Early Riser
Title: Early Riser
Page Count: 416
Published: February 12, 2019
Synopsis (from book): 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 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…

Early Riser by Jason Fforde was my Book of the Month pick a few months back. I was looking for something that wasn’t a thriller or a romantic drama so I decided to give Fforde a try.

The Gist

Charlie Worthing has just joined the Winter Consul. It is now his job to ensure that the hibernating masses can sleep safely, and boy it’s a job he is ill-prepared for. Charlie’s desire for change lands him in the service of a renown Winter Consulman Jack Logan. When Logan handpicks Charlie to serve as his Novice, excitement and change quickly turn to deception and danger.

Fattened up and ready to sleep, upper-class citizens are given a drug meant to slow their body’s consumption of energy. Like all drugs, Morphenox has its pros and cons. A powerful dream suppressant, Morphenox causes hibernators to sleep more while burning less fat, it has also made dreaming a thing of the past. Unfortunately, Morphenox also has the potential to turn you into a mindless, cannibal. Like I said, pros and cons.

Rumors of a deadly viral dream in Sector 12 kick start a chain of events that will make Charlie Worthing’s 1st winter on the Consul the stuff legends are made of. Nothing about Sector 12 is reasonable. Before he can attempt to solve the viral dream problem, Charlie has to figure out who he can trust. Can he survive the Villains, the Wintervolk, the nightwalkers, the brutal sub-zero temperatures, and the viral dream?



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All In All

Jason Fforde builds a whole new world in Early Riser. That came with pros and cons for me. It took a while for me to get into the story because it just felt so bogged down. Jason Fforde was very thorough in introducing us to the new world, to the point where it felt gratuitous in some places. Each chapter starts with an excerpt from various imaginary history books and is filled to the brim with footnotes. It’s a lot, to say the least. I usually don’t mind books with chapter intros and footnotes, (Click here to read my review on The Philosopher’s Flight), but for some reason, this method just didn’t connect with me the same in Early Riser. Fortunately for me, the story picked up when Charlie made it to Sector 12.

Jason Fforde‘s gives us a story where winter’s severity has had life-changing effects on all of civilization. How people live, reproduce, work, even what they believe in have all been shaped by its harshness.  Early Riser gives us a strange world, filled with strange people, living by even stranger rules. Once I got into it, I could not stop reading until Charlie figured this whole viral dream business out, or died trying.

I’d recommend Early Riser by Jason Fforde to anyone looking to try something new. If you are into science fiction or you love a good winter themed story, you probably won’t want to pass this one up. Grab your copy of Early Riser today and come back and let me know what you think.

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