Review: One Perfect Couple by Ruth Ware

One Perfect CoupleOne Perfect Couple by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars



One Perfect Couple is the latest from one of my favorite Mystery/Thriller authors, Ruth Ware. As I normally do with Ware’s books, I did listen to the audio, narrated by the always fabulous, Imogen Church.

Church’s narration style if perfect for Ware’s stories, IMO. I believe she’s narrated all of them. She always has a bit of trepidation in her voice, which works so well for Ware’s MCs.

With format notes out of the way, let’s get into what this one is about, shall we?

Blending a classic Christie’s And Then There Were None set-up, with the chaos and drama of modern-day reality television, One Perfect Couple, follows five couples trapped on a remote island with a killer on the loose.

Our MC is Lyla, who has begrudgingly agreed to join her boyfriend, Nico, a struggling actor, on a new reality show, The Perfect Couple. Nico is hoping it will be his big break, with nothing but stardom following shortly thereafter.

Lyla, a research scientist, is opposite to Nico in many ways. She thinks the premise of the show sounds terrible, but she wants to be supportive of him, so she agrees.

The show itself is quite mysterious. Since it is new, the creators don’t want any information leaking out about it, its filming, prizes or participants. Lyla and Nico are whisked away to a private tropical island, where things immediately seem off; at least to Lyla.

It’s not half as lush as she was expecting and the show is run with minimum crew. Each couple is given their own villa, that’s a blessing at least, and the full expectations of their participation is finally revealed to them once they are settled in. It all sounds quite icky.

There’s immediately tension amongst the couples, with individuals seeming to be vying for Alpha status, and Lyla is feeling incredibly out of place. It is a competition show, and honestly, Lyla cannot wait to be eliminated.

The first challenge takes them by surprise. Things get a little nasty and everyone leaves shaken and angry. They retreat to their villas for the night, ready to unwind after the stressful and tiring events of the first day.

Mother Nature has other plans though, and a devastating storm wracks the island overnight. The contestants find themselves cut off from the mainland with no means of communication, their phones having been confiscated.

There’s also no crew remaining on the island, as they had retreated to the mainland for the overnight, so the contestants must band together and try to survive for God only knows how long.

When no crew or rescue shows up after the disastrous storm, and the days go by, their resources dwindle. Fresh water is in very short supply, truly making this a life or death situation.

With those sort of stakes, the already tense relationships are taken to a dangerous level. All agree, this is not what they signed up for. Will anyone make it off this island alive?

Apparently, Reality TV show-based Thrillers are something I am super into now. This is my third one this year, and I’m loving them all. This had a great, mysterious set-up.

I enjoyed how secretive the creators of the show were about what participation was going to entail, yet everyone was chomping at the bit for the opportunity to be selected.

Lyla was the only one who seemed to express any doubts, and she ended up ignoring her own instincts in order to try to make her partner happy.

I know some Readers may disagree, but I loved Lyla. I vibed so well with her perspective. I enjoyed being with her on this insane adventure that she didn’t even want to be a part of.

I loved the island setting and felt it was so well done. It did feel remote and as the tension climbed into the stratosphere, it gave me such a sense of unease. It felt claustrophobic. I could feel how desperate the characters were.

I also found all of the relationships interesting. Each couple had its own dynamic, and then watching how they evolved, and how the contestants came to relate to one another over the course of the story was enthralling.

Ware did include a mixed media element as well via journal entries that take you through the events happening on the island. They way this was used to enhance the plot, and help to bring it to its ultimate conclusion, was so clever and satisfying. I loved that part.

My only slight critique, is that I was let down by the why. I loved the who, the where, the what was happening, but the why, after all that occurred, just seemed silly and anticlimactic. 100% personal opinion though, so take it with a grain of salt.

With this being said, the rest of it was so enjoyable and I would highly recommend this for your Summer TBR. If you are an audiobook person, I def rec that format as well!!

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