Author(s): Jasper FfordeDownload
From the bestselling author of Thursday Next — a brilliant new novel about a world where social order and destiny are dictated by the colors you can see Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds. In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level House of Red and can see his own color—but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all just shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means. Eddie’s world wasn’t always like this. There’s evidence of a never-discussed disaster and now, many years later, technology is poor, news sporadic, the notion of change abhorrent, and nighttime is terrifying: no one can see in the dark. Everyone abides by a bizarre regime of rules and regulations, a system of merits and demerits, where punishment can result in permanent expulsion. Eddie, who works for the Color Control Agency, might well have lived out his rose-tinted life without a hitch. But that changes when he becomes smitten with Jane, a Grey, which is low-caste in this color-centric world. She shows Eddie that all is not well with the world he thinks is just and good. Together, they engage in dangerous revolutionary talk. Stunningly imaginative, very funny, tightly plotted, and with sly satirical digs at our own society, this novel is for those who loved Thursday Next but want to be transported somewhere equally wild, only darker; a world where the black and white of moral standpoints have been reduced to shades of grey.
Some Reviews: 4031 in Goodreads.com
A happy accident… my book club was reading “50 Shades of Gray,” and it just so happens that I missed the gathering (sorry, gals!) where this was chosen. With that “50” left off the title and another incarnation of “gray” (specifically “grey”), I requested the wrong book from the library.
I’m so very happy I did. It’s probably one of THE most imaginative books I’ve read in a very long while. I enjoyed it immensely. I completely expected to despise the reading experience as it’s a dystopian read. I’m not a fan of the dystopian genre. Fforde’s book is the exception to my rule. I suspect his plentiful humor played largely into making the experience a pleasant one. Most dystopian books are missing humor. I suspect if humor was a common thread in this genre, though, I might have another opinion on it.
Maybe all you “50 Shades of Gray” readers were reading the wrong book. Maaaaaybe you should’ve read this one instead.
Don’t read this book. Seriously. Wait until nos. 2 & 3 in the projected series have come out, then take yourself off to a beach or a comfy sofa somewhere for the weekend and just blow through them all in one great binge, because it will take so much concentration and devotion to keep up with the stunning intricacies of Fforde’s latest that it’s wasted effort not to just immerse for a bit. Trust me, I’ve read everything he’s written, and despite my usual sense of trepidation when faced with a new tome, I am inevitably swept completely away to the point of being irked when something silly like dinner or the need for sleep interferes with my reading. Eddie Russett is the main character in this venture, a character embedded in the unbelievably complex world of Chromatacia–a version of our world that is something like a cross between Ayn Rand’s Anthem and the opening sequences of the Wizard of Oz. (Seriously.) In short, it’s all about what you can see–and who knows that you can see it. Fforde’s years in the film industry have clearly served him well–I can’t exactly work out what his writing process must be like to enable him to fully, convincingly create worlds that function completely by their own set of norms, but I hope he can keep it up.
5.0 stars. Another superb novel by one of the best writers “that not everybody reads” working in speculative fiction. I am continually impressed by Fforde’s imagination, writing and his supreme talent for incorporating both well known and obscure references to literature and pop culture.
With this novel, Fforde begins a new series based in a future world that arose from the ashes of ours and in which every person’s status in society is based on the portion of color spectrum that they can see. Throw in such off the wall details like “giant swan attacks”, a Rule against using the number between 72 and 74 and how ownership of a spoon is a status symbol. It is smart, funny and very well written. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!
AHHH. SO GOOD. By the end, I just wanted to jump to the next book!
1. Wow! What a world. Jasper Fforde creates an imaginative, interesting, and complex dystopia society where what you see determines who you are. I loved the rules, and the process in which Fforde guides you through this odd futuristic society. SO COOL!
2. Pacing is slow throughout most of the book (until the end). Fforde slowly unravels the secrets and corruption behind this society, and it’s up to our main character Eddie to decide whether he will make the easy choice or the right one.
3. The writing is brilliant! I can say for sure my vocabulary count has increased.
4. The ending is amazing! Seriously made this jump from a 3-4 star book to a 5 star for me.
5. Totally geeked out over the colour references. It’s a graphic designer thing. :/
This is Jasper Fforde.
That means it’s silly, not necessarily groundbreaking, but certainly satirical, dark-edged, referential and post-modern in ways that will only work if you’re capable of tripping lightly along in his wake, enjoying the view and grinning wryly at the social commentary and broader themes he’s sketching on the horizon for you.
I always find the start of a new Fforde novel a bit like that first dive into cold water on a warm day. It’s shocking and disorientating, especially at first, so you just have to close your eyes, keep going, and soon you find you’re getting along so well in this new environment that you feel comfortable with it, even with those shadowy depths beneath you that you do not yet know anything about, and may never know. Like those watery spaces filled with possible fish, Fforde always conveys a sense of a fully realised world ticking away behind the main action and that’s certainly true in the whimsical, frightening world of Eddie Russett, when he find himself confronted by a man who’s wrong-spotted, somewhere in the middle of a plot that turns out to involve the government and society as a whole. As Eddie stumbles about uncovering more of the truth about his world, we’re dragged along too, catching the same puzzle-pieced conversations and bits of information about just what’s going on.
Fforde does tend towards stereotypes as support characters, but his dyads of protagonists do include tough, nuanced and interesting women, which always works for me, too. Jane is no exception, and the relationship between her and Eddie owes a lot to the noir genre, where the woman holds the knowledge necessary for the clueless male to fully realise what’s going on. I enjoy this, though I think the characterisation worked better when we were viewing the story from the woman’s perspective (as in Thursday Next’s arc) rather than as a guy seeing a woman as (yet again) a total cypher.
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