Adam Hamdy | The Other Side of Night

The Book: 

The Other Side of Night by Adam Hamdy
Published October 11, 2022 by Atria Books
Date read: October 14, 2022

The Characters: 

David Asha and his son Elliot
Ben, Elliot’s guardian


Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

The Other Side of Night begins with a man named David Asha writing about his biggest regret: his sudden separation from his son, Elliot. In his grief, David tells a story.

Next, we step into the life of Harriet Kealty, a police officer trying to clear her name after a lapse of judgment. She discovers a curious inscription in a secondhand book—a plea: Help me, he’s trying to kill me. Who wrote this note? Who is “he”?

This note leads Harri to David Asha, who was last seen stepping off a cliff. Police suspect he couldn’t cope after his wife’s sudden death. Still, why would this man jump and leave behind his young son? Quickly, Harri’s attention zeroes in on a person she knows all too well.

Ben Elmys: once the love of her life. A surrogate father to Elliot Asha and trusted friend to the Ashas.

Ben may also be a murderer.​

Click here for book spoilers for The Other Side of Night
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Other Side of Night, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

The biggest twist was that Ben was Elliot. This was a time travel story.

Beth’s body disappeared because Ben and David time-traveled to steal her body and bring her to the future to be saved. Ben trapped David in the future, but as he was leaving he told David that he was Elliot. The future doctors saved Beth.

Harri and college-age Elliot were told the truth by “Ben” in a cave. He says that no matter what he tried, Sabhi always dies.

The Ending:

The old man that gave Harri the book was also Ben–he had trapped them in 1989 so that he couldn’t interfere in the timeline any further, because it was before the technology he needed to time travel had been developed. The old man told Harri that his wife had died suddenly and that he was distraught–he was talking about her. While I didn’t love the time-travel twist (see my spoiler thoughts below), I did love this little connection that explained their interaction. It also explained the fixation on Harri’s love life.

The Review: 

Friends, I have absolutely no clue how to write a review for this book without spoilers. Nearly anything I can think to say about it spoils something. The synopsis is intentionally vague. I do believe that there is a very specific group of readers that will love this book and a group that will hate it, but I can’t say which is which, and even saying which group I am in will be a spoiler.

It definitely kept me interested. I was confused at the beginning about who was narrating, but once I got it figured out, I was hooked by the plot.

One thing I didn’t love was this weird fixation Harriet had on her lack of love life. She spent an inordinate amount of time whining about being single for a thriller, and while it made sense why in the end, those passages very much gave “men writing women” vibes. Most women don’t mope around waiting for a man or constantly bemoan their lack of partner!

Audio Review: I needed clarification at the beginning of the audiobook as far as who was who, especially when it got to the passage of the book that Harriet picked up. I stopped listening and re-read the beginning of my physical copy until I got the characters and timeline straight, and then I was able to resume the audio.

Click here for minor spoilers regarding the genre:
This book is science fiction, which is not how it was marketed. This is technically a spoiler, but I feel like it’s important to know going into it! If I knew it was science fiction/outside the realm of realistic outcomes, I would have liked it a lot more. But expecting a thriller and getting something else is a huge pet peeve of mine.

If you’ve read this one (or just don’t care about spoilers), click here for my spoiler thoughts!
I said it before and I’ll say it again–it’s a cop-out to make the twist something completely impossible! It’s in the same vein as the “just kidding, it was all a dream” trope. This is the first time I’ve read a book where this was done with time travel, but I see it all the time with paranormal books pretending to be thrillers. I spend all this time trying to figure out the twist, only to find out that the main character is a ghost or can astral project. I hate being fooled like that.

In fact, I hate this type of trickery so much that I posted a rant about it. If you hate this too, here’s a list of books to avoid.

Once I accepted the time travel aspect, I enjoyed the fact that the old man in Harri’s first scene was actually a grieving Ben who had just lost Harri.

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