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Early Riser

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  10,695 ratings  ·  1,840 reviews
Every Winter, the human population hibernates.

During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, and devoid of human activity.

Well, not quite.

Your name is Charlie Worthing and it's your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published August 2nd 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Jasper Fforde is one of those writers that defies genre conventions, and even within his own body of work, he's written some books that won't have cross-over appeal. The Tuesday Next series, for instance, is pure fantasy silliness, based on the premise that there is a book/media world that becomes a live-action play whenever a book is read. The Nursery Rhyme series--my favorite--is equally silly, revolving around a detective solving crimes related to Humpty Dumpty and The Three Bears. Fforde's p ...more
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
‘May the Spring embrace you,’ ...
‘And embrace you, too,’ (c)

Oh-so-ever quirky (dystopian?) story. Complete with Sisters/Mothers Zygotia and Placentia and Contractia and Vulvolia and Fallopia and Fertizilia, the culture of calorie-hoarding, Nightwalkers, Villains, Wintering, child offsets, siring fees. People hibernate during their winters. It's mostly comfort food that they eat (I wonder how they don't drop dead from clogged arteries? The miracles of going hungry in winter?). Brain-damaged fro
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
Jasper Fforde is one of my favourite authors and I have been waiting it seems for ages for him to write something new! Here it is at last and it is worth every minute of the wait.

This new book is written in Fforde's typical quirky and inventive style. The setting is an alternate Wales where the population hibernates through Ice Age like winters and only a few people stay awake to take care of the sleepers. Our hero, Charlie, becomes a Winter Consul and this story tells of his first winter spent
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
By giving three stars, I am being generous (or perhaps grateful for the delight Fforde's previous books brought me). It's not a bad book, but it is extremely exposition-heavy and badly paced; we are constantly being bombarded with endless minutiae of this alternate universe where humans hibernate like bears, most of them delivered in barely comprehensible jargon, that's it's hard to penetrate to the heart of the story, and the plot, when at last it happens, moves either too fast or too slow. Wor ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
(view spoiler)

The road to Spring is littered with well-intentioned morons.

This Ffantabulously Ffantastic Ffordstival (F³) of a book is about: Mumbling, shortbread and cannibalism as hobbies. Faddy get-fat-quick diets and the mass-stealing sin of exercise. Playing Tom Jones’ son
Jasper Fforde hasn't released a new book since 2014, and that is a long time for him. I have been waiting and waiting (so patiently) for the third Nursery Crime book, but it just doesn't seem to be happening. Neither does the second Shades of Grey book. But now there is this book, which is not actually out in the US until 2019, so I bought it from Book Depository. I'm glad I did this anyway because the UK cover is so much better than the American one. It has a cutout cover and when you lift it u ...more
Book of the Month
Why I love it
by Liberty Hardy

Zip up your snowsuit and grab your pillow and blanket! It’s time for a chilling, sharply funny novel, where humans hibernate half the year, and dreaming can be deadly. Welcome to the delightfully zany world of Jasper Fforde!

Charlie Worthing is a new recruit with the Winter Consuls, the scrappy agency that watches over the lucky tranche of humanity that gets to hibernate through each brutal winter instead of risking frozen limbs, starvation, and death. What’s his firs
'I need a new Novice with a good memory to train up. Good career path. Exciting too. Lots of challenges. Bit of cash, extra pudding. Medium to high risk of death.'
'What was the last bit again?'
'Extra pudding.'
after that?'
'Coffee and mints?'
'I meant on your list.'
'Oh - medium to high risk of death.'

Jasper Fforde writes books that are a dream to read, and a nightmare to review, but here goes! It's been a long wait for this one - over two years since the last book was published - but his writi
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs, 2018
I was delighted to receive an advance copy of this title on Netgalley as I am a massive fan of the authors works. Once again Jasper Fforde has created a world that initially seems insane but is written with such practical language and real characters that by the end of the book it's completely normal. The characters are really well written, I particularly liked the main character Charlie, and found the dialogue between them all was brilliant. The sense of peace and danger that the winter in this ...more
lucky little cat
Confession: I have never been able to make it through a Jasper Fforde novel before this one.

The Eyre Affair and the Thursday Next novels have always seemed way too randomly, relentlessly pun- and gag-stuffed, and frankly, I get more than enough of that at home over the dinner table.

But Early Riser made me happy. It's a stand-alone, a fish-out-of-water story where a plucky, mostly self-aware young person goes out and finds adventure. The world he encounters has enough flexibility (and even occasi
Early Riser is the fourteenth novel by Welsh author, Jasper Fforde. Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Worthing gladly deserts his Assistant House Manager job at St Granata’s Pooled Parentage Station in Cardiff when the opportunity to become a Winter Consul presents. With a bare minimum of training, he starts as the new Novice for the famous Jack Logan. With Slumberdown (for Winter) mere days away, their first assignment is, ostensibly, to deliver a Night Walker to the Hiber-Tech HQ in the often-danger ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, netgalley
In brief -
The start - a bit indifferent.
To around the halfway mark - very Jasper Fforde but I've read better
After that it simply got better and better.... Ho hum, the joys of reviewing :)

In full
This is a new standalone story from an author I am a real fan of. In practice he has written nothing for some years now and I was a little worried and pleased when I got my review copy. This is set in Wales though not the Wales we know. In this story we are loosely in the current era however Wales enjoys
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m being more kind with this book than my last couple. In truth I think it’s probably a 3.5 Star read. Not as meh as 3 stars, but not as great as a 4 Star read.

In the beginning, the reader is just dumped into this bizarre world where humans hibernate and have winter coats and “bulk up” for winter. It takes a long time for all the pieces to come together and get the hang of it, but on the bright side, there aren’t many info dumps.

I loved all the humor. There were a couple parts that had me laugh
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: indescribable
I am a big fan of Jasper Fforde and look forward to all of his books, but this one fell far short of my (admittedly high) expectations. It started out murky: the reader is expected to just understand the world’s rules without much explanation. I found that I had to re-read the first few chapters because I was so confused, and that has never happened to me with Fforde. I have read all of his books and expect some twisty weirdness, but after 200+ pages it still felt like all weirdness, no plot. By ...more
Aug 30, 2020 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to carol. by: Emily
Shelves: audio, to-re-read
Want to listen.
Andover Library
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was like re-connecting with an old friend. The characters might be different and the setting new but the style and humour were undeniably Fforde.

As always Fforde makes you feel right at home in the most improbable of settings, this time on an AU Earth at the start of the Ice Age like winter that Humans need to hibernate through. We follow Charlie (or Wonky as he is known to his annoyance) as he stays awake for his first Winter joining a small band of hardened people who stay a
Dawn C
An interesting idea, though why telling it should take 16 hours when it could easily be done in half is beyond me.
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
"Winter isn't a season --- it's a calling."

I first heard of author Jasper Fforde on Litsy (my favorite book app of all time) when tons of people had rave reviews for The Eyre Affair (the first novel in the Thursday Next series).  I picked up a copy at the library and devoured the book, impressed with the overall originality and the humor!  I don't read many books routinely placed in the sci-fi / fantasy genres but Fforde has a way of taking the weird and making it seem normal in a parallel unive
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Winter is coming and the population needs to get fed for a four month long hibernation. Set in a present day alternate reality in Wales, Charlie ‘Wonk’ Worthing is assisting with the Fat Thursday celebrations which are aimed at getting people up to a weight sufficient to sustain them throughout the Winter. His job is pretty lack-lustre but gives him access Morphenox, a drug which prevents dreaming (which uses valuable energy resources) and only has a one in two thousand chance of turning you int ...more
Allison Hurd
In an AU Wales, Novice Winter Consul Worthing is growing his wintercoat, trying to bulk up a bit, and preparing to spend his first Winter ever awake. He...mostly makes it and then promptly everything in Wales goes to hell. It is such a fun premise, and there were lots of cool things going on in the world but I'm not sure it all ever gelled for me.

CONTENT WARNING: (no spoilers, just a list of topics) (view spoiler)
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
DNF at 8%

I absolutely loved the Thursday Next novels. They are probably one of my most favorite things to read...ever.

And the premise of this one was incredibly interesting—people who hibernated during the winter (much like bears), and the few who stayed awake to guard them. Pseudo-zombies, politics and wild dreams are involved, which is definitely something that should bowl me over.

And yet...there's something about the writing that just had me disinterested. Perhaps it's because I'm going throu
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love this, as I love the rest of Jasper Fforde's books, but I struggled a bit. It has his usual clever cultural twists and references to familiar things out of context (Rick Astley makes an appearance here), but doesn't always explain them - for some reason children are brought up in a Pool, which is never properly explained, as if he forgot to go back to the explanation.

Set in an alternative reality where people hibernate through Winter (which is much harsher), and take drugs to gi
K.J. Charles
Jasper Fforde has brilliantly weird ideas, which carry through with varying success for me. I found this one--where the world has terrible winters and most people hibernate--ingenious, and a lot of fun, also the evil corporation, but after a while the plot didn't quite hold together enough for it to be entirely satisfying to me.

I also had quite a problem with an idea that's sketched in but not explored--basically that there's some sort of legal requirement for women to bear children, but at the
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2018
It's... Alright. It is very similar to Shades of Grey which is a shame as it only highlights how it's not Shades of Grey (which you should absolutely, definitely read).
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Clever and original, as Fforde always is, this just isn’t holding my attention enough to make me stay with it until the end. It might have worked better as a short story or as a novella. As Miss Jean Brodie would have said, ‘For those that like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like.’ It’s just not for me.

With thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for a free review copy.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my first novel by Fforde - and it certainly won't be my last.

The witty prose is perfectly down my alley. I was giggling ever so often, even though some of the topics in this book aren't funny at all. Jasper Fforde has a wonderful way with characters and their peculiarities (and there are an awful lot of them). Somehow he manages to make every one of them likeable - in a special kind of way.

It took me some time to wrap my brain around the fact that I'm reading a story set in an AU Wales a
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! Great characters and a great story, set in Wales too, wonderful.

Been a while since I’d read anything by mr fforde, but this stand alone story allowed me the opportunity.

Angela Groves
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was one brilliantly funny and bonkers book. It's been a while since I have read a book that has just been fun, even with the slightly disturbing thought of how vaunerable we are when we sleep. Set in an alternate universe Wales where mankind hibernate through the winter, the story follows the main character Charlie as he tries to adjust to life as winter law enforcement, trying to solve the mysteries of the viral dreams of sector 12, the decidedly dodgy HiberTech and the mysterious mythical ...more
Sep 24, 2019 marked it as dnf
Shelves: owned
Gave this one a shot but it’s just not for me. Too much slang and world-building without enough of a buy-in to care, so I just found my eyes glazing over as I read. That’s a sure sign for me it’s time to put a book down. I’m sure many others would enjoy this book for its quirkiness and creativity, but I couldn’t get into it.
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Ah the joy of reading a Jasper Fforde novel! He’s so clever and silly at the same time. I love the wordplay, and his characters and his crazy inventiveness. This book is set in Wales (the buildings, statues etc are named after real welsh people), in a world much like ours except humans hibernate during the long cold winters. It features much inventive technologies including a big bad pharma company that is just as you’d expect the bad guy. It does take a while to get inside this world but once I ...more
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Fforde began his career in the film industry, and for nineteen years held a variety of posts on such movies as Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment. Secretly harbouring a desire to tell his own stories rather than help other people tell their's, Jasper started writing in 1988, and spent eleven years secretly writing novel after novel as he strove to find a style of his own that was a no-man ...more

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