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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Shades of Grey
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:$100.37+ $5.00 shipping

on January 21, 2015
Not what I expected.
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on February 11, 2013
Never read something as unique as this book. Very clever and a page turner. You just want to know more and more about the characters and this world of colors and rules.
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on May 30, 2014
Great condition. Thanks. This is a hilarious book and a recommended read, can't wait for the prequel/sequel one of these days.
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on January 7, 2014
In a world where colour hierarchy means everything, you better hope your hue is prefect.

This book has changed all previous opinions I had on what a brilliant book should be. It was simply everything I want in a book. A unique world, fun character perspectives, brilliant & quirky writing, it made me laugh and I could not put it down.
I've spent hours after thinking and trying to imagine myself in a world where I could only see 24% red or 72% yellow.
I found this book by chance and after finishing it I discovered this is only book one in a trilogy. Thank God for that because after finishing I was excited, but also disappointed that the adventure was over. I will re-read and then re-re-read and then re-re-re... you get the point, this book... and I cannot wait for the next one.

Favorite Quote:
"The cucumber and the tomato are both fruit; the avocado is a nut. To assist with the dietary requirements of vegetarians on the first Tuesday of the month a chicken is officially a vegetable."
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HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon January 5, 2010
Far in the future -- after Something Happened -- the world has become a literal Chromatocracy. It's a fascist state in which everything about your life is determined by what colors you can SEE.

That's the unconventional postapocalyptic setting for Jasper Fforde's "Shades of Grey," a very eccentric little book about a guy who discovers that there's more to life than your hue rating and following the Rules. It's a bit hard to get into, but just think of it this way -- if Terry Pratchett had written a more comic version of "1984," and decided to have his narrator spend the book being eaten by a tree, it would be this book.

Eddie Russet seems to have a good life -- he's semi-engaged to string heiress Constance Oxblood, he's hoping to improve queues, and he's going to score well on the Ishihara color test. But after a prank gone wrong, he finds himself temporarily exiled to the Outer Fringes to count chairs. Not only does he discover that the Rules are more relaxed out there, but he encounters Jane. Aside from having a retroussé nose, Jane is everything he's been raised to abhor: rude, violent, and openly defiant of their rigid society despite being Grey.

But of course, our naive hero (who sometimes tends to bumble into the wrong places at the wrong times) begins to question everything in his world -- especially since one local resident just may have been murdered. As Eddie investigates, he discovers that there are a lot of other questions about his world that need answering: just what was the Something that Happened? What is Reboot? Why is spoon manufacturing forbidden? And will he be trapped in matrimony to the horrible Violet DeMauve?

For the record, the world of "Shades of Grey" is definitely ours... albeit after Something Happened. Previous civilization has been forgotten, spoons are rare, swearing is illegal, people can be cured (or become junkies) by looking at swatches of color, and Mildew and Nighttime can kill you. Oh yes, and the insanely elaborate Rules that must be rigidly followed.

Jasper Fforde has drenched his books in satire, but "Shades of Grey" adds a darker, sharper tone to his humor. Racism, government corruption, classism, slavish following of the system, "apocryphal" people -- these and more are mocked roundly, but in such a funny quirky way that it's never preachy. The one problem with "Shades of Grey" is that it's rather hard to get into -- Fforde's world is very complex, rarely explained, and he spends a good third of it introducing us to it.

But his prose is nimble (as well as interestingly devoid of non-red coloring) and crammed with delicious puns and jokes. Fforde can't resist some book jokes when Eddie visits a library ("Over there was Catch-22, which was a hugely popular fishing book"), but most of them are based on the countless shades of various colors. He also weaves together a very complex, clever plot that takes some very unexpected twists along the way.

Eddie is a fairly likable... well, "hero" is giving him a bit too much credit, since he's a steadfastly ordinary guy in every way (except his ability to see red). But he's a pleasant, overcurious protagonist, and he has enough wit to not be boring. Jane, on the other hand, is a firecracker... which frequently blows up in people's faces. Exhibit A: she once ripped a guy's eyebrow off for asking her out.

"Shades of Grey" is a bit darker and sharper than Jasper Fforde's prior work, and leaves you eagerly waiting for the next books. If there's a color in the world, and no one can perceive it, does it really count?
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on August 26, 2016
Full of the quirky ideas and novel concepts you expect from any Jasper Forde book. I couldn't put it down at several points and am likely to read the follow ups, because I'm not ready to say goodbye to Eddie and Jane yet
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon January 24, 2010
Reason for Reading: I haven't read Jasper Fforde before. I really want to but just never find the time to start his Thursday Next series so I jumped at the chance to get in at the beginning with a new series.

Summary: I don't really feel capable of doing this justice but I'll make an attempt. This is a satirical dystopian novel. Set 500 years in the future after Something Happened, this new world is ruled by a Colortocracy. People are born being able to see only one colour or perhaps a mixture of primary colours thus making greens, oranges, etc. Those at the top of the class system are Purples and those at the bottom are Greys, the working class who are colourless. Increasing one's family's colour heritage is of utmost importance and marriages are arranged to produce children who will climb further up the class system. It is here we find Eddie Russet, half promised to marry into the Oxblood family, who finds himself wearing a humility badge, sent to the Outer Fringes, a town called East Carmine, to conduct a chair census supposedly because of a prank he pulled but in reality because he asks too many questions and shows too much curiosity, a dangerous quality in this society. But it is in East Carmine that he realizes the banality of the heavily rule dependent government and the oppressiveness that is wrought upon society. He meets Jane, a Grey revolutionary, who he loves at first sight and while her ideas seem fanatical at first, the more he experiences the more he starts to agree with her.

Comments: This was a fabulous book. Fforde has created an utterly unique and fascinating dystopian society that is believable but is full of satirical comments that reflect upon our own society that one can take the story seriously and with tongue in cheek at the same time. I became immersed in this world from the first page, and while I'd never want to live there, I enjoyed every detail of it from government policies to recreation requirements. The characters are wonderful. Eddie and his group of friends each are distinctly real and flawed persons. The entire cast of characters is enormous and entirely eccentric from the librarian Mrs. Lapus Lazuli who has memorized the barcode of every book that has been removed from the library to the Apocryphal man, a 400 year old historian who everyone must pretend does not exist. The plot itself is a slow unraveling of Eddie coming to terms with the hidden reality of his society and the unsettling realization that the few must be sacrificed for the many. The story is quite dark and while I haven't read any other Fforde books, from what I've read about the Thursday Next series, it would appear that this is a different move for the author. The themes and atmosphere are dark, there is a lot of satire making for plenty of humour but even the humour is dry and biting at times. There is so much going on within the pages of this book that I could simply go on and on about it. Suffice to say, I am utterly enamored with this world and its mythos and can't wait for the next book.
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on April 26, 2015
I loved this book! However if I had known that I would love it this much and if I had known the sequels were not out yet I may have waited. What a huge disappointment it was to find out I could not read the second book right away! I never rarely give books 5 stars but I would give this book more if I could.
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on January 11, 2010
Imagine a world where your ability to see colour is your most valuable asset and your next most valuable is your spoon. Jasper Fforde has created such a place in his latest novel.
Months before he is to take the 'Ishihara' and determine his colour competency, Eddie Russett is sent with his father, a Swatchman(health practitioner) to conduct a chair survey in East Carmine, a distant, rural location. He has started to question his life and the way things are done and 'head office' doesn't want anyone to upset the rules of the collective. What could go wrong by sending him to a remote location with his father to watch over him?
If he hadn't met Jane, a Grey, who appears to flaunt every rule she comes up against he might have got along just fine. Unfortunately Eddie is instantly attracted to Jane and that spells trouble for him.
I was fascinated by this book. In fact, I was distracted from the story a few times by thinking about the possibilities of this world. What would it be like to one see in one colour, for Eddie, he only sees red but lots of red. Mr. Fforde has devised a complex world that follows the rules of Munsell including the banning of the number that occurs between 72 and 74, being forbidden to count sheep, and not making new spoons. The idea of the Apocryphal man, who was treated as invisible, was most intriguing. I don't think that I could ignore a person who walked into my house just because some rule defined that he didn't exist.
While this is a fanciful world it does bear close resemblance to ours with a Yellow family of bullies and various political intrigues/conspiracies. I can't wait for the next book in this 3 book series.
Only ForwardThe Island Of The Colorblind
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on February 8, 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed this latest offering from Mr. Fforde. While I don't consider this his best work, The Fourth Bear holds this honour, it's still a very enjoyable and fun read. I never once felt the book dragged or was a challenge to read. If you've read Fford before you know his books are best described as children's book for adults. This again delivers in the thought provoking yet fun genre he seems to have mastered. While I won't give away the plot or any further details I will simply state, "if you're a fan of Fford this book won't disappoint. If you're not a fan...what's wrong with you. If you've never read Fforde before, there's never a better time to start than now." Enjoy.
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