Book Review: One By One by Ruth Ware

Visiting a well-known ski resort in the French Alps sounds like the perfect place for a company retreat. And it is… for a moment, anyways. Follow along in One By One with a company called Snoop on a getaway that is planned to be full of PowerPoint presentations, skiing, and plenty of drinks. This is the plan, anyways, until an avalanche hits the mountain cutting the group off from the outside world. Deserted on the top of the darkened mountain, the team begins to get smaller and smaller… one by one.

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It is a known fact that Ruth Ware is my favorite author and I eagerly anticipate each novel she publishes, however, I discovered that this book offered some mixed reviews. The complaint that I have read about the most is how the book is not fast-paced for a mystery novel, but I would argue that this is one of Ware’s specialties. Ware does not need to write in a fast-paced fashion with tons of terrifying and mysterious events continuously happening because she is an expert at creating worlds and story-telling — Ware excels at keeping the reader on the slopes or inside the chalet, despite what the characters may be experiencing.

Another comment against the book I read about regarded the Snoop updates for each new chapter. Some thought these were pointless and annoying (particularly on audiobooks), but I think they added a little extra. Read more about the Snoop updates in the following section.

How the Story is Told

So, Snoop updates.

Once again, Snoop is the company that the characters who are visiting the ski resort have created and work at. At the beginning of each chapter, a Snoop update is added. This includes: What their online name is, what they are listening to, how many Snoopscribers they have, and how many people have Snooped on them (i.e. “Snooping” is when you listen in on what another user is listening to, which is basically the whole point of Snoop). I appreciated this aspect being included because it provided a bit more information that was less noticeable. It may sound a bit strange by reading that brief blurb about it, but I will not give away any spoilers so if you are curious about what I mean, read it for yourself! Or message me on Instagram and I will tell you 😉

Another big aspect of how the story is told pertains to who tell the story. The story is told from the perspective of Liz, who used to work for the company but is now only a shareholder, and Erin, who is a staff member at the chalet. I did enjoy reading from both of their perspectives and each character added something unique to the story, however, I would have preferred for Ware to throw a few more characters into the mix. Potential-slight spoiler ahead: Only telling the story from two perspectives made it much easier to narrow down and guess who the murderer is.

Aside from these two facts, Ware, once again, did an excellent job at telling the story and keeping the read invested in the characters.

Subplots Make Me Smile

Ware is an expert as integrating several subplots into the main plot of the story. The main plot, of course, is who is causing company members to fade from the group one by one, but there are a few subplots within the book as well. Once again, you will need to read the book or message me if you’re curious about these!

However, I do have a few thoughts about the subplots:

First, there are hints dropped about Liz’s past with her family and bullying she experienced in school. I did feel like this contributed to helping the reader understand Liz and her inner workings a bit more, but I do wish that there would have been more information and stories about what life was like for her when she was younger. Her family and peers greatly contributed to who she became as an adult and it would have been wonderful to become a fly on the wall to learn exactly what she was experiencing.

Second, the company’s two cofounders, Toph and Eva, had subplots that completely changed how I felt about them from the beginning of the book to the end of the book. I will not share who I liked and who I didn’t, but I will say that the one I supported at the beginning caused me to feel betrayed by the end, whereas the one I didn’t like at the beginning had so much character growth by the end and had grown on me a bit too.

Lastly, Danny and Erin are the two staff who reside at the chalet during the book. Danny is the chef and Erin is a hostess of sorts. The two are depicted to have a great relationship (at first I thought they were romantically together, but this is not the case), but there is no backstory provided about their relationship together or how they became close. I assume that it is simply because they have been working together for some time, but it would have been nice to learn more about them as friends, rather than only about Erin as an individual. And not that note, it would have been nice to learn a bit more about Danny’s background as well!

Overall?

Overall, I think this was another excellent book by Ruth Ware! I would recommend a lover of reading to check this one out, especially if you are a mystery fan. However, if you need your book to be fast-paced throughout its entirety, this may not be the book for you.

If you do read this book, drop a comment below and tell me your thoughts! Or let me know on Instagram.

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