Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

  Chris  Review by:  Chris

Title:  Shades of Grey

Author:  Jasper Fforde

Collection:  Adult Fiction

In the Collective, status is determined by the type and amount of color a person can see.  Reds, like Eddie Russet, are the lowest of the Chromatics, just above the Greys, who can’t see color at all.  Citizens try to climb up the spectrum or increase their saturation through strategic marriage, and Eddie, who expects to have high red perception, is on a half-promise to Constance Oxblood, daughter of the Collective’s string magnate.  His greatest problem in life is how to convince Constance to choose him over his rival Roger Maroon.  However when Eddie accompanies his father on a business trip to the outer fringes, he sees things that he can’t explain, things that challenge everything he believes about his society and the Something-that-Happened, the event that destroyed the Previous centuries before Munsell’s Epiphany.  A grey girl named Jane seems to hold the key to some of the mysteries, and she just happens to have the cutest nose that Eddie has ever seen.  Too bad for him that she wants nothing to do with a nosy Chromatic whose curiosity could get them both killed and put others in great danger.  While still highly satirical, this book is less humorous than Fforde’s previous novels.   It also offers little in the way of exposition, which made it difficult for me to get into for awhile, but once things start to fall into place, readers can feel like they are both on the inside of the colortocracy and privileged to transcend its limitations.

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