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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?
I have been loving Ruth Ware’s books this past year. I have read everything she has written to date (you might be interested in my video in which I read her backlist and decide what my favourite is), so when I saw One by One up on Netgalley I had to grab it.
One by One is about a group of co-workers who go on a corporate retreat in the French Alps. There’s an avalanche which leaves them stranded, then people start going missing or dying… one by one.
Ruth Ware is absolutely one of my favourite thriller writers right now! I’m not sure how anyone else can compare. She is so good at crafting suspense in her books and keeping me on the edge of my seat.
The setting in One by One was particularly standout and incredibly well done. Ruth WAre spent enough time describing the remoteness of the location (and any escape routes) and the icy cold that when the avalanche happens you feel the same isolation as the characters. The creepy atmosphere was so prominent throughout the book.
One by One is told from two POVs. Erin, who is one of the hosts at the chalet, and Liz, who is an ex-employee of the company. I really enjoyed Erin’s point of view, as she was a very sympathetic and kind character with a mysterious past. I thought Ruth Ware was smart to use a character outside of the main affected group to tell some of the story, as Erin was able to discover things along with the reader. She didn’t have any prior knowledge of these people which was important as she had no idea baout the company drama and the connections.
Also, having Erin be a host was a good idea as these rich people treated her as part of the furniture, meaning she was able to listen into conversations as though she wasn’t there.
Liz was… an interesting choice. I had no idea what to think of her for most of the book. She’s very awkward and has trouble picking up on social cues. The company employees spend a lot of the book ignoring her. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy her point of view as much as I enjoyed Erin’s, but I can see why it was necessary as Erin ad a limited perspective and Liz was one of the group. Kind of.
I got strong Agatha Christie vibes from One by One. It was quite cleary inspired by And Then There Were None. Ruth Ware managed to pull it off without it being a complete rip off. I also got some Gillian Flynn vibes from it.
I really enjoyed trying to figure out the mystery as there were so many possibilities. It was a lot of fun to read.
I think the main appeal of this book will be the dark atmosphere and the setting. That will be what makes it stand out from a lot of other thrillers out there.
I’m giving One by One by Ruth Ware four stars, as it is very well written and engaging, but not an all time favourite. At least not quite.