Early Riser: A Novel by Jasper Fforde, 3/5
This dystopian novel explores the logistical, social, and political implications of living in a world so close to another ice age that humans must hibernate through the winter months. Fforde’s inimitable style does shine through in a couple places, but overall I found the story to be a bit on the pedestrian side. Not exactly predictable, but familiar, like it was based on a Netflix series I’d already seen or something. Of course, Netflix was still a mail-order DVD service the last time I read anything by Jasper Fforde, so hopefully the perceived lack of depth and magic is not simply a result of brain rot from indulging in more mindless TV than good books in the last few years.
Why I read it: the author came up in conversation with my sister.
In this touching story, set in an eerily believable dystopian future, Tevis explores what it means to be human–a well-worn topic that somehow finds fresh, new life under his sensitive but sure hand. I quite liked how the story unfolded when approached with rather less preknowledge than could be gained from the previous sentence, so I will leave this review suitably sparse. Suffice it to say that the author’s insight into the human condition combines with the book’s accessibility, immediacy and artistic merit to outshine, in my opinion, other novels in the genre, such as Brave New World and 1984.
[Why I read it: A recommendation from my friend, Alison.]
A dystopian setting in Planet Earth’s near future provides an interesting contrast to the steady stream of 1980s trivia in this homage to geek culture. It is, perhaps, unreasonable to complain about the preponderance of cliches and stereotypes in this novel, since Cline uses them effectively to create an exciting, page-turner story. However, the complete lack of character development, increasingly contrived plot, clumsy foreshadowing, excruciatingly poorly-written “love” angle, and lightweight ending complete with deus ex machina ultimately kind of killed it for me.
[Why I read it: I waited so long for this book to come in at the library that I’ve completely forgotten how I heard about it. Perhaps a friend told me about it?]