an airport thriller in every sense of the word, the sort of book with large print and whisper-thin characterization that you read in a couple hours and then never think of again. It actually gives me a kind of throwback techno-thriller vibe, like some of the Dan Brown, Dean Koontz, and Tom Clancy books I liked to read when I was younger. It's very readable but it relies heavily on stereotypes and the premise requires some suspension of disbelief.

In the near future, there is a dating app called Match Your DNA which matches people based on a genetic/pheromone component. Each chapter features the POV of a different person who is meeting their match. There's Christopher, a violent psychopath; Maddy, an older woman who finds that her younger male match might be dead; Jade, who finds out that her match has a terminal illness; Alex, a man engaged to be married to his longtime girlfriend who finds out that his match is a man; and Ellie, whose match is hiding secrets that she can't possibly guess at, but might affect all the other couples.

I read this from start to finish in just over three hours. I was invested enough to find out what happened but I really didn't like any of the characters. They were all pretty awful in their own way. I don't know if that's the message. If the sort of people who would WANT to buy into a Gatica-like dating service might not be the best people. It did sort of feel like it was intended to be a dystopian cautionary tale, kind of like Dave Eggers's THE CIRCLE (which I also had issues with, for different reasons). I guess this is becoming a Netflix series and this book does seem like it would be easy to adapt to film because of how chopped it is with all its various POVs, but I'm not sure I'll be watching it.

2.5 out of 5 stars

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