Shades of Grey: a review
Shades of Grey is set in the dystopian world of Chromatacia, where your worth is determined by how much of a certain colour you can see. Our protagonist is Eddie Russett, a seemingly unremarkable young Red who accompanies his father to a small town. Once there, the unfairness of the system starts to dawn on him, aided by the Grey Jane and her lovely retroussé nose.
Shades of Grey was the first Jasper Fforde novel I’ve read. It was shamelessly pushed on me by Ellena, my closest friend and Read New Stuff advocate.
(This is why we’re friends.)
I didn’t really have many. I had seen Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels before and thought they looked interesting, but I’d never read any. The fact that Ellena recommended Shades of Grey did prepossess me in its favour, though.
Also, I have a definite thing for dystopias, so that certainly made me feel like this would be my kind of book.
I was, perhaps, afraid it would be too smooth, too light and entertaining. I like my books to come with a message and to make me think and feel, not just entertain me on a rainy day.
As I read
I cannot overstate how entertaining this story is. Fforde’s language is so concise and funny. And on top of that, an actual message is contained in all the hilarity.
Reading about the society in itself is quite fascinating, especially since things aren’t minutely explained to us. Several mentions are made of “swan attacks” as an ever-present danger, which remains baffling until you check out Fforde’s website. Then, too, it is hinted that the people in the story have apparently evolved to something beyond human, as it is frequently mentioned that the “Previous” looked strange to them.
It is a very smooth read, but not irritatingly so. The ending will break some hearts - and the fact that the next installment in the trilogy is not soon forthcoming will make that so much worse.
Everyone. I don’t say that lightly. The whole is well-crafted but not overly difficult. It is so easy to get immersed in this world, so get your hands on a copy as soon as you can!