Book Reviews

I’d walk 500 miles for: The One by John Marrs @johnmarrs1 @EburyPublishing

the-oneTitle: The One
Author: John Marrs
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Date of publication: May 4th 2017
Format: Digital Review Copy
Source: NetGalley
Number of pages: 386
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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.


In this day and age, with all our alleged open-mindedness and all the progress the world is supposed to have made, celibacy still sounds like a curse word sometimes. I don’t feel I’m living in the middle age. Still, the first question I get from people following the usual greetings after some time not having seen each other is “So, are you dating someone?” I believe a relationship status doesn’t define a person and I am proud to be able to live without feeling the need to find someone to make me whole. I am whole by myself, I’m not some cheese!

But relationships are important. Loneliness is heavy and at times difficult to carry. This is why I was appealed by The One. Who doesn’t dream of their charming prince or princess? Of the right shoulder to cry on, the hand to hold when you’re slipping down that freaking cliff you thought it’d be fun to climb, the hand that offers you the remote control so you can decide what to watch on Netflix?

He wanted her to know that while people had loved him in the past, the had never known how to accept it until now.

The synopsis of The One is both attracting and scary. You see, like oil and water, I don’t believe hearts and science match. Except for a transplant of course. But when it comes to feelings, emotions, those things cannot be counted, laid out on spreadsheets, analyzed (except by $100 the-hour psychologists). My strong conviction that it could never work made me press the request button and it took me a while, but I finally got matched with the book by my Kindle and calendar. I had a date!

And one date was enough for me to devour the story. Because there’s something we all share at some point in our lives: loneliness. And there’s one thing we wish for: happiness. No matter what it means to you, this book explores the vulnerable side of us that makes us pray we don’t end up and old lady with a hundred cats that will eat her alive when she dies in her armchair. So why not take a chance on something that promises you to give you what you need, without the hassle of having to find it yourself?

They say you can’t miss what you’ve never had, but that’s not true.

Despite flickering from one narration to the other, the story never feels confusing. Each character has their reasons for looking for their match on the website, each character has a unique voice and personality that makes it easy to differentiate them. I really appreciated the different situations the protagonists were put in. Young Jade, bored in life and looking for a sparkle, Christopher’s curiosity, Ellie’s situation, Mandy being stuck as the divorcee and feeling like the best is never gonna happen to her, Nick’s perfect life. Everyone felt sincere and some events resonated in me because we all have that friend/family member/colleague and we all have heard heart stories. But the author took his little puppets and brought them to the extreme of their quest. Never in a far-fetched way. I loved how smooth and easy the flow kept going, the feelings grew, the tension ratcheted up, and life changed, for better or for worse.

My curiosity was fully satisfied and none of the narrations bored me. Of course, we all have our favorites, and I adored guarded and cold Ellie. I know what it’s like to put your work first and let the rest go. No one said it was easy to find a balance and not realize ten years later that you’ve built the highest walls around you! You’ll find true extremes in here, but they feel right and perfect to fully understand the consequences of such technological and scientific advance.

I felt for every character, which usually never happens, I love having favorites. But here, I was not concerned about the “hows” the system worked, but about the “whys” it chose people the way it did and why those people chose to put so much trust in something as cold as a computer regarding what makes us humans: our feelings.

Maybe when you took it back to basics, that’s what love really was: just being there for someone when the sun rises and sets.

Now for the controversial DNA part of this story… John Marrs convinced me for a while. I remember thinking “What if science can help?” because so many people deserve to find their other half. The romantic part of me was still skeptical. There’s nothing romantic in being matched with someone you don’t know just because of genes. I believe in chance encounters and butterflies in the stomach without the need of a website to tell you what to feel for whom. This is where I was reminded just how powerful the mind is. Tell people they are perfect for each other because science says it, and they’ll believe it. The placebo effect. Rings a bell? I doubt I would have take the test, but I loved how what started with an experiment ended up changing how people imagined true love to be, how they blindly relied on DNA to magically create the perfect couples. Yes, I believe in chemistry, in the alchemy souls can find if they are lucky enough to open their heart, but I’ll stay on my position and leave science out of it!!! As you can see, The One gave me a lot to think about, and my brain was working flat out while juggling my own thoughts and the events unfolding before my eyes.

Because the book doesn’t spare you on action… I’m not talking about the frantic police chases I’m used to. I refer to how life keeps you busy, how opportunities and choices fill your head and make you reassess your life, your decisions, all that makes you who you are. How an email can rattle your thoughts and your life. At times, I was surprised by a character’s decision, I was taken aback by what was happening, I was shocked and left wondering what spurred everyone to act the way they did, and the beauty of this book is that it really offers a wide range of situations you can follow and explore. Life is not easy, and a site that was supposed to help make it easier makes it messier instead!

It was fantastic to follow every narration going up and down, throwing surprises at the reader and leaving the characters deal with them. Every story had something special, something you can connect with, something to make you feel. The One is disturbing in the way it showed me just how craving for partnership can do to people, how a scary invention can change the way the world has been working forever. Nature takes care of the mix and match. But what if the human hand can get this power, too? Would you trust it? The stories and thinking behind The One goes deeper than one might think at first, and it truly made me reconsider love under different angles.

Overall, The One is a scary and disturbing story of what progress can turn our lives into, a disturbing and gripping tale feeding on one of humankind’s oldest fear: loneliness.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. This review is my unbiased thank you to the author and publisher. 

Find The One on Amazon! (the book, not your soul mate. I don’t think the website has started its dating service yet!)

42 thoughts on “I’d walk 500 miles for: The One by John Marrs @johnmarrs1 @EburyPublishing”

  1. Donna, what a wonderful review, I’ve heard good things about this one and really want to read it but no one has broken it down the way you have and I loved it – If I wasn’t on a book buying ban, I’d buy this book right now after reading your post!


  2. I really liked the synopsis when I read it but I was waiting on reviews from trusted bloggers (like yourself :P)

    “I believe a relationship status doesn’t define a person and I am proud to be able to live without feeling the need to find someone to make me whole”. That’s true and so brave of you to say!

    Just yesterday I saw a pic that showed compatibility based on your personality (16 personalities) and I told my boyfriend: LOOK, IDEAL MATCH. And then I saw another pic that said that we weren’t “ideal” but “we could try” lol


    1. I wasn’t sure my skepticism would allow me to enjoy this one, but wow, it was so well-written and believable! (Now I’m gonna be grinning all day because I’m a trusted blogger of yours :p)
      I’m so tired of society and people telling us we need to be a couple to be something, then have kids, and blabla, and this book had be think even more about this!
      Hahaha, those tests are so fun to do xD “could try” and then you send them a picture of you at 95 years old after 50 years of marriage with a “fuck you” xD


      1. Hahahaha That’s too funny. You see, what you say about society and kids and stuff, for me it’s marriage. I have nothing against it, it’s just that I don’t want to get married and some people are like: BUT WHYYY, it’ll be the happiest day of your life and I know 100% that it would never be because I hate being the center of attention lol Not interested, thankyouverymuch haha


  3. You really have thought the whole concept and all through.. while I just accepted it and went on from there.. but seem to have both enjoyed it very much. Great review Donna and so glad you’re also on the supporter’s team of The One 🙂


  4. Very insightful review Donna, you’ve managed to get under the skin of the book without giving anything away xx


  5. Fab review as always. I like the premise of this book and the fact that you described it as disturbing has me even more intrigued. Definitely one for my TBR.


  6. This book has piqued my interest yet I haven’t read it yet. It reminds me a bit of a programme they had on here in the UK called Married at First Sight (or something like that) were they matched people up based on personality tests, DNA, etc. The couple’s taking part knew nothing apart from the first name of who they had been matched with until they met at the altar. Needless to say the majority of them didn’t work out. Interesting concept though! Great review, as always Donna.


  7. This was a recent Book Depository order for me and I love how you broke it down! I wondered about the alternating perspectives but it sounds like it wasn’t an issue, this is on my own summer tbr after I clear some more review copies!! Excellent review as always Donna


  8. Interesting amd unique idea for a book. (They always make good plots). I wonder if something like this will happen in the future, like internet dating a step further!!
    I hate how people always ask when they first meet you ( or haven’t seen you for a while) – are you with someone and do you have kids?! Like that’s what makes you ‘normal’.
    This book really made you think didn’t it? I’m not sure I like the idea of dna matches but I can see how if it’s something you really want, then the placebo effect would take place, but what about after time has passed?? Your review makes this book sound rather intriguing.
    And you never know about Amazon.. …a dating site may be on its way! 😂
    Amanda. xx


    1. I can’t say whether or not the idea of this invention happening in the future scares me or not. I think it does. The eternal romantic in me wants the mistakes and the dose of chance it takes to find The One 🙂
      Exactly! My presence or discussion should be enough without having to reassure the world that yes, someone’s waiting for me at home! Such an old idea!
      The book really is intriguing and reaaaally had me thinking 🙂 You have so much tension but also characters and relations development that your head has all the material to make its own opinion on this and I found it great.
      Haha, where there’s money, there’s Amazon!! xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Fantastic review, Donna! You really had some interesting thoughts and opinions in association to the book. I kinda just went into it and while we both enjoyed it, you definitely put a lot more thought into it! 🙂


  10. “I believe a relationship status doesn’t define a person and I am proud to be able to live without feeling the need to find someone to make me whole. I am whole by myself, I’m not some cheese!” I actually laughed while reading this, my Sweechie. Then I nodded, and nodded some more. I must have looked REALLY weird while reading your review but anyway ahah, what a beautiful review. I like the concept of this book A LOT and even if this is not the genre I usually turn to, you definitely made me want to read that one 🙂


    1. Hahahahaha, I’m so for making you look weird, my Sweechie :p I’m sure you looked cute!!! I love this book because it raises so many questions that it’s a fabulous story to chat about forever! And it explores some very interesting concept and ideas! I’m glad you even considered reading it thanks to the review!!! 😀 Thank you my Sweechie!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great review for this book Donna, whenever I read the blurb it always seems like this is going to be a contemporary novel full of happy endings so I’m always surprised when I reach the part that describes The One as a psychological thriller. 🙂
    I’m definitely intrigued by the concept, and it’s great to hear that you managed to connect with the characters as well. I guess with at least five POVs there has to be some amazing character development throughout.


      1. It’s hard to remember sometimes, because you get into the mode of having ARC copies, where you aren’t supposed to use the quotes. Then when you actually read one post review date, it’s hard to remember. At least for me. LOL.


  12. What a great review! The concept of this book is fascinating, and seems pretty relevant for today’s culture! I’ll have to add it to my tbr. 🙂


  13. Aaaah loved your review! I’ve been eyeing this one ever since I first heard about it and it looks like I’ll just have to get a copy now. It’s such an interesting concept!


  14. hahaha “I’m not some cheese!” Right on!!!! Oh gosh I agree so much- singledom is still something people get really judgemental over I love the way you set up this review and that your first date with it made you want to commit 😉 The concept for this one is fascinating for me- especially cos my brain is doing that typical romantic thing too, going “no way, love can’t be explained by science!!” I have to say I’m massively intrigued by this one!!


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