Review: The Ones, by Daniel Sweren-Becker

I would like to thank Imprint Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

In the interest of full disclosure, I chose to DNF this book at 59%. I really, really tried to overcome my dislike of this book, but in the end, I just could not get over the problems that kept building up for me.

From the start, the story felt flat for me, but I try not to judge too much based on that, because I’ve read a lot of excellent books that had somewhat lackluster beginnings. However, in continuing on with the story, the story only got less believable for me, rather than improving.

The thing is, it’s not actually the plot itself that made it unbelievable, because for the most part, the plot has the potential to be something pretty good. I mean, mankind decides to genetically engineer these perfect human beings based on a lottery system, making 1% of the population genetically modified. Then, 15+ years down the road, mankind decides it is freaked out by what it has done, and puts into place laws against this 1% of the population, effectively rendering them “less” than their “normal” counterparts. Aforementioned 1% of the population, in response to this treatment fights back, probably wins the day, and everybody lives happily ever after. I don’t know…I didn’t read the whole book, but that’s how I imagine it should go.

However, in The Ones, the plot is executed in such a way that it is very flat. The characters don’t interact with each other well, in my estimation. And, the worst part is, that in an attempt to make The Ones “less” one of the teenagers gets waterboarded under one of the laws put into effect…with the agent performing the torture telling her that it is an “advanced interrogation technique” rather than torture.

I’m sorry, but waterboarding a teenager was really the last straw for me with this book. It would be one thing to read about waterboarding in a book where torture was kind of the main theme…though I don’t read those books, so I can’t think of a good example right off hand. But in a book like this, it was shocking and, to my mind, uncalled for.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I am never compensated for my reviews.


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