Kat's Reviews > Shades of Grey

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
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Apr 05, 10

bookshelves: fiction-humour, fiction-sf-and-fantasy
Read in February, 2010

One of Jasper Fforde's greatest strengths is his apparently never-ending supply of quirky, fun ideas and joky asides. Unfortunately, this can also translate into a weakness. "Shades of Grey" basically suffers from an overflow of genius.

This new universe he's created is filled with character and is another great example of Fforde's sideways take on the world but reading it, you feel like you're constantly being buffeted with new concepts, habits and laws that it gets exhausting. I spent so much time trying to keep up with how the society worked, that the plot got lost. The author says himself in his end note that the undertaking was harder than he expected.

I think of his previous novels, The Well of Lost Plots is most comparable, in that it also threatened to overwhelm you but being the third in the series, most readers would have already encountered two books in the same, Thursday Next, universe. "Shades of Grey" doesn't have that luxury.

Like a lot of Fforde, I think this book will reward re-reading, allowing one to catch jokes and references that were missed the first time and without needing to keep up with what's happening. Despite feeling a little underwhelmed, I look forward to the second in the series.
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