my not so super blind date coverRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Morgan Murray is the son of one of the world’s most famous super heroes, only instead of inheriting his mom’s abilities, Morgan has a couple of minor skills and a raft of allergies. He spent his life never living up to his mom’s expectations and, ever since she was killed by the evil Indigo two years ago, Morgan has thrown himself into work with his grieving stepfather. Morgan may not be able to save the world with his powers, but he just might with their new invention, the Ziro Machine.

When Morgan gets set up on a blind date by his best friend, he is hoping it might be a chance to break out of his work rut a little. But when the guy not only shows up late, but outright admits that he is a henchman for the local criminal-posing-as-philanthropist in town, Morgan is ready to call an end to his night with Jasper. That is… until he suddenly finds himself right back in the same cafe, waiting for his same date, as if the whole thing never happened.

This time, when Morgan meets Jasper, he has some questions about what exactly is going on. Jasper shares that they are stuck in some sort of time loop, constantly restarting their date over and over. And Jasper is thrilled that finally, FINALLY Morgan remembers him from the day before. Because this has been happening for months, but until now, each day seems brand new to Morgan. But now that Morgan is finally remembering past nights in the time loop, he and Jasper can work together to try to figure out what is happening to them and why. The men have a limited amount of time each night to investigate before the whole cycle starts again, and the more they discover, the twistier — and more dangerous — their investigation becomes. Now, it is a race against time to learn the truth about who caused the time loop, what they want to achieve, and how to stop it, before it is too late.

My Not-So-Super Blind Date by Allison Temple was absolutely so much fun, I just couldn’t put this one down. It is part of the Subpar Heroes multi-author series and stands alone just fine. This is sort of a Groundhog Day*, time travel, superhero mashup and I was all here for it. It really takes a lot of finesse and balance to make a time loop story work. We need to see the events over and over to establish the sense of repetition and the frustration the characters are experiencing, but at the same time, not have it feel overly repetitious and frustrating for the reader. Temple really gets that balance just right, giving a clear sense of the “restart” these guys are experiencing and how it impacts their ability to solve this puzzle, without making it feel like we are reading the same thing over and over. The light dose of humor to the situation (the cafe where they meet for their date has a giant mural of Morgan’s mom on the ceiling, for example), helps keep things entertaining. We also don’t see the whole chain of events through every time; as Morgan and Jasper start to make more progress on uncovering what is going on, they are able to jump forward faster with fewer repeats. Watching them learn from their mistakes and figure out new approaches when one fails is a lot of fun and the plot device really works here.

This isn’t just a Groundhog Day scenario, as there is a more scientific explanation, giving the story a time-travel vibe as well. They aren’t just repeating the day, they are stuck in a time loop. The situation also gets some added gravitas in that the event that causes the reset each day is

Spoiler title
Morgan’s death
. (Note, I am spoiler-tagging this information because it is not in the blurb, but it is revealed very early on in the book and is included in most chatter about the book I have seen, so unless you are a die-hard spoiler avoider, I think this one is pretty safe.) It adds some complexity to things, and some really interesting questions (for example, when things are going badly in one iteration, should they try to
Spoiler title
find a way for Morgan to die so they can start over
?). I also liked that things take a bit of a twist later in the book in a way I didn’t see coming and which added some really interesting dynamics. My only very small issues here are that I found some elements got a little hard to follow toward the very end and, after some really solid pacing, things came together a little too fast. There were a couple of tiny spots that felt like loose ends (which has me fingers crossed there might be more here), but overall, the story is just super engrossing.

I enjoyed the dynamic between Morgan and Jasper. They are so different and at first sort of at odds, mostly due to Jasper’s whole “being a henchman” situation. Also, poor Jasper has been going it alone for a while before Morgan starts to remember, so he is in a very different place than Morgan as things first start. But the guys soon come to not only become friends and rely on one another, but also fall for each other as they make their way through this adventure. There are some really poignant moments and I think Temple gives a nice balance between the fun, lighthearted side of the story and the more intense, emotional ones.

Overall, I just loved this book and was completely caught up in the journey. If you enjoy superhero or time travel stories, I think this one will have particular appeal, but I think this book will be a hit with lots of readers who enjoy appealing characters and a really clever story structure.

* For those not familiar, Groundhog Day is a movie where the characters are in a time loop and repeat the same day over and over

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