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Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
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Shades of Grey (edition 2010)

by Jasper Fforde

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2,4491832,516 (4.07)1 / 344
Member:vwinsloe
Title:Shades of Grey
Authors:Jasper Fforde
Info:Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (2010), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron by Jasper Fforde

  1. 120
    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (shallihavemydwarf)
  2. 82
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Othemts, one-horse.library)
    one-horse.library: The dystopic comedy by by Jasper Fforde, not the adult novel read by housewives.
  3. 40
    The Island of the Colorblind and Cycad Island by Oliver Sacks (bertilak)
  4. 20
    Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith (simon211175)
  5. 76
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Othemts)
  6. 11
    The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (ahstrick)
  7. 02
    Theory of Colours by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (bertilak)
    bertilak: In particular, see Goethe's section on pathological colours.
  8. 14
    Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (KCLibrarian)
    KCLibrarian: Both books create believable societies unlike our own in some ways, but recognizably human in other ways. Both raise challenging societal questions and have some surprise twists and turns along the way. Both authors deftly ease their readers into the fantasy worlds they create, and by the time the story ends, leave readers wanting more.… (more)
  9. 04
    Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder (bucketyell)
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Showing 1-5 of 183 (next | show all)
I wanted to rate this book much higher, but then I started getting bored.

It was fascinating from the very start because the world was completely new. I've seen this theme of Color hierarchy before in other books, but Fforde takes it to a completely different world. So many things were absolutely brilliant. Peeking at green, hues as medicine, yataveo trees (which is real myth), color scraps, toshing, etc. I loved learning about this world.

One systematic logistically plot device that I was struggling to understand was the rankings of colors. Purple is so much higher than Red. But an Orange could never become a Purple, and a Red could marry into the Purple line - but Orange is greater than Red? Seems a little funky.
And could anyone possibly get to Alpha level without eugenics? Having negligible amounts of the other two primary colors would simply be too difficult. And is it possibly for a low Red to go to Purple then to Blue and then to Green? But that's okay, maybe it'll be explained better in later books.

Another thing that you just have to laugh and say it's artistic license is how one pumps color into things of the world (like grass or gardens). I don't quite get it, but it's a fantasy world so it was interesting to think about.

But I just couldn't appreciate the characters. Jane was cool but we had to watch the world through Eddie's eyes for 500 pages. Eddie was a little too passive, too naive. It was great watching him say no, but he didn't have any real passion or motivation. And I am annoyed at how easy it was for them to start liking each other. I didn't believe their love at all. I wanted more progression.

I was also really unhappy with what Fforde did with Eddie's father at the end. Would that have really happened? He seemed so much more chill. Ah, it's like characters forced to do actions against their already-presented nature to move the plot along.

So the book got more than a little dull in the middle. I was like... where's the freaking plot?

I was completely frustrated by the end of the book. Finally his eyes are open and he's less ignorant and there's only 50 pages left? My goodness! This book was too slow for me. It was just a set up of the world and character introduction. There was simply not enough plot to keep me interested.

2.5 stars rounded down. Had potential as a story if it was condensed and added more action/plot. I can't justify 500 pages of a novel as only a world set up without any plot. I probably won't pick up the rest of this series. A pity, because I like Fforde as an author.
Recommended if you like books similar to The Giver by Lois Lowry. But beware, not much plot. Be prepared for a long ride of world and character introduction. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
I wanted to rate this book much higher, but then I started getting bored.

It was fascinating from the very start because the world was completely new. I've seen this theme of Color hierarchy before in other books, but Fforde takes it to a completely different world. So many things were absolutely brilliant. Peeking at green, hues as medicine, yataveo trees (which is real myth), color scraps, toshing, etc. I loved learning about this world.

One systematic logistically plot device that I was struggling to understand was the rankings of colors. Purple is so much higher than Red. But an Orange could never become a Purple, and a Red could marry into the Purple line - but Orange is greater than Red? Seems a little funky.
And could anyone possibly get to Alpha level without eugenics? Having negligible amounts of the other two primary colors would simply be too difficult. And is it possibly for a low Red to go to Purple then to Blue and then to Green? But that's okay, maybe it'll be explained better in later books.

Another thing that you just have to laugh and say it's artistic license is how one pumps color into things of the world (like grass or gardens). I don't quite get it, but it's a fantasy world so it was interesting to think about.

But I just couldn't appreciate the characters. Jane was cool but we had to watch the world through Eddie's eyes for 500 pages. Eddie was a little too passive, too naive. It was great watching him say no, but he didn't have any real passion or motivation. And I am annoyed at how easy it was for them to start liking each other. I didn't believe their love at all. I wanted more progression.

I was also really unhappy with what Fforde did with Eddie's father at the end. Would that have really happened? He seemed so much more chill. Ah, it's like characters forced to do actions against their already-presented nature to move the plot along.

So the book got more than a little dull in the middle. I was like... where's the freaking plot?

I was completely frustrated by the end of the book. Finally his eyes are open and he's less ignorant and there's only 50 pages left? My goodness! This book was too slow for me. It was just a set up of the world and character introduction. There was simply not enough plot to keep me interested.

2.5 stars rounded down. Had potential as a story if it was condensed and added more action/plot. I can't justify 500 pages of a novel as only a world set up without any plot. I probably won't pick up the rest of this series. A pity, because I like Fforde as an author.
Recommended if you like books similar to The Giver by Lois Lowry. But beware, not much plot. Be prepared for a long ride of world and character introduction. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
In this dystopian future, your social status is based on what color you can see. Our hero can only see red: purple is the highest caste, while completely colorblind people (called Greys) are the lowest of the low. The entire society and economy is based on color, and its structure is belabored throughout the novel. It gets rather tedious. There's some fun absurdity, but mostly I was disappointed. One of the things I love about dystopian stories is picking up clues from the present day, getting an inkling of how the world transformed from the one I'm familiar with into the setting of the novel. Here, I just didn't get it. I didn't understand the obsession with spoons, or the colorblindness, or the dangerous swans, or the ball lightning, or any of it. I held off judgment until the very end, hoping something might come clear, but ultimately I was disappointed. Maybe he's saving the Big Reveal for the sequel, but heaven knows when/if that will be published. As much as I like Jasper Fforde in general, this was probably his worst book. ( )
  melydia | Aug 29, 2014 |
I always have fun in the worlds of Jasper Fforde. While this one is not as good as the Thursday Next series or the one Nursery Crime book I have read, I still found it entertaining enough to keep me interested. This author's fertile imagination staggers me!

I did have a bit of trouble understanding the basic ground rules for Chromaticia -- if people could only see one color (or none), then how did they use colors for medicine and recreational drugs? Or is it just "natural" color that people cannot see, and everyone can see synthetic color? This one question caused me to struggle throughout the entire book. Maybe I just missed an explanation somewhere, but the story did seem to pick up in medias res without giving a good introduction to the fictional universe in which it takes place.

Other than that problem, I found the characters to be fun and the plot to be as unpredictable and zany as I expect from Fforde. It was enough to entertain me.

(I do agree with another reviewer, however, about the crazy propagation of series these days. Why can't we have a story that stands alone? Having said that, I'll probably add the next one in this series to my wish list because I'm a sheep and easily hooked...) ( )
  glade1 | Jun 17, 2014 |
This is another one I've been meaning to read for a while.

The book is classic dystopian; yet, although the narrator (Edward Russett) is only 20, it's not a YA book. Another great idea. In the future, you are what you see. Vision and perception have "evolved" to the point where people can see only the brightest versions of all colors; but, otherwise, they can only see their color. Color is distributed by a central city and paid for, and people marry "up" or "down" in order to increase their stance on the chromatic scale, to make money (marrying down usually means you get paid by the family you're marrying), or, on rare occasion, for love.

Eddie Russett is a red. His life is on the eve of taking the adulthood test that determines just-how-red-are-you. If he scores above 70%, he will become a prefect, his dream. In such a case, he will also get to marry Ms. Constance Oxblood, up on the chromatic scale and societal standing, to whom he is partially betrothed. (i.e., he's committed to her, but she has not yet made a commitment to him).

Eddie Russett, however, has a curious mind that has gotten him into a bit of trouble. He has decided to take his punishment (rather than pay his way out of it), and goes with his father to a small town on the ouskirts to learn humility whilst purportedly completing a chair census. His father will be replacing the town (East Carmine)'s "Swatchman" -- which is their version of a doctor.

After arriving in East Carmine, Eddie learns that things do not always exist as they appear, and his curiosity begins to get him into more and more trouble. Add to the mix Tommo, a sneaky untrustworthy friend, Jane, the gray who he's started to fall for, Violet, the purple he is supposed to want, a murder, a national figure snooping around, ghosts, deathly swans, people who don't exist, and carnivorous plants, and you have Shades of Grey.

It was enjoyable to read. At times, it was quite the page turner -- particularly in the last third-to-quarter. I didn't love Eddie, though I'm not sure we're supposed to. I didn't love Jane, but again, maybe that is by design. I didn't love Tommo... I didn't love... yeah, I didn't love any of the characters. They were all so realistically flawed. But I cared what happened to them. And how.

And I REALLY wanted to know what was happening and why and how and... I completely got caught up in Eddie's curiosity.
This is not a mindless novel. Recommend to people looking for a slightly more complex dystopian novel.

Note: this is the first in a trilogy! (I didn't know that until I finished the book!) However, it ends satisfyingly enough that it can stand on its own. ( )
1 vote avanders | Apr 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 183 (next | show all)
In structure, Shades of Grey moves like most other books in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but in tone, it has more in common with comic novels such as Catch-22.
 
Fforde is an author of immense imagination. Not satisfied with just a few layers of Dickensian jokes and revisions of the physical universe, he creates an archeological treasure trove for readers.
 
All this is serenely silly, but to dispel a black mood and chase away the blues, this witty novel offers an eye-popping spectrum of remedies.
added by Katya0133 | editKirkus (Dec 15, 2009)
 
It's all brilliantly original, lf his complex world building sometimes slows the plot and the balance of silly and serious is uneasy, we're still completely won over.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Keir Graff (Dec 15, 2009)
 
Eddie navigates a vividly imagined landscape whose every facet is steeped in the author's remarkably detailed color scheme. Sometimes, though, it's hard to see the story for the chromotechnics.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly (Nov 23, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jasper Ffordeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckley, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garduno, KenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lagin, DanielDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, StevenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There is no light or colour as a fact in external nature. There is merely motion of material...When the light enters your eyes and falls on the retina, there is motion of material. Then your nerves are affected and your brain is affected, and again this is merely motion of material...The mind in apprehending experiences sensations which, properly speaking, are qualities of the mind alone. —Alfred North Whitehead
Dedication
Tabitha
Welcoming you to the undeniably
enjoyable and generally underrated
sense of being known as existence
First words
2.4.16.55.021: Males are to wear dress code #6 during inter-Collective travel. Hats are encouraged but not mandatory.
It began with my father not wanting to see the Last Rabbit and ended up with my being eaten by a carnivorous plant.
Quotations
It began with my father not wanting to see the Last Rabbit and ended up with my being eaten by a carnivorous plant. It wasn't really what I'd planned for myself -- I'd hoped to marry into the Oxbloods and join their dynastic string empire. But that was four days ago, before I met Jane, retrieved the Caravaggio and explored High Saffron. So instead of enjoying aspirations of Chromatic advancement, I was wholly immersed within the digestive soup of a yataveo tree. It was all frightfully inconvenient.
Apart we are together.
Last words
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Book description
Welcome to Chromatacia, where the Colortocracy rules society through a social hierarchy based upon one's limited color perception. In this world, you are what you can see.

But Eddie Russet wants to move up. When he and his father relocate to the backwater village of East Carmine, his carefully cultivated plans to leverage his better-than-average red perception and marry into a powerful family are quickly upended. Eddie must contend with lethal swans, sneaky Yellows, inviolable rules, an enforced marriage to hideous Violet deMauve, and a risky friendship with an intriguing Grey named Jane who shows Eddie that the apparent peace of his world is as much an illusion as color itself. Will Eddie be able to tread the fine line between total conformity—accepting the path, partner, and career delineated by his hue—and his instinctive curiosity that is bound to get him into trouble?
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670019631, Hardcover)

From the bestselling author of Thursday Next—a brilliant new novel about a world where social order and destiny are dictated by the colors you can see

Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, 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 means.

Eddie's world wasn't always like this. There's evidence of a never-discussed disaster and now, many years later, technology is poor, news sporadic, the notion of change abhorrent, and nighttime is terrifying: no one can see in the dark. Everyone abides by a bizarre regime of rules and regulations, a system of merits and demerits, where punishment can result in permanent expulsion.

Eddie, who works for the Color Control Agency, might well have lived out his rose-tinted life without a hitch. But that changes when he becomes smitten with Jane, a Grey Nightseer from the dark, unlit side of the village. She shows Eddie that all is not well with the world he thinks is just and good. Together, they engage in dangerous revolutionary talk.

Stunningly imaginative, very funny, tightly plotted, and with sly satirical digs at our own society, this novel is for those who loved Thursday Next but want to be transported somewhere equally wild, only darker; a world where the black and white of moral standpoints have been reduced to shades of grey.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:57 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Welcome to Chromatacia, where for as long as anyone can remember society has been ruled by a Colortocracy. Social hierachy is based upon one's limited color perception. society is dominated by color. In this world, you are what you can see, and Eddie Russett, a better-than-average red perception wants to move up.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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