Review: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Shades of GreyShades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
Read: March 18 – 30, 2013
Book club selection – dystopia genre

Book Blurb: 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 from the dark, unlit side of the village. 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.

My Opinion: NO. Not THAT Shades of Grey. That is what I found myself saying the most when I told people I was reading this book. This shares nothing with the Twilight fanfic spinoff other than a similar name. So don’t worry.

Shades of Grey is a fantastic book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it for book club, and I think I would have enjoyed reading it a bit more if it hadn’t been broken into chunks.

The beginning is very slow and plodding. Fforde takes his sweet time with worldbuilding, but it very much pays off in the end. The narrative is amazing. There is humor, there is wit, and the book dumps you on your butt and kicks you along. No leisurely strolls through the park, here.

The plot twists are sensational. Just when you think you know what is going to happen, it twists. And then it twists again. And once more just for good measure.

I found that Jasper Fforde did an exceptional job with characters as well as world-building. I felt connected to the characters, once the worldbuilding was out of the way. I cared what happened to them.

I really don’t know what else to say that won’t spoil the book.

Bottom Line: I loved this book, and you should totally read it. But not now. Wait until the rest of the series is out. Book two has been pushed back to 2015 as of right now. I think I might die a little inside waiting that long.


One thought on “Review: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday – June 18 | Written Permission

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