Title: Shades of Grey
Series: Shades of Grey, #1
Author: Jasper Fforde
Genre: YA Dystopia
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.
Shades of Grey was a dark, thought-provoking, crushing dystopian novel, but it was also a funny, witty, and enjoyable read. The world was dark, soul-crushing, monstrous, and nightmare-ish, but the story was delivered in a way that made me smile all throughout reading the book and laugh out loud like a mad girl occasionally.
The plot was very well-developed and well-structured. The writing style was exceptional. My favorite part about the writing style was the hint of sarcasm. There was a perfect combination of showing, telling, and hiding information – it was never really discussed “What Happened Before” and how their society ended up the way it was but it was okay and it worked.
I wasn’t able to connect and relate with the characters as much as I would have loved to. Eddie and Jane’s relationship also develops very slowly that in the end of the book, they weren’t even really “together” yet. I do understand that this is the first of a series and the author probably wanted to focus more on world-building, but I would have loved more character-building, too.
In the end, the book ended with a bunch of cliffhangers that just makes you want to read the next book. I don’t like how the next book won’t be out until 2015 and I’m hoping it comes out sooner, but I definitely recommend this if you’re into dystopia or if you’re looking for something new.
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