Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

February 2019 Book of the Month Selection

Early Riser is a fascinating take on human history and human interactions.  In this wonderfully imaginative novel, Jasper Fforde asks the question, what if the human race hibernated?  What if the world went through an intense cold spell for four months every year and the only way to survive is to be like your favorite bear-fatten up, sleep well, and conserve as much energy as possible.  But we’re humans and humans can monetize every aspect of our lives, including basic survival. Finding sufficient food and shelter can be expensive and when it was discovered that dreams can be physically draining, medications to halt dreams lead to a new way to find cheap labor and create a new type of class division in society.

Charles Worthing is working his first winter with Winter Consuls, a group that is responsible for making sure humans survive safely through the harsh winter.  Approaching winter unprepared can cause humans to become nightwalkers-humans that are breathing but with simple minds and a craving for human flesh. Nightwalkers can then be farmed out on the black market for replacement body parts and to be used as breeding stock for future generations.  

This book can really dark yet be incredibly funny all at the same time. It’s a wonderfully bizarre book.

When Charles believes that he has uncovered some crooked agents within the Consul, his naive quest for justice leads him on a deadly adventure where those he can trust seem to change from minute to minute.  When an outbreak of viral dreams affects Charles, he begins to lose the ability to tell reality from dreaming.

This story is absolutely wild and I loved it.  The way that hibernation has shaped the world and changed humans was fascinating to read.  It was both hilarious and heartbreaking-reading about how easy it was for people to die during their hibernation and then Charles will wake up and brush out his bed bugs...I just can’t come up with a better description.  It’s wild. The writing is incredible and I really enjoyed all of the footnotes. Many of the footnotes were vital to the story and some were just plain silly-it was a great mix. Fforde does a wonderful job of including enough information about the world that I never felt like I didn’t understand what was going on but didn’t get so deep that you spent pages and pages in details.  Background was doled out in small doses as needed and it really helped with keeping the story flowing.

Wonderfully quirky and unique, Early Riser is a fantastic read and I highly recommend giving it a try.  

Interested in reading Early Riser?  My copy came from my Book of the Month subscription as the February 2019 pick.  I have written of my love for Book of the Month before here.  If you’re interested in starting a Book of the Month subscription, they have a special going on now and it really is an easy service to use.

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