A madcap adventure through the Welsh winter, which has grown so deadly most humans literally sleep through it. Charlie Worthing has decided to join the Winter Consul Service, the select group of people who don’t hibernate through winter in order to keep the sleepers safe until they wake up in the spring.
The feverish inventiveness of Jasper Fforde’s latest novel is exhaustive — and at times exhausting. His imagined world is thoroughly packed with detail, but reading lines such as, 'He’s womad stock; Oldivician, I think. Part of his midwinter freezerthon,' can make you wilt ... Fforde’s comic touch — which includes unexpected references to everything from Showaddywaddy to Tunnock’s teacakes — just about balances out the geekery of this alternate reality, and the thriller side of the tale is addictively propulsive.
Readers familiar with Fforde’s gleefully pun-heavy world building will relish this stand-alone novel, confident that everything will work out in the end for the underdog. Give it to fans of John Scalzi and Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series.
Jasper Fforde is in fine form in his 14th novel, stringing along this adventure with wry wit, a sometimes-bonkers plot and a joke that takes a hundred pages to sneakily find its punchline. If not for the absurdity of the tale, Early Riser could’ve easily been a mere allegory of the dangers of global warming and Big Pharma. But what matters most is the nature of humanity, as empathy saves the day, and our good guy has no reason to wonder just how good he is.