Review | One By One by Ruth Ware

Contains Spoilers

I’m putting on my own act. We all are on some level, I suppose.

Published: September 8, 2020

Publisher: Scout Press

Pages: 369 (Hardcover)

Series: N/A – Standalone

1 Star

We are stuck here- in a chalet with a group of people we barely know, and two of them have died in the last twenty-four hours.

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?


HA HA HA HA HA. Oh wow. Again, in case you missed the warning at the top, SPOILERS ABOUND in this review. Look away if you have not read One By One and plan to (which I, obviously, don’t recommend) or if you don’t want to know who the killer is. Seriously, I’m not warning again. SPOILERSSSSS.

Okay, let’s start this rant. It has been SO LONG since I gave a book one star and I can’t even begin to describe how much I wanted to DNF this. I have read all of Ruth Ware’s novels and while there were some that I wasn’t crazy about, I’ve always enjoyed them. I love her writing style and how atmospheric her books are, even if I didn’t like the mystery/thriller aspects. This book had basically no redeeming qualities for me, and I say that after having thought long and hard. I hate hate hate giving books one-star ratings and advising people not to read them, but I honestly got no real enjoyment out of this. I would only recommend this to people who aren’t very into thrillers and are fine with having no twits/turns/surprises when it comes to a murderer.

My first issue is that this book is boring as shit. It’s so ungodly slow and just boring. The murder mystery aspect doesn’t come in until around page 100 and before that we just get pages upon pages of information about running a chalet, listening to the Snoop app, skiing, and confusing business information. The only saving grace is that I enjoy Erin as a main character and Danny as a side character. Literally the only things that kept the story flowing for me.

Two, I didn’t get the reasoning behind the entire book, to be quite honest. It’s like Ware wasn’t even trying to hide who the killer was. I seriously don’t get giving Liz her own POV, having her drop hints, making it pretty clear she was the murderer. There was almost no real mystery. It was so so disappointing. Not only that, but the reason why Liz was killing people was like the stupidest thing. Yes, I get that Eva was blackmailing her. Yes, I get that she killed the others who knew she did it. What I don’t get is that she is a literal idiot. She was conflicted about taking the buyout because Topher “gave her her start” or some stupid bullshit, but she also spent the whole first half of the book avoiding everyone and saying she didn’t want to be around them. Take the damn buyout, get that $12 mil, make your blackmailer happy, and say screw off to Topher. He was a total dick the whole book and she clearly hadn’t made an effort to see him in between the time she quit and the ski trip. Take the money and just dip the way you did previously! I DO NOT GET IT. I don’t get her loyalty to Topher. I just don’t. The whole premise of the book just felt so stupid. It was like Ware had this idea for the locked room type mystery at a chalet and she couldn’t come up with a good reason for having a group of people there and to murder them. I can’t you guys. I just can’t.

Three, Erin’s backstory. It was interesting, I’ll give Ware that, but also what was the point???? Her past and her brother’s death and everything we learn about her plays no role in the book. It’s like it was added for filler. I don’t get the purpose behind it because it didn’t really give us an insight on her as a person since she spends the whole book pretending it didn’t happen.

Four, the ending of this book is about 100 pages too long. By the time Erin finds out that it’s Liz that is the killer and that she’s stuck in the chalet alone with her, you kind of want the book to be finishing. But it just drags on in the end. The tiptoeing around each other, the long drawn out chase, then the equally 30 page long aftermath. I skimmed the last maybe 50 to 60 pages of the book because I was just ready to be done.

I’ve read all of Ruth Ware’s books and they’ve all been reviewed through this site, but this is the first time I’ve given one of her books a one-star rating. I don’t recommend this at all. If you’re interested in Ruth Ware for sure start with The Turn of the Key (audio or regular) or The Woman in Cabin 10. Skip this one entirely.

Happy reading
Book Links


Book People


Murder By the Book

Other Novels by Ruth Ware


One thought on “Review | One By One by Ruth Ware

  1. Pingback: My Most Disappointing Reads of 2020 | Tonkin About Books

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