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Grey

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3.27  ·  Rating Details ·  285 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
In a world pushed beyond the moral simplicity of black and white, all that survives is Grey.


High fashion, corporate malfeasance, celebrity culture, and an obsessed media collide with exuberant violence and volatile intensity in Grey, the explosive debut novel by newcomer Jon Armstrong.


For Michael Rivers, life is perfect. Michael has everything; tall, handsome, and famous,

...more
Kindle Edition, 249 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Night Shade Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 672)
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Nicholas Karpuk
"Grey" is not a great book, but it's indicative of the ability to write a great book.

I admit, I bought this book from Tattered Cover essentially because it has an awesome cover and an endorsement from Michael Chabon. Seriously, find a bigger version of that image, it's a stellar piece of artwork. But if you read Chabon's quote closely, it more or less falls into line with my feeling, he knows what this author has and is suggesting you get in on the ground floor.

Jon Armstrong makes all the typica
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Brandon
at first the story was holding up, then it slacked off when it went into cyber-punk territory (a prostitute with a prosthetic vagina instead of a bellybutton who dies after a run-in with the main character who gets... over... the barrier... ...), but it's back on course. this morning while listening to it on the way to work, the characters were eating elephant steaks and drinking cola made from krill.

now, here's the thing:
this takes place in a world where excess-like-we-have-no-idea-of is the ex
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Daniel Roy
Jun 17, 2012 Daniel Roy rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf, dystopia, cyberpunk
It's probably my fault, but I didn't "get" this book. The setting is clever: dystopian near-future where the ultra-rich have become even richer and more decadent. What's a 19 year-old to do in this world? Why, reject all excesses and embrace a yearning for monochromatic prints and suits, of course.

Unfortunately, the story itself doesn't live up to the cleverness of the setting. The story is supposed to be about a love story--comparisons are made to Romeo and Juliet, but I think they only hurt th
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Terence
Like a crazy slap in the face with a steel-reinforced cummerbund. Grey depicts a future world where the corporations are like high tech medieval fiefdoms that promote their products with brutal, ear-piercing raves and use arranged marriages to solidify mergers. The book presents an interesting contrast between the narrator, 19-year-old Michael Rivers, a sensitive aficionado of calm, grey fashion, and his loud, obnoxious father, Hiro Bruce Rivers. Michael's favorite sport is competitive ironing; ...more
YouKneeK
This book was definitely not what I expected. I was expecting something with a more serious tone, but instead I found it to be quite bizarre. There was a glimmer of an interesting story in there somewhere, but the insane characters populating the story kept trampling over that glimmer and spitting on it with disdain.

The book started off ok. The main character, Michael, was somewhat likeable and his girlfriend Nora seemed interesting. But, as soon as other characters started entering the picture,
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Michael Duff
Jun 24, 2016 Michael Duff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Like millions of aspiring science fiction writers in the world, there are some books I read and I think, "I could do that!"

But the books that really blow me away are books that seem to be written on another level entirely, written with the kind of skill and passion and originality that I could not emulate in a million years.

Grey is one of those books - a deeply relevant and powerful satire that spoke to me as a parable about Boomers vs. GenXers, but that could be relevant to any generation overw
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Zain
Sep 07, 2014 Zain rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't often read dystopian novels and this was a frightening one in terms of the extent of degeneration of culture. I loved the tenderness between Michael and Nora and wish there was some more of that instead of his repulsive father and the disgusting things he says. I also really like the concept of the magazine Pure H and how their minds were always in sync when they quoted the captions from the photographs. I think theirs is the ideal relationship to have - the completing each others' sente ...more
Amaha
Jun 23, 2008 Amaha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, dystopian novel about the cult of celebrity and fashion. Like Blade Runner meets Tiger Beat, with some Project Runway thrown in for good measure.
Mia
May 22, 2008 Mia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2008, sf-f
A plausible while over-the-top extrapolation of a certain aspect of the current society of spectacle.
Ross Lockhart
Jun 27, 2007 Ross Lockhart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant high-fashion dystopia, and I did the jacket copy. Trust me, you want to read this book.
Ladysatel
Jan 26, 2016 Ladysatel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopian, fashion
Michael Rivers son of the head of RiverCorp seems to have it all. He is a great dancer, is very good looking and is in love with Nora daughter of the head of MKG Group. Then Michael is shot and the aftermath of that shooting completely changes his life.

Michael lives in a dystopian world of the have and have- nots. His journey to understand his place in the world takes him to places he never imagined existed.

This book is a look at a fantastic future governed by fashion and Uber music. How Michael
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Michelle
Apr 22, 2015 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, dystopia, ebook
ah, what on earth did i just read?

the future of 'grey' echoes both our current obsession with celebrity for celebrity's sake, and oddly, 'idiocracy' in that you have to wonder how on earth anything gets done through all the mindless partying with willful igorants. Michael is the richest of the rich, only son of "the number one megacorp" (exactly what this business does, or how they do it, or who is actually paying for anything here is all fuzzy), who used to promote the family business by being
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Chris
This cyber/fashionpunk book tells the classic story of two young lovers separated by warring families. While the story is nothing new, the dystopian world and pop culture living is a fresh take. When fashion goes so far over the top, blending into culture like the lifestyle commitment only found in a sixteen year old, you have clothes ironing competitions, and hairstylists that are also CEO consultants, but in a razor sharp thong kind of way. The descriptive fashion and the clothing involved too ...more
Becky
Jun 29, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a society controlled in large part by an elite group of corporations and characterized by its wild extremes young Michael Rivers is a demigod. The heir apparent to high-tech security juggernaut RiverGroup, the 19-year-old has it all: He's handsome, fashionable, and literally worshiped by millions of people who monitor his every movement through the media. And his future looks even brighter -- his girlfriend, Nora, the daughter of the head of a competing conglomerate, is his ideal partner. But ...more
Alexandra
Jan 13, 2012 Alexandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
I'm glad I read YARN first, because if I had read this first I don't think I would have picked it up. That's a long way of saying that this book isn't nearly as good as the second (which is really a prequel).

GREY is focussed on the spoilt son of a big-time CEO, and his flouncing around when he doesn't get everything his own way. It has overtones of Romeo and Juliet with - I can't believe I'm saying this - even more pretensions, and less soul. (Also no Mercutio.) Michael is being set up to marry
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sj
I finished reading Grey last night before bed, and had a difficult time falling asleep because I couldn't stop thinking about it. I suppose that could be taken as a good sign, but my primary concern was trying to figure out if I'd actually, y'know, liked it.

There were elements of the book that I absolutely loved. The descriptions of the clothing and people were quite vivid, and I had no problem visualizing the entire book as a movie playing out in my head. Grey takes place in a futuristic world
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Paul
Jun 04, 2010 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grey by Jon Armstrong is a Romeo and Juliet tale set in a hypersensitive, almost synesthetic world. The story is “sensual” in the most literal meaning of the word. Colors, tastes, textures and smells are all described in great detail and juxtaposed in discordant manners. It’s a technicolor phantasmagoria.

Michael and Nora are initially brought together in the hopes of merging the companies of their families. The attempted murder of 19 year old Michael results in the cancellation of the marriage u
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Amanda
In the near future capitalism has entirely taken over, and the world is ruled by a few families....and their corporations. People from all walks of life are also completely obsessed with fashion. Michael Rivers is the heir to the River Corporation and is being sent on worldwide-aired dates with Nora, the heir to another company. Just when they are about to announce their engagement, however, a freeboot shoots at Michael leaving the families blaming each other for the incident. Michael refuses to ...more
Elf M.
Oct 30, 2011 Elf M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grey, by Jon Armstrong, is a science-fiction love story set in some far future Earth-based dystopia. The hero, Michael Rivers, is the scion of Hiro Rivers, owner of the RiversGroup Security Service, supposedly one of the most powerful families among the citified. Michael is in love with Nora, daughter of the owner of the MKG Security Service, a competing company with which there was to be a merger until, at the end of chapter one, someone gets through RiversGroup Security, attacks Michael, and m ...more
Brian
Dec 01, 2010 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charles Dee Mitchell
I know this will be difficult, but try to imagine a world where millions of common, everyday people live their lives vicariously by following the fashion trends, the sex lives, and the day-by-day doings of a select group of super glamorous, super wealthy people.

Wait a minute! That's our world. But do not despair, the world Jon Armstrong creates in his debut novel takes all our fascination with celebrity and wealth and cranks it up several notches. (TMZ would seem as sober as C-SPAN in this world
...more
Aimee
Oct 26, 2012 Aimee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grey is one of those rare novels that takes a high concept and runs with it in a very careful and yet exhilarating fashion. It's a coming of age novel set in a bizarre future that is still incredibly familiar to anyone who remembers thinking they knew everything, only to have it fall down around them.

We're introduced to Michael, the main character, who is clearly in the teen stage of I Will Be the Exact Opposite of My Parents. His father is crass, loud, annoying, and wears bright conflicting col
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Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

This is one of four books that recently came in and out of my life without me finishing, which coincidentally enough also kicks off a little mini-series coming here to CCLaP this month; for, you see, by sheer dumb luck, I was able this month to get my hands on half of the ten science-fiction novels no
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Shinynickel
Dec 28, 2010 Shinynickel marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Off this review:

Now comes a bright and witty new practitioner of this honorable mode of speculatively savaging humanity's foibles. Jon Armstrong has archly labeled his own work "fashionpunk," since it takes the whole daft scene connected with haute couture -- media overkill, celebrities, status and wealth -- and rakes it over the coals by way of absurdist amplification.

In Armstrong's debut novel "Grey" we were introduced to a crazed yet consistent future in which clothes literally make the man
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Артём Багинский
As far as I'm concerned, the best book on podiobooks.com (sadly, "taken off the shelf [...] by the request of the author"), what a delight it was to discover after a couple of disappointments (I did discover more gems there later, but none of them greater then Grey). Usually characterized as fashion punk, I read it more like yarn porn (and, hey, the prequel is called Yarn). I listened to the book read by the author and each time I hear him again on his podcast, I flashback to the world of Grey. ...more
Tyrannosaurus regina
Not as deeply weird nor as completely engrossing as the subsequent Yarn, but still weird and still engrossing and still very much my kind of thing. Apparently I like being slapped in the face with strange turns of phrase and brutally suggestive language—in this context, anyway. (That said, we could have done better with women in the book, each individually and in general.)
Andrea Mullarkey
The best way I can describe this book is to say it’s an upbeat Super Sad True Love Story for teens. Armstrong provides a highly stylized but not exactly optimistic vision of the future dominated by corporate families and style magazines. Michael, heir apparent to a high-tech security firm falls in love with the lovely Nora, daughter of their chief ally and rival MKG. It is a futuristic Romeo & Juliet complete with body modification surgery, metal and mineral fabrics and people living off the ...more
Ben Nash
The whole time I was reading this book, I wondered why exactly I found it compelling. The main character and his dad both act, in different ways, like annoying little children. Maybe the love story kept me going. Maybe it was the hope that the 19 year old protagonist would grow up and stop acting like a kid.

That might make it sound all bad, but the world was cool, and the writing (and the 200 page length) made this a quick read. Armstrong makes the details of fashion an important part of the wor
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Lyricsninja
Feb 22, 2012 Lyricsninja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grey is a solid novel through and through that places you into a very much cyberpunk type of future, mixed with the movie idiocracy, and then touched off with an additional fashion explosion. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well it is. Ridiculous fashion and absolute absurdity reigns king in this futuristic society which pits the families against the slums. But it also means that families are pitted against eachother and may only merge through arranged marriages. Slight twists and turns lead you throu ...more
Katrina
There were provoking elements: overly bombastic material culture, social degradation, murder plot, romance, but the pieces didn't work together. Why, if Michael was supposed to take over the corporation, was he not schooled as he was growing up? Why did an entire culture get to this point, and where are the people trying to save it (the only character seeking an outlet for hope is the mysterious author of Pure H). Who is in charge - the infrastructure, the govt, how does it all work? Bits of Rom ...more
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