Shades of Grey (not to be confused with FIFTY Shades of Grey)

Shades of Grey
By: Jasper Fforde

Series: Shades of Grey

Published: 2009

# of pages: 390

Quote: “’Unless the hole is MEANT to be square,’ I said with a sudden erudition that surprised me, ‘in which case, all the round pegs are the ones that are wrong, and if the ROUND hole is one that is not meant to be square, then the square ones will, no, hang on–‘

‘Shame,’ said the historian, ‘and you were doing so well.’” -pg 210

Official description: 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 Nightseer 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 Nextbut 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: Loved it!  It took me awhile to get into the world.  There were a few times in the first several chapters I thought it was a little stupid and wondered if I would like the book.  What I didn’t know when I started is that this is a humorous book.  Not to say that the main point of the book is humor, or that there aren’t many serious lessons and issues in the book, but it is all masked in humor and you can’t take the details too seriously.

Yes, a world where people can only see certain shades of color and where they’ve created a caste system based on color is silly.  It’s silly that there is a society that make up laws for every silly little thing.  So don’t get bogged down by some of the ridiculousness.  It’s a touching, thought provoking book with some really funny moments, not just silly ones.

The next book in the series is being published in 2013, just in time!!

Why I gave this book 5/5 stars: Great writing, great characters, subtle humor, unique story line and setting, very thought provoking.

Other reviews:

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I’d be happy to post yours as well.

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