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Old 05-09-2010, 04:37 PM   #1
CommanderROR
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Jasper Fforde - Shades of Grey

Hi everybody,

I finally got round to some reading again, and while I was looking for a suitable book I found that Jasper Fforde had written something new...it is called "Shades of Grey" and does not take place in the same setting as his other books.

I was a bit worried when I started reading this new book, because the last Fforde (First among sequels) seemed a bit weak compared to his previous book. However, I need not have worried!
The story is compelling, the universe it plays in is...weird...and it's the start of a new series which to me is always an added benefit.
I do not want to tell you too much about the story here, this is not going to be a real book review after all, but I'll give you a short description of the setting.

The world this whole series plays in is not the "world of books" like it was in the Tursday Next series, no, this is a world of colours. Now, the interesting bit is, that in this universe not everybody can see all colours and the whole society is based on how much of a certain colour an individual can see. This is a pretty weird concept to grasp at first, and it remains strange which is one of the compelling points in this story. You can't just relax and let the world form in fromt of your eyes, the big difference to our world is always in evidence and it always keeps you on edge. How the characters interact and the system of values they follow is pretty alein to us. Also, there are a lot of hints at the "past" that seem to put the story quite a bit in our future, but doe to the restrictive nature of the political system in this altered reality the available technological means are usually far below what we would call normal. Usually but not always. A lot of history is lost in this story, so nobody really knows anything about the past, bits and pieces here and there, but no real "history". This adds up to make the reader extremely curious about the whole affair, at least it worked for me...

Now, the story itself is hard to categorize as Crime Story, Love Story, Adventure or whatever...there a re alot of elements of everything in there, and that makes it so compelling. Nothing is clear here, and nobody gets what he or she expects. Some things are of course pretty obvious, but even these sometimes turn out to be false clues that get turned around in the last instant.

The telling of the story itself is pretty unique, because the main character tells it from an unusual perspective. He is being digested by a flesheating plant, and his whole life is flashing past in front of his eyes in the last seconds of his life...or rather, the last four days of his life are flashing past...before that his life was pretty boring.

Now, before I start telling the entire story here (and getting it all wrong because it is extremely difficult to tell this story to somebody who has not read the book or even to explain the setting as you can see from ym feeble attempts above) I'll break off here with the recommendation:

Buy this book, read the story and then come back here and tell us all about it. I loved this story, maybe you'll hate it, but I'd like to know!
The book should be available in a number of ebook formats, I hope by now the Kindle edition is available outside the US (stupid geo-restrictions again) so anybody should be able to pick up a copy somewhere.

Enjoy!


P.S.: If this post seems a bit confused, that is not (only) because I'm tired...trying to talk about this book with somebody who has not read it is...extremely difficult, at least for me...
And once you've read it you might be as muddled as I am...^^
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:35 AM   #2
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I loved this book! I can't wait until the next installment in the series comes out.
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:54 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tip - will look for it
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:06 AM   #4
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Great book, I enjoyed it via audiobook and it's a particularly good reading of it by one of my favourite narrators, John Lee if anyone likes audiobooks.

I think it confused some of his fans because it's moved away from the kind of literary fantasy he usually writes to a more science/speculative fiction if still rather surreal. It does the typical scifi novel thing of dropping you straight into the world with very little in the way of explanation and drip feeding you bits of information.

There are some great concepts and lines but I'll not post any since they were some of my favourite parts and wouldn't want to spoil them for anyone.

I'm always interested in where they place Fforde's books in book shops, they don't seem to be able to decide where he belongs.
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