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Early Riser

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,897 ratings  ·  345 reviews
The new standalone novel from bestselling author Jasper Fforde

Every Winter, the human population hibernates.

During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, 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 grou
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Viking (first published August 2nd 2018)
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,897 ratings  ·  345 reviews

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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
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fantasy
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
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
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
No one who got cold and dirty in the Winter was ever truly welcome in the Summer. The citizenry didn't know or care what the Consuls did during the cold to keep them safe, they just wanted to wake alive in the Spring, same as always. For many people, the Winter didn't really exist except in an abstract sort of way, and by consequence, neither did we.

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 s
Alvar Borgan
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Eine Welt, in der die Eiszeit nie geendet hat. In der die Menschen sich angepasst haben und Winterschlaf halten. In dieser Welt spielt Jasper Ffordes Roman "Eiswelt" - ein Roman, den man am besten im Herbst oder Winter liest, unter der Bettdecke, während man sich wünscht, den Wecker ausstellen und selbst in den Winterschlaf fallen zu können.

Ich habe die Geschichte (für meine Verhältnisse) in Rekordzeit gelesen. Tatsächlich ist sie wunderbar flüssig geschrieben, mäandert wie ein quicklebendiges F
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
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
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.
laurel [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
Angela Groves
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, sci-fi
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).
Melissa McShane
I am a passionate enough fan of Jasper Fforde's that I paid extra to get this one shipped from England instead of waiting for the US release next spring. Fforde went through a slack period a few years back and virtually disappeared after years of publishing a book a year, and as frustrating as that was for me as a reader, I hoped it meant he was recharging and getting back into his groove. This standalone novel seems to be Fforde testing the waters as he heads into whatever his career will be ne ...more
Another DNF (I seem to have had a few in a row) as this book just didn't interest me. I've had mixed feelings on this author before so it doesn't surprise me that this book wasn't really to my liking, but it's a shame as I think the concept was strong but the execution of this story felt a bit mundane. Personally I think the main character was lacking a lot of personality and I wish I had seen more of that shining through. I didn't get too far before I decided to give up, to be fair, but I'm con ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-novels
Anfangs kann man noch den Eindruck bekommen, in eine skurrile Fantastik-Persiflage à la Douglas Adams hineingeraten zu sein, zu sehr erinnern der Wortwitz (z.B. die Namen der Nonnen, die den Pool aka das Waisenhaus betreiben) und Skurillität einiger Ideen (Bouzouki-spielender Zombie) an den großen Meister. Doch Witz und die Skurillität werden im weiteren Verlauf zunehmend ergänzt durch eine actionreiche, spannende Handlung, die in Teilen von Christopher Nolans INCEPTION inspiriert zu sein schein ...more
Odd as it may seem, early 19th century Chinese author Ju-Chen Li seems to appeal to my sense of humour more than Jasper Fforde. It’s hard to say why. I remember reading The Eyre Affair and wondering why I wasn’t particularly into it. I don’t dislike his books as such, they just don’t grab me somehow. I gave ‘Early Riser’ a try because the concept was appealing: in a world of ice age conditions, most of the human race hibernate in winter. The protagonist becomes a Winter Consul, one of the few ta ...more
Tim Hicks
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Complex plot, Ffordean snark, interesting characters.
Perhaps too much worldbuilding, perhaps too much handwaving on the dreams.
Overall, I often felt I was in a Charles Stross (hmm, another Charlie) Laundry book.

The plot rolled out well, except for a few too many "whatever you do, don't X" making X inevitable.

Interesting taken together:
(a) did Fforde really never specify main-Charlie's gender?
(b) Fodder's big reveal seemed to generate no more than "oh yeah, huh?"
(c ) Charlie's facial situat
Klaus Varias
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ich war sehr positiv überrascht.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy moly wow. My first Jasper Fforde and I’m smitten.

Review to come. First I need to reread this book immediately.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this book is part of my ongoing mission to diversify my reading away from my usual crime fiction comfort zone so you could say that I am relatively new to the genre. It's also my first Jasper Fforde book. Something that, after reading it, I am definitely going to rectify. I am not sure if this is the way he writes all his books but there were quite a few footnotes throughout the book which I did initially find a bit distracting, especially as I was also trying to get into the whole dystopi ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nach einiger Zeit wieder ein neuer Roman von Jasper Fforde. Vergleichbar ist der Roman mit Grau bzw. Shades of Grey. Auch hier ist der Schauplatz eine dystopisch angehauchte Welt, wenngleich diesmal die Gefahr von der Kälte ausgeht. Wenn im Winter Temperaturen von -40 Grad normal sind, und man gegen den Klimawandel (die globale Abkühlung) kämpft, hat sich die Menschheit daran angepasst - und zieht sich in den Winterschlaf zurück. Nur wenige Personen sind während des Winters wach, darunter die Ha ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In einer Welt, die der unseren gar nicht so unähnlich ist, hat die Eiszeit nie aufgehört. Jedes Jahr versinkt während der Wintermonate alles in Eis, Schnee und Dunkelheit. Selbst die Menschen ziehen sich zurück und halten Winterschlaf – außer die Winterkonsuln. Sie wachen über den Schlaf der Menschen, denn draußen in der Dunkelheit treiben heulende Bestien ihr Unwesen. Hier tritt der junge Charlie seine erste Arbeitsstelle an, und sie entwickelt sich schon bald zu einem Albtraum. Denn wenn Charl ...more
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I could talk about loyalty and the cold, Tunnocks Teacakes and the desolate beauty. Of the code that glues us winterers together, or the loneliness of the souls who call it home. But I think the one thing that struck me is that the Winter isn't a season - it's a calling."

Jasper Fforde is back! And in his usual feat of imagination taking us into the deep of winter in an alternate Wales where temperatures get so low the only way the human race can survive is by the majority of the population hibe
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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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“long gaps between sequels to books.” 1 likes
“... plans are all well and good in the Summer, but in the Winter it's wise to simply have an objective.'
'I thought we were meant to make a plan and stick to it?'
'Events move fast,' he said, 'and you need on-the-hoof flexibility to ensure the plan doesn't get in the way of the goal.'
It actually seemed like quite good advice.”
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