Try an audiobook on us

Early Riser

Narrated by: Thomas Hunt
Length: 15 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (135 ratings)
£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Jasper Fforde's first stand-alone novel - full of the imagination, wit and intelligence that has made Fforde a number one best seller.

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 safe passage of the sleeping masses.

You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense - nothing more than a quirky artefact born of the sleeping mind.

When the dreams start to kill people, it's unsettling.

When you get the dreams too, it's weird.

When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity.

But teasing truth from Winter is never easy: You have to avoid the Villains and their penchant for murder, kidnapping and stamp collecting, ensure you aren't eaten by Nightwalkers, whose thirst for human flesh can be satisfied only by comfort food, and sidestep the increasingly less-than-mythical WinterVolk.

But so long as you remember to wrap up warmly, you'll be fine. 

©2018 Jasper Fforde (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    93
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    94
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    87
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

More good work from the king of Dystopia

Really good book, really enjoyed it! Now come on and write Shades of Grey 2!!!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Sleep inducing (which fits the story perfectly)

This story was in interesting concept, really well executed, and compelling. It was also well read/performed. However it wasn't as funny as other Fforde books, and the narration - perfectly fitting the subject (sleep) - was also very mesmerising and tended to send me to sleep. A good book - a very good book - but not an exceptionally good book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

typical weird but enthralling Jasper Fforde

Just another Jasper Fforde book brimming with inventive ideas and alternative realities, alternative zombies and the Gronk

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A bit baffling

There’s a really great story in here somewhere, I just didn’t quite find it. Convoluted, meandering, a bit directionless. It was almost impossible to keep track of characters and plot, but somehow there was still something that kept me listening. I think what kept it going for me was in fact the narrator, who is terrific, better I think than his material. All credit to his storytelling ability.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • Enfield, United Kingdom
  • 14-12-18

wonderful but what was it about

I was swept along by this wonderfully narrated novel. splendid, weird and comforting all at the same time

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Tidy!

I was sceptical during the initial chapters as there were a lot of unfamiliar terms and new concepts coming through. I was concerned I would be disenfranchised by the "cleverness" of it all. However, this soon turned around and I was quickly won over by the charm of the wonderful Welsh narration and of the bumbling hero. The story grew on me as it developed in some genuinely unforseen ways and, crucially, the whole plot resolved in a most satisfying manner. This was my first Jasper Fforde read and I'll likely go back for more.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I love a bit of Jasper

I've read every Jasper Fforde novel going and he is simply an amazing author, original, funny, quirky, love him!! brilliant.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Sleep is overrated?

Another fantastically imagined alternate timeline, I enjoyed the Welsh setting and the premise that the world had to turn to hibernation due to deeper-freezing winters. A rather high body-count and lots of (chilly) action meant the story flew by. I also enjoyed the narration, the many characters were easily distinguished.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Ideas, Bad Jokes

Early Riser has a really interesting and engaging premise that it generally builds upon to good effect. It has great imagination and while I personally found the book dragged on occasion I can't really fault the pacing all that much. The plot isn't the easiest to follow but generally I thought it was executed well. The narration is good and while I'm no expert in Welsh accents nothing really stuck out as bad to me.

However, I also found the book to be painfully unfunny. Occasional wackiness is one thing but the book ceaselessly prods the reader to inform them something is funny, to remind them of a funny thing that happened or straight up stops to explain the joke and why you should be laughing. There is one joke I remember being pretty good but that was mostly because it had a lot of build and a good payoff, the other jokes were less jokes and more unendingly repeated funny things that weren't funny but arguably were things.

Of course humour is subjective and honestly even with all that said I still liked the book and it's setting. I just would would have liked it a lot more if the book didn't keep saying "SISTER FALLOPIA", nudging me in the ribs knowingly and then saying it a dozen more times thinking it had hit comedy gold.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

And Jasper Fforde is back

I just do not know how he is does it - the creatively is fantastic and addictive

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • A Reader
  • 26-11-18

Not as good as his other books

It's a good story but not as good as Shades of Grey and the Next series

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sleepyhollow
  • 13-08-18

Only drawback - no sequel yet.

As I don't live in the UK and the audiobook was released same day as the hardcover I started listening to it before having the chance to read the book itself and I'm super happy about that because the book would have been finished in a night and this has been my companion for the last 10 days.
The book, as is a most of mr Fforde work, is imaginative, funny and quirky at the same time. It reminds me a little of my favorite book by him "Shades of Grey" as the main character again is a somewhat bewildered youngster with good intentions lost in a dystopian version of Wales. It is however completely different , original and very entertaining.
The narrator is great, with a deep but very clear welsh (?) accent which suites very well to the character of the book.
Highly recommended.