Jasper Fforde has done it again. Any unfamiliar with the Thursday Next books, or the Nursery Crime series needs to stop what they are doing, immediately, and read them. They are that good. It is hard to place Fforde’s books in any genre that seems to do them justice. Mystery, no. Science Fiction, no. Fantasy, no. Satire, almost. Shades of Grey did not disappoint. It defied genre and once again proved that Fforde can create a world that is both exciting and frustrating at the same time.
Too often I read straight fiction and come away disappointed with the characters. Either they are so one dimensional as to make them a mere caricature of humanity, or so troubled to make them unlikable. Jasper creates characters that seem real. Despite their circumstances, including all of their foolish choices, I find myself slightly cheering for them. I found myself horrified at Eddie Russet’s inability to control his situation, but applauding his weakness, and apparent humanity.
In a world where a hierarchy of color vision reigns supreme Eddie is trying to marry his way up. His chair census assignment to East Carmine proves to challenge all that Eddie believes about himself and the world in which he lives. Eddie is joined by a hilarious group of frenemies along the way, and in true Ffordian fashion, just when I believed that all would end happily ever after and roses would bloom eternally on chocolate covered rainbows, the world shifted, and I am anxiously awaiting the sequel. Read this book. You will not regret it.