One by One by Ruth Ware
Published by Simon & Schuster on September 8th, 2020
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
“Our guests are disappearing one by one, like some bad horror movie.“
A lot of people think it’s fall when you can start ordering PSL at Starbucks. But for me, it’s when I get to read new thrillers from my favourite authors!
In One by One, Snoop, a tech start-up decides to have an off-site company retreat in a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet. Getting snowed in when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers… and you can’t trust any of them? And what happens when one by one, your coworkers are being picked off?
This is not my favourite Ruth Ware book. And this is a far from perfect piece of work.
But I simply couldn’t put it down. I blasted through it and stayed up very late to finish it just because I had to know how it all ends.
Part of the reason why I gave it such a high rating was because I know the tech start-up world very well.
I laughed at loud within the first few pages because Ware effortlessly copied the exact same wording that I see in every single careers page of tech start-ups. She had the jargon down!
She also did an excellent job creating characters that every tech start-up should have. Yes, they were mostly outrageous and over the top, but there is some truth to the character traits that people have to have to make as a CEO or a co-founder.
Ware does a deep dive into the dynamics of these coworkers, which can seem boring to some readers. She also uses a lot of concepts and terms associated with tech. So I can understand it’s not for everyone. But I did get a kick out of it.
Like I said, the book kept my attention until the very end. And while it was a fun read, I do have some issues with the book.
None of the characters were fleshed out. Every character seemed to have one trait. Topher is an entitled ex-frat boy, Liz is timid, Eva is cold-hearted, etc. I wanted more backstory and context to these characters.
So because there were so many characters and none of them had any depth to them, none of the murders were shocking or surprising. I didn’t care if one of them was killed! It’s not like we got any kind of insight into them via the two narrators, Erin and Liz.
And Erin and Liz weren’t exactly the most interesting characters to read from their perspectives anyway. I often felt like things were quickly explained away by Ware. None of it held any weight when it came to the broader story.
I also thought Ware did a disservice to the story adding in a quick mention of #MeToo at the end. It felt crass and unnecessary. The story didn’t need that element because it was dealt with so poorly.
Despite these pretty big faults in the narrative, I still love what Ware can do when it comes to an atmosphere. She’s fantastic at creating creepy and unsettling scenes that make your skin crawl. So I can’t wait to see what else she puts out next!
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