Mei-Lu's Reviews > Shades of Grey
Shades of Grey (Shades of Grey, #1)
by Jasper Fforde
by Jasper Fforde
Sep 17, 11
Read in September, 2011
I read genre fiction because I like to be surprised, I like leftfield ideas. But this book is seriously one of the most leftfield books I've ever read. I've tried to explain the concept of this book to other people and had them look at me as if I suddenly had begun speaking in Klingon (God, I hate it when that happens, don't you?) It's set in a futuristic, dystopian world that owes a little bit to Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. In this world (which *might* be Oz, but with more English accents and culture), Something Has Happened. No one knows exactly what but humans are distinctly different now than they were Before. For one thing, their pupils do not adjust to light conditions so they can't see in the dark. (They comment on how creepy people look with their huge pupils in images before the Something That Happened.) More importantly, everyone is selectively color-blind. They can only see one color on the spectrum. How much of a color they can see determines their status. The main character, Eddie Russett, is a promising young man. Although he hasn't yet been tested for his color perception, he knows he can see red very very well indeed. He's hoping to marry up, into the Oxblood family. But all his hopes and dreams are screwed up when he and his father get sent to the Outer Fringes of civilized lands. There he discovers that the society in which he lives is not actually perfect. Structurally, the story of Shades of Grey is quite similar to the Matrix and I anticipate the second and third books in the planned trilogy will see Eddie bringing down the evil totalitarian regime that is currently in power. What I loved about this book was its slyly subversive sense of humor. Generally speaking, I'm not a huge fan of futuristic dystopian novels because they tend to be quite humorless. But when your main character falls in love with a girl because of the attractiveness of her nose and is afraid of giant swans, you know that humorlessness will NOT be a problem on this ride.
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