Cover Image: The Arc

The Arc

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Member Reviews

This may be one of the strangest books I’ve ever read. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it.

The Arc is a matchmaking service that claims it can find you your partner for life, for an extortionate fee. Ursula is fed up with dating, so she decides to take the plunge. But things don’t turn out how she had expected.

I have to give some praise to just how unusual this book was. It is a brave and clever thing to be able to step outside of ‘the norm’ and come up with such completely new concepts. Especially as this was a debut, suggesting there may be more future books that break the barriers of contemporary fiction. Unfortunately for me, at times I found some of the ideas particularly cringy. I also really struggled to connect to both Ursula and Rafael. I find it so hard to love a book, especially one based on romance, if I am not rooting for the characters.

That being said I did connect to Ursula’s love for her cat Mallory. I am also a weird cat lover and found myself chuckling at these parts. I actually wanted more Mallory parts, she bought so much life! I also loved the idea of women making it in a workplace environment where they have not been listened to previously. This book definitely had some important underlying messages, I just fear that they got lost in the strangeness of everything else. At times, some of the messages did become a little preachy too, which just isn’t for me. For example, the main characters seem to be against people having too much money, but are very clearly doing well financially compared to the average person. This is definitely the most unique romance novel I’ve ever read though.

I would recommend this to fans of feminist romantic fiction, as long as you don’t mind strange! I want to thank Netgalley, Atlantic Books and Tory Henwood Hoen for allowing me to read this book and give my personal thoughts.
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I had a few download issues with the book and by the time it was sorted, the file had unfortunately been achieved. Happy to re-review if it becomes available again.
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DNF'd at 25%. I had such high hopes for this book as the concept intrigued me, but I just couldn't get into it
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2.5 stars for me. Didn't like the book in the beginning, was OK in the middle, and I hated the ending. 
I really liked the concept of this book and wanted to like it, but I didn't care about the characters. 
What I did like though, was the section when they are actually at The Arc for the first time and have to stay for a week and have to answer all the questions. That was interesting. But the rest of the book, not so much. Sorry, wasn't for me, but hopefully others will love it.
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Thank you to the publisher for my eARC copy of this book. Unfortunately I didn’t love this book and therefore didn’t finish, I just didn’t connect with this one. Not for me, sorry.
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The story of Rafael and Ursula, who meet via a new matchmaking service called The Arc. At first it seems a good match but is it too good to be true? I wanted to like this book more than I did.
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Ursula is 35 years old, living and working in New York with a great career in marketing. But something is missing, with the dating apps she uses providing little more than superficial attractions which don't last.

Overhearing her dilemma, a stranger passes her the business card of a new dating agency, which offers an in-depth approach which they claim will guarantee your one true match for a lasting relationship.

After undergoing the intense week-long assessment process, Ursula is matched with Rafael, a 42 year old lawyer who has been badly hurt in love.

Initially their attraction is overwhelming and powerful, but before long they begin to question how well the process really works.

A relatable and intelligent romantic comedy with a touch of sci-fi, bringing to mind a loosely similar initial concept as The One by John Marrs. Although I'm not a fan of the cover, I found The Arc a compelling, humorous and razor sharp rollercoaster with great depth.
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On my first impression of the title and cover, I wasn’t expecting a dystopian Black Mirror-esque vision of the future of dating, but as a huge fan of the above-mentioned TV series, I was pleasantly surprised to realise that this novel was about a strange new concept for meeting your soulmate.
Contemporary romance mixed with cutting edge sci-fi tech, just in time for Valentines Day comes this imaginative and entertaining novel that will have you questioning what the future of dating might hold. 
While we now think nothing of logging into dating apps, a mere ten years ago most of us could not have imagined the extent to which they would be widespread. 
The Arc doesn't seem like such a wild idea now but I am not sure I'd put it in charge of my romantic life!!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for letting me read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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A hilarious and thoughtful exploration of love in a culture obsessed with optimization,  This was a compelling and thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish with a great storyline, interesting cast of characters and all capped off by skilful writing. It's well worth your time if you appreciate great storytellers.
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Concept? Amazing. Execution? Comme ci, comme ca. 

'The Arc' follows Ursula and Raphael, two people so unlucky in love, they pay fifty grand for a unique dating service that promises them their soulmate.

I don't know if this book knows what it is. At times, it's a sharp-ish satire that often jumps over the line of 'look how ridiculous the world is, isn't that funny?' and just become cringey. At other times, it's a love story showing us all how love can transcend algorithms. The whole novel feels a little disjointed, with chapters that are overly long and rambling whilst adding absolutely nothing to the overall plot. Some are the literary equivalent of 'this could've been an email'.  

Ursula and Raphael aren't the best characters in the world. They often feel under-developed and bland and I didn't often feel drawn towards their love story or them as characters. Arguably, the person I wanted to know more about was the woman who created The Arc in the first place - she seemed far more interesting than these two people arguing over a dog. I think it was just missing sparkle of some kind. A charm, an excitement, a passion that keeps you coming back for more.

There were parts I liked - the time spent in the Arc offices were particularly cool and the amount of detail and research the author put in is evident. But I think this novel is clumsy in its execution, overwritten in places and has a few pacing issues. Nevertheless, a unique, somewhat entertaining book to add to the canon.
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35-year-old Ursula Byrne, VP of Strategic Audacity at a branding agency in Manhattan, is successful, witty, whip-smart, and single. She's tried all the dating apps, and let's just say: she's underwhelmed by her options. You'd think that by now someone would have come up with something more bespoke; a way for users to be more tailored about who and what they want in a life partner--how hard could that be? Enter The Arc: a highly secretive, super-sophisticated matchmaking service that uses a complex series of emotional, psychological and physiological assessments to architect partnerships that will go the distance. The price tag is high, the promise ambitious--a level of lifelong compatibility that would otherwise be unattainable. In other words, The Arc will find your ideal mate. Ursula is paired with 42-year-old lawyer Rafael Banks. From moment one, this feels like the electric, lasting love they've each been seeking their whole adult lives. But as their relationship unfolds in unanticipated ways, the two begin to realize that true love is never a sure thing. And the arc of a relationship is never predictable...even when it's fully optimized.
I absolutely loved reading this book. I don’t usually read romance books, but this one grabbed my attention as it was to do with online dating and this is something I haven’t came across in a book yet.
When Ursula and Rafael were matched and met in real life, they pretty much fell in love straight away. Everything seems to be going really well until they have an appointment with ‘The Arc’ and they are told that there was a mistake made when matching them. The couple are then given a choice to break up and have a full refund or to stay together even though they are not perfectly matched by The Arc. They decide to stay together as they feel like The Arc must be wrong as they feel like they are a perfect match, this then obviously causes some tension and pressure on their relationship. I found this very gripping as I wanted to know what would happen next – was The Arc wrong and do they truly belong together or is The Arc right and how will their rocky relationship turn out.  
This is an extremely fast paced book which keeps you gripped from the beginning right to the end. I love the twists and how certain events pan out. It is truly a unique book and nothing quite like I have ever read before.
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It's well-written, with lots of rich detail and robust characterisation. Unfortunately I just couldn't get into it, but I'll try again in the future when I'm in a different headspace. The Arc: it's not you, it's me.
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Damn, I was so excited about this book. The idea? It sounds great. It reminded me a little of Helly Acton's books and I enjoyed those. I wanted to see what this matchmaking service was like and Fall in love with these characters. 

But the writing style didn't let me.

I can happily read third person in books, but for some reason in this instance it just kept pulling me out. I can't put my finger on why but I just didn't care. My eyes kept skimming and that's not goof. I should be rapt.

This book probably is worth checking out for many but it is slow to get into. So be prepared and hopefully then  you'll enjoy it.
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The ARC is a hilarious love story filled to the brim with satire.  A truly satisfying and uncommon match of concepts that truly works. A little bit of sci-fi, a touch of dystopia, a slightly (but not quite) futuristic romance, focused on the architecture of modern relationships.

We follow the story of Ursula and Rafael, two individuals ready for a long term commitment, but who have struggled with relationships in the past. Both discover a cult-like service called The Arc, which promises, through the use of state of the art technology and an array of secretive proprietary services, to find them their 100% ideal partner. It's not about finding the perfect match, but someone that will be perfect for the long term - on the entire arc of their lives.

They are a bit sceptical at first, however, after their initial meeting the energy between them is out of this world. They immediately dive into a relationship, both feel they have never encountered someone so amazing, so incredible, so exactly who they were trying to find the entire time. That is until The Arc comes back to them saying they've made a terrible mistake. 

Although I enjoyed reading this book, comparisons with Black Mirror's Hang the Dj will be inevitable, and, if you have watched that episode it will be easy enough to draw a conclusion and understand what is happening with Ursula and Rafael's relationship. I still found the narrative interesting enough, and the book truly shines while painting a caricature of modern-day New York City in a not so distant future. The journey, the quirky writing, and the overall style of The Arc are where the uniqueness of the book comes in - not its plot.

I do think the end was a bit underdeveloped. At the same time that it feels like it gave too many explanations about what happened (it was easy enough to guess and perhaps it would have been better to leave an air of doubt), it took away the gratification of having a more meaningful reconnection for the beloved couple.

As a debut novel, I was very intrigued by this book and will definitely keep a close eye on Tory Henwood Hoen and whatever else she writes in the future.
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This took a little while for me to get in to, then when I did, I could not put it down.
Ursula and Rafael are 2 unusual and vivid characters and their journey is interesting. A unique concept that challenges the reader and the characters in it.

Fun, an easy read (in a good way), great escapism.
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This was such a refreshing, quick, easy and riveting read, I read it in one sitting. It is really well written with well developed characters that you cant help taking to your heart. I really enjoyed it
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This book was such a refreshing and realistic take on 21st century relationships - in a world where apps just aren't cutting it anymore, The ARC steps in to be the modern day relationship architect. 

This book was really well written, and felt like a really well thought out, deep dive into these great characters. I loved the dynamics between friends, couples, and even strangers at times - I really felt I knew these people. As a dog person, I feel I have betrayed myself with how much I fell in love with mallory... she's just a great character and was not expecting the cat to give me such heart failure as the general plot lines! 

I wish I could fall into this world - where people I dated magically had 20 pints of ice cream in their freezer, and places like the Stake existed for me to go to regularly (using a smash centre sounds like a great afternoon.) 

My one critique would be the lack of intimacy, I often felt I was reading a YA with all the cut to black scenes. But these were 30/40 year old people having great depth of relationships and the more romantic aspects at times felt slightly left out. 

Overall still a great read, and a new author for me to keep my eye on!
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Would you pay thousands of dollars to find your perfect match? The Arc explores the idea of a matchmaking service that will find you your true match after extensive tests. Although this book is different to ones I've read recently, it was an easy read and a kept me engaged throughout. It explored modern dating in a realistic way and the natural desire to find your 'soulmate'. The main characters Ursula and Rafael were well written and you found yourself going on the journey with them.

#TheArc #NetGalley
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I blitzed through this book over the weekend as I just could not get enough. Light and witty I enjoyed every second. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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