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Shades of Grey

(Shades of Grey #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  33,917 ratings  ·  4,360 reviews
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 mean ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published December 29th 2009 by Penguin Group Viking Adult (first published November 6th 2009)
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JohnO The town of Lincoln in England produced cloth in medieval times and their green dye was famous for its colour. They used Woad to make a blue then adde…moreThe town of Lincoln in England produced cloth in medieval times and their green dye was famous for its colour. They used Woad to make a blue then added another plant-based yellow dye as a secondary, to produce their green. Other towns were known for other colours. Brunswick green seems to have originated in Germany, in Braunschweig, which became Brunswick in English.(less)

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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  33,917 ratings  ·  4,360 reviews

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Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this as an audiobook just recently, and I was absolutely blown away by it.

That said, I don’t know how I’d describe the entirety of it to someone. If I were to summarize it, it would sound... well... kinda dumb.

Let me say this instead: It’s funny without being goofy. It’s clever without being pretentious. It’s original without being desperate. Its mysterious without being willfully obtuse.

Best of all, this story has an element of what I think of as divine ridiculousness: a delight
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
A happy accident... my book club was reading "50 Shades of Gray," and it just so happens that I missed the gathering (sorry, gals!) where this was chosen. With that "50" left off the title and another incarnation of "gray" (specifically "grey"), I requested the wrong book from the library.

I'm so very happy I did. It's probably one of THE most imaginative books I've read in a very long while. I enjoyed it immensely. I completely expected to despise the reading experience as it's a dystopian read
mark monday
the world of Shades of Grey is a nightmarish dystopia: a ruthless totalitarian regime that destroys all individualistic spirit, all creativity and ambiguity and questioning of authority; a monstrous government that divides its citizens into color-stratified class/caste systems that is based upon the inherent physical deficiencies of its populace; a place with no love and where death is the end result for the underdog and misfit.

sounds pretty bleak, right? well, dear reader, think again! this rat
Candace Burton
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Don't read this book. Seriously. Wait until nos. 2 & 3 in the projected series have come out, then take yourself off to a beach or a comfy sofa somewhere for the weekend and just blow through them all in one great binge, because it will take so much concentration and devotion to keep up with the stunning intricacies of Fforde's latest that it's wasted effort not to just immerse for a bit. Trust me, I've read everything he's written, and despite my usual sense of trepidation when faced with a new ...more
First Second Books
Note to my mother: NOT THE SAME SHADES OF GREY!
Steve Fox
Sep 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Surely, there's more to writing a book than simply having a good idea?

This book is based on a good idea, but it reads like it was written by a computer programme and commissioned by that bloke in Marketing who seems to have a new car every other month.

It's so damn clunky. The sentences are twistier than a twisty thing, the narrative structure was arrived at using one of those foldy-paper-fingers-things and the jokes were designed by the same committee that came up with the camel. And Fforde must
5.0 stars. Another superb novel by one of the best writers "that not everybody reads" working in speculative fiction. I am continually impressed by Fforde's imagination, writing and his supreme talent for incorporating both well known and obscure references to literature and pop culture.

With this novel, Fforde begins a new series based in a future world that arose from the ashes of ours and in which every person's status in society is based on the portion of color spectrum that they can see. Thr
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fforde is a satiric word-weaver and I always look forward to reading whatever he pumps out. Thursday Next is my literary hero, and while the Nursery Crime books weren't up to snuff, they weren't bad--just not as interesting as a dashing, cheese-smuggling book jumper.

Shades of Grey is the beginning of a new dystopian trilogy situated in Chromatocia, a world ruled by the Colortocracy where color perception has faded and social hierarchy is determined by what colors you can see. Edward Russet, the
I've been on a dystopian kick over the last several months, and it was interesting to read this one so soon after Brave New World; Jasper Fforde offers up some similar ideas but approaches the concept of a totalitarian future society from the same skewed perspective he brought to the Thursday Next series.

That said, I didn't always find this a fun read. I might blame it on fatigue, but I found the first half of this one really slow going. It takes Fforde a long time to set up his world, slowly r
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is my second attempt to read this book. I think I struggled my first time as I think I expected something kind of silly like the Thursday Next or the Nursery Crime series. While this book certainly has a number of silly elements, this is also a book I found had an underlying sense of dread and real mystery. Mystery as we’re never told by the author what happened to the world, just that the characters live in a place post-Epiphany, as they call it. Their world is heavily stratified by colour ...more
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
AHHH. SO GOOD. By the end, I just wanted to jump to the next book!

Initial thoughts:
1. Wow! What a world. Jasper Fforde creates an imaginative, interesting, and complex dystopia society where what you see determines who you are. I loved the rules, and the process in which Fforde guides you through this odd futuristic society. SO COOL!
2. Pacing is slow throughout most of the book (until the end). Fforde slowly unravels the secrets and corruption behind this society, and it's up to our main charact
2.5 stars - Spoilers

Good but also bad, really really bad. So yea, I liked it but I also hated it.

-I didn't know what the fuck was going on for the most part. It was such a weird dystopian world. I mean, how can colour perception be that bloody important?! And how did the human eye 'evolve' so that people could only see 1 or 2 colours? It made very little sense. I admit that it was an interesting concept but none of it was remotely believable.
I was lost as soon as I started, nothing was explain
This is Jasper Fforde.
That means it's silly, not necessarily groundbreaking, but certainly satirical, dark-edged, referential and post-modern in ways that will only work if you're capable of tripping lightly along in his wake, enjoying the view and grinning wryly at the social commentary and broader themes he's sketching on the horizon for you.

I always find the start of a new Fforde novel a bit like that first dive into cold water on a warm day. It's shocking and disorientating, especially at fi
Megan Baxter
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shades of Grey is an unexpectedly devastating book. Funny as hell, yes, but with a creeping sense of horrors lurking just beneath the surface, and when they strike, well, they were even more awful than I'd been anticipating.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Shades of Grey (2009) by Jasper Fforde
Finished Reading: 4/1/19
Rating: 5/5

{Clue: Complementary colors are absolutely forbidden to ever perform this romantic act}

Made perfect sense that author Jasper Fforde worked for years in the film industry- his aptitude for vividly painting pictures and scenes through words; the imagination, creativity, and ingenuity that he articulates is remarkable.

Argot used in Chromatica is delightfully innovative and unique- where the “Previous” once lived, before t
Lisa Vegan
Apr 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with a warped sense of humor who also enjoys dystopian novels
This is one of those books that’s most enjoyable to read when you come to it knowing not too much. So, I’ll say just three specific things: 1. Spoons!!! Very amusing for me given that except for a few exceptions such as salads, I use spoons to eat everything not to be eaten with my hands, 2. I’m going to be very aware if I use the phrase “you know” and will try to avoid doing so, 3. page 79: The Little Engine That Could bit was extremely amusing. (If you haven’t yet read this book, don’t worry i ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopian
"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't"

Do you recognize that quote? If you do, you're probably a Douglas Adams fan which means you would probably like this also. The first several chapters had so many lines in it that sounded just like something Adams would have written that you could have told me Fforde was Adams' pen-name and I would have fallen for it 100%. I love the British sense of humor and wit, the dry cleverness always gets me and Fforde is quite good at slipp
Jasper Fforde has a hit with this new series. I have had his "Thursday Next" series on my to-read list forever but the first in this new series popped up at the library so I thought I'd give it a shot. And I am so glad I did!

In this world, the lives of the people are defined by their ability to perceive color. Each person in the Collective is subject the "Ishihara test" upon turning 20 years old. Once their color perception is measured and documented by a representative from National Color, they
Fforde has created another most illogically logical, or logically illogical world, just like he did with his great Thursday Next series. However you look at it, this new world is more bizarre than Lewis Carroll's mad Wonderland and L. Frank Baum's colorful Oz combined. Mix in a bit of the dystopian worlds created by Lois Lowry in The Giver and Gathering Blue and you get this amazing book. A story of a future where the rules of living are based on color. Not the color of a person's skin, but the ...more
Apr 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“What did he just say?” I think this was a constant reaction from me given that this is my first Fforde novel. And, boy did I slow down my pace. I even put it down a couple of times to get the details straight, EVEN SO: Shades Of Grey is worth it.

Eddie and his world are definitely quirky, different and funny! He simply wants to marry Constance and get a good job; first he must go to the Outer Fringe to conduct a chair census. On his way, he and his father meet a Grey camouflaged as a Purple as
This was really, really good, and really, really weird.

I’ve been sitting on a hardcover copy of this book for YEARS, waiting for the right time to read it. The long-promised two sequels seemed nowhere in sight, so I figured no harm in waiting. And now that it looks like the second book* is on it’s way for next year at the earliest, 2017 at the latest, I figured it was about time. I am also feeling resentful and wanting to take back the phrase “Shades of Grey” from certain . . . sectors. And wha
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron is Jasper Fforde at his weirdest. It contains a delightfully bizarre and humorous look at a post-apocalyptic world hundreds (if not thousands...the timeline is a bit vague) years in the future where a future species of "human" lives in a society structured on ones ability to see color. The people of this world are largely colorblind or have limited monochromatic vision or (at best) dichromatic vision. The better you can see your specific color, the higher ...more
Good concept but not as well executed as I wanted it to be. Yes, I am saying “as I wanted it to be” because this is not essentially a bad novel. Far from it. The world building in itself is a sort of achievement. But considering the fact that the whole book is just that - world building - right upto the last 50 pages or so, I am not sure whether I like it or not.

Well, I don't want to properly review this book for you (because I am annoyed as this promised to be a 5 star book for me at the start
Sumit Singla
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not fully sure of how to classify this book. Is it social satire? Is it absurdist literature? It is just a light-hearted comedic attempt by someone with a phenomenal sense of humour? Well, probably a bit of all three.

Our story is set in an oddly dystopian society - where citizens are colour-coded into a caste system. There is a total lack of individualism, and people are trained to be conformists. But, it's not bleak; it's a laugh riot with tons of actual LOL moments.

After all, punishments f
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really liked this one - it was funny (not in an annoying slapstick way) and had a very interesting, well thought out world. However, this book just ends. There's no real resolution to anything. Clearly there was meant to be a follow on book that never happened. For that reason, my recommendation is to skip this book simply because the ending is so frustrating. ...more
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who: are looking for something creative, enjoy quirky humor.
I knew that you were going to do this, Fforde. You couldn't have just let things end on a happy note, could you? You had to get my hopes up, and then punch them right in the face in the last few pages and ruin everything. Then you laugh as you gleefully tell me that the sequel won't be out for another year or more.


Oh, look. Another book involving shades of grey. Unlike the last one, however, this one doesn’t spit upon the face of literature. I apologize for the length of that above summary, b
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
So happy to be slow to the party with this one, which is odd because I loooove Jasper Fforde and all his books. But this one, written in 2009, is not really a standalone, and if you make it to the end of this one, from the daffy futuristic world set 500 years or so after Something That Happened, to the end that reveals just how bleak of a dystopia this world is (not a huge shock what happens to the Rebooters), where everything is upended, ending on a GIANT CLIFFHANGER, with a note that the next ...more
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.


I had zero idea what to think when I picked up Shades of Grey from the bookstore. When I say "no idea," I really mean not a fucking clue in the entire world; I didn't even read the blurb on the back. It had been recommended to me, that was all. I have never been so glad that I bought a random book, ever.

Edward Russett lives in a Dystopian future version of what was (possibly) our world. People do not see in full color anymore, and the social hierarchy has been established based on what color
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
If you're a Jasper Fforde fan, don't let my low rating deter you. This book is pure Fforde: a maelstrom of crazy ideas that somehow coalesces into a coherent, if weird, world. The world that Fforde has created here was the biggest draw, for me; I loved delving into this strange society, where the colors that a person can see determines their social standing.

My main disappointment with the book was that it really wanted to be several books at once. Somewhere in Shades of Grey, there's a fantastic
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Fforde began his career in the film industry, and for nineteen years held a variety of posts on such movies as Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment. Secretly harbouring a desire to tell his own stories rather than help other people tell their's, Jasper started writing in 1988, and spent eleven years secretly writing novel after novel as he strove to find a style of his own that was a no-man ...more

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Shades of Grey (3 books)
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I have a sneaking regard for yellow as a coquettish mistress. But if I were to be surrounded by color, it would have to be a green.
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