4.5 star

Review: One by One by Ruth Ware

Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them?

When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark Dark Wood returns with another suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain. 

Ruth Ware has been near the top of my favourite authors list if not at the top for a while now. And here she once again delivers! In a book where all the characters are stuck together the whole time and are dying off one by one – you know, the classic trope. Taking place in the snowy mountains, it was truly a thrilling ride from the beginning all the way to end.

One by One takes place in a beautiful mountain chalet, where a team of colleagues (well, the whole start-up, really) goes for a mountain retreat. Lots of news and announcements take place at the beginning of the trip, plunging the initially inviting trip into a turmoiled power struggle. The story takes place in the perspectives of one of the team members, as well as a staff member who is in charge of taking care of the group. As all the trust between the group breaks down, and an avalanche hits them, stranding them for an indefinite amount of time, how will they survive?

The story actually takes place over a really interesting premise. The company isn’t just any old start-up, but rather a company named Snoop which allows listeners to anonymously listen in real time to what others are listening to, allowing you to be “in-sync” with them. The story starts with an intro (which I almost accidentally skipped) of all our characters, their job titles, and the songs they like/are listening to. I assume that if I were more educated in music culture, I would know what the songs were and if they might have hidden meanings – unfortunately I don’t. Still, it was cool to have this as a running theme throughout the book, you’ll see how the author uses it to quite great effect.

In terms of the ending, it wasn’t the best one ever. That being said though, at least it wasn’t weird or anything super out of the blue. I enjoyed the story overall and the suspense leading through it. The two POVs from the inside and the outside of the party was also a really interesting way to approach a thriller. I have always enjoyed these “closed room” murder mysteries (think: Murder on the Orient Express style), and I think this one was right up there in terms of the suspense. Maybe a little bit less in the mystery department, where I give a bigger emphasis on how the ending is tied up to make my judgment.

Overall, I recommend this one! While Ware’s endings might be hit or miss sometimes, I almost always enjoy the journey of the thriller a lot, and this was no exception. As you can probably tell by my ratings, this is probably one of my favourites by her, I only wish thrillers were more re-readable, because I think I would re-read this one. This was also one of the first physical books I have read in a while, and it felt so good not to read off a screen for once – which probably biased me towards this book too. Try it and let me know what you think. I’ll be looking forward to the next Ruth Ware!

Overall Recommendations

One by One is a thriller and murder mystery which takes places up in a beautiful mountain chalet and ski resort. A small party from the start-up company go together on this fateful trip to try and relax and leave their busy corporate life behind. But that is not at all what happens. After a tense presentation, all relations go sour, and the group splits sides. As their numbers dwindle, just who is responsible for what is happening, and why? Find out in this exciting Ruth Ware thriller, who never disappoints when it comes to the suspense department!

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