Another fast-moving page-turner with plenty of surprises. 4/5 stars.
Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy of this book to read and review.
The blurb: Something bad has happened to Alison Taylor.
Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future.
By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her.
Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her…
Apologies if this review seems vague, but I’m trying very hard to avoid spoilers. As with most thrillers, the less you know before you go into this book, the better!
The Date is more of what Jensen does so well. She has her suspense formula down to a t. I think it’s probably the short chapters that make her books so hard to put down (“Just one more…”), but whatever the reason, this is another example of easy-to-read, pure book crack.
The set-up is possibly the most terrifying aspect of the whole narrative. Never mind that the heroine is being threatened by an unknown stalker-type, the face blindness scenario alone is horrifying in itself. For me, her daily predicament of not being able to recognise anyone, even herself, was incredibly disturbing, and made for a great starting point for the rest of the story.
I thought the mystery and thriller elements of the plot were possibly the best balanced of all Jensen’s books so far. By that I mean we got frequent breaks from the heroine feeling terrified/threatened while she tried to be proactive and figure out what was going on. This also makes Ali more sympathetic as even though she is suffering from a debilitating condition she refuses to simply be a victim.
My only small grumbles are about time-hopping and the ending. Ali’s backstory is gradually revealed to us through flashbacks and a couple of times it wasn’t immediately clear to me when the transition into the past had happened which left me a little disorientated. I’m the first to admit that this could well just be me!
Also, when the identity of the assailant was revealed I was surprised as I’d considered everyone else except the person in question – which was great. However, I had hoped for something more shocking. To be honest, I think Jensen is the victim of her own high standards here (something I’ve come to think of as “the Patrick Ness dilemma”!). The ending of her last book, The Surrogate, was so gob-smacking, I was hoping for something similar. So, while the reveal was definitely a surprise, it wasn’t a total gut-punch like last time.
Overall: Jensen’s fans will be delighted with The Date. This is another fast-moving, page-turner with plenty of surprises.
Claire Huston / Art and Soul