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Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
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Early Riser

by Jasper Fforde

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3201751,970 (4)19
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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I was very disappointed in this book. I've really enjoyed this author's books in the past, but, (pun kind of intended) this one left me cold. ( )
  CatherineMarie | May 2, 2019 |
Pretty odd, even for a Fforde book. A pretty fascinating idea, but the uneven world-building made it a strangely tough book to get into. But I'm very glad to see him back in action and look forward to whatever's coming next! ( )
  JBD1 | Apr 25, 2019 |
On an alternate Earth where the winters planet-wide are like those in the Antarctic and humans hibernate, an elite and entirely strange crew mans the winter by staying awake to guard those who slumber. A medication that helps sleepers survive hibernation also turns one in two-thousand humans into nightwalkers, who get a bit bitey if they don't get fed, but make excellent simple servants if well supplied with Snickers and other treats. In this world of winter, our accidental hero Charlie has stumbled upon a mystery.

Punctuated with Jasper Fforde's distinctive quirky humor, Early Riser is dystopian-light. It's fun, fast, none-too-serious, and will keep you guessing as to which of these asshats is actually the enemy right up to the end.

I absolutely love that Charlie is never gendered in the book. ( )
1 vote Zoes_Human | Apr 13, 2019 |
I always like Fforde's books more in theory than in practice. His ideas tend to be brilliantly imaginative, but the execution—putting them together into a story—tends to fall a little flat. And he doesn't know when to stop, always throwing in more and more random ideas, and drawing out the story. This book is amusing, but it is also more of the same. Maybe the execution is slightly better, and I liked the allusions to climate change and Big Pharma, but the ideas are also less original. (Dreaming in this way has been done before.) ( )
  breic | Apr 8, 2019 |
Jasper Fforde has a reputation for wacky stories and even wackier characters. Whether it is bringing storybook characters to life or filling his novels with puns, his stories are entertaining, unique, and bordering on crazy. While Early Riser certainly has an eclectic cast of characters, the story is a subdued one for him. Very little about Early Riser is as over-the-top as some of his other stories. There are downright somber sections of the novel. This is not the light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek Jasper Fforde we know. The Jasper Fforde of Early Riser is still trying to have fun, but you can tell he is struggling to do so.

I believe the problem is that the ever-present presence of death by cold or starvation puts a pall over the story from which it never recovers. Mr. Fforde tries to have fun with things, through mandatory eating requirements and how the fact that overweight is the new healthy and throws in the promise of mammoths into the mix, but no matter what silly character or scenario he adds, the story still retains its serious tone. The dangers Charlie faces as a Winter Consul in his first winter awake are numerous and frequently reiterated by every new character Charlie meets or with every unexpected action Charlie must take. A chase scene hampered by an invisible mythical beast can be amusing but is decidedly less so when the chase scene occurs in temperatures as low as negative sixty degrees and dropping. While it does up the suspense, it does not necessarily increase the fun.

While Early Riser may not be entirely up to the same madcap levels as Mr. Fforde’s earlier novels, I liked it a lot. I enjoyed Mr. Fforde’s take on climate change and think his vision of mandatory hibernation through the worst of the winter is refreshingly different. I like that hibernation in Mr. Fforde’s world is not as simple as falling asleep, that it involves preparation and danger. I also like the fact that society still functions in spite of the adverse weather. Charlie’s world is not a post-apocalyptic; it is a fully-functioning society that happens to exist either in an alternative universe or in unknown future years from today.

The differences are what make the story fun for me, as does the fact that Mr. Fforde fleshes out his worlds so completely. There appears to be no aspect of this world not covered or considered. This attention to detail is what makes Mr. Fforde’s stories come to life, no more so than in Early Riser, where what should be improbable becomes possible thanks to Mr. Fforde’s thoroughness.

Early Riser might be Mr. Fforde’s more realistic novels, but it still contains his signature style. Fans will rejoice at his zany characters and their goofy antics. Plus, there are as many puns as one can stomach. In other words, Early Riser is most definitely a Jasper Fforde novel.
  jmchshannon | Mar 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
But Fforde brings it around in the end. His relentless imagination and his affection for his characters are contagious and irresistible. If you’re already a fan of his [...], then you don’t need any convincing. If you are not yet familiar with Fforde’s extended universe, a different volume would probably be a better place to start.
 
Charlie’s confused but determined mundanity is a relatable anchor in this wild winter world, leavened by Fforde’s surrealistic humor.
added by ScattershotSteph | editPublishers Weekly (Nov 12, 2018)
 
Charlie’s journey through the especially isolated and dangerous area called Sector Twelve, where there's "always something weird going on," is so absorbing, and Fforde’s wit so sharp, the reveal that the narrative is also a commentary on capitalism comes across as a brilliant twist.
 
It’s interesting in the end, and full of neat ideas that hold a far-from-flattering mirror to elements of our own existence, but so poorly paced and plot heavy that the remainder is the rub. Similarly, the setting is engrossing and almost criminally original, but Albion is a world built on the back of interminable info-dumps and masses of jargon. And all this hangs on a central character who might be witty and well-meaning, but proves so exasperatingly passive that even he might as well be asleep.
 
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For

Rhulen Marya Ivy Anna Fforde-Gorringe
Made in Australia but inspired by Wales
...and who knows a thing or two about hibernation
First words
Mrs Tiffen could play the bouzouki.
Quotations
"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."
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