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Early Riser

Narrated by: Thomas Hunt
Length: 15 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (52 ratings)

Non-member price: $37.98

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Publisher's 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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great

Jasper Fforde never disappoints. This standalone is just as weird and wonderful as the worlds of Thursday Next and Shades of Grey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Really enjoyed this one

A great story that seemed a bit slow at first but then, before I realised, the hooks were in and I couldn't stop listening. Thouroughly enjoyable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Loved it! The best accents ever!

Took a chapter or two to get into the groove, but was gripping for the rest of the book.
I loved the excellent Welsh accents - definitely added to the experience.
The story is brilliant and full of Fforde's classic twists and turns, many things happened that I didn't expect and all ends were tied neatly at the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Original and entertaining

Funny and pleasant story. The storyline is original, funny and thought provoking at times. A light read, nothing special.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Almost as good as Thursday Next...

I really enjoyed this title - a little slow to get going, but once into it, it is great. Loved the Welsh setting and accents. It had hints of Thursday Next, (Wales, not always raining) but I can’t give anything 5 stars in comparison to that first book and subsequent ones in the series. I guess it is hard being judged by comparison to one of my favourite books of all time. Strongly recommend this book.

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Early Riser

As weird and wonderful, story-wise, as always with Jasper Fforde. The main speaker is a joy to listen to but the cutaway at the beginning of each chapter just, ... I couldn't even listen towards the end. I'm not sure if it was just me but it was a nails-on-a-chalkboard situation.

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  • A Reader
  • 26-11-2018

Not as good as his other books

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

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  • Sleepyhollow
  • 13-08-2018

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.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • A. R. Daw
  • 22-02-2019

Turned into a marathon.

I started losing interest. Possibly a good premise but just too long winded for me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sue Gill
  • 28-01-2019

Brilliant, amusing and though inducing

A other fantastic story from Fford. Set in a Welsh soverinty that experiences ice age like winters with residents who hibernate.
Who stays up to look after them? What happens to those who dream?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. J. M. Galor
  • 20-12-2018

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J L Parkes
  • 13-08-2018

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vicky
  • 26-05-2019

I love this book!

I’m a big fan of all of JF’s books, and this one is no different. It bears no comparison in style to the other series (maybe a hint of the Shades series), but like all of his other books it’s superbly written.

The narrator was great and his delivery was compelling. I was put in mind of (the also wonderful) Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere at times due to the narrator’s style as well as the twist on reality that both books do.

Basically I had to put everything else on hold until I finished it - it’s one of those kind of books!

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  • miss laura daniels
  • 09-05-2019

Fan of Jasper Ford

I think this was a great addition to Jasper’s writings. As with most of his books, the storyline is unusual and complex (in a good way), great if you want to escape the real world. I look forward to his next book.

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  • Abby
  • 01-05-2019

Wasted potential

Excellent premise and some interesting world building but it feels like it needed a good editor to help weed out some of the information overload, tighten up the pacing, and excise a handful of unnecessary characters. There are the bones of a gripping alternative reality thriller in there but there’s just too much crammed in that overwhelms the plot.

The narrator does a good job with the material and his voice is quite soothing and feels in keeping with the tone of the book.

The story has its enjoyable moments but is very uneven and most of the plot seemed rushed through in the last couple of hours.

I’ve enjoyed other novels by the author but sadly was disappointed by Early Riser.





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  • d t
  • 17-04-2019

A whole snowy world

I did enjoy it actually, though as people have said it drags a little. Still, the narrator is clear and entertaining, and the story develops and resolves. I might listen to it again, and though I loved the Thursday Next books more, I appreciate the whole world setup for one book.

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  • Cherry Rogers
  • 28-03-2019

Early Riser was good but slow to start

I enjoyed Early Riser but found it hard to get into at first. Preferred Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series.

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  • Pippa
  • 30-12-2018

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.