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Shades of grey : the road to High Saffron
Adult Fiction FFORDE
Adult Fiction FFORDE
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Every since the mysterious Something That Happened long ago, the world has been drained of color. At least, that’s the way the people left behind see it now. Only one color of the spectrum is visible to individuals, and society has been organized in a strict system of social class based on the color that people can perceive—those who can see purple or green are higher up than those who can see red; the working class is made up of those who can only see in shades of grey. Our hero, Eddie Russet, is a Red, but he’s pissed off the rule-obsessed Colorocracy by challenging the efficiency of queuing, and has been sent to the Outer Fringes with his father. Eddie has a bright future, if he can earn back enough merits. He’s tentatively engaged to a high-ranking wealthy Red, and, even though he hasn’t had his formal color test yet (which all citizens take at the age of twenty), he believes he’s highly perceptive and can see practically the full gamut of red shades. But then Eddie catches sight of Jane G-23, an adorable but surly Grey who is suspiciously willing to rebel against the many, many standards and mores that keep everyone under control. Soon Eddie is involved in all manner of mysteries—he talks to an Apocryphal man (a person who doesn’t fit into the prescribed system and is therefore deemed invisible), helps his father prevent the spread of the deadly Mildew disease, gets entangled in a search of the abandoned town of High Saffron r, and finds spoons (the rules forbid spoons; no one really knows why but, boy, are they valuable). It takes a couple chapters to really get the hang of this colorless future, but Shades of Grey is a complex, sophisticated dystopia with a healthy dose of much-welcome wit and charm. The sense of humor and satire is a breath of fresh air, and that’s author Jasper Fforde’s hallmark (he’s also the author of the genre-bending Thursday Next Series). For a lighter dystopia that’s still highly sophisticated, look no further than Shades of Grey—and look forward to the two books in-progress that will make this into a deliciously colorful trilogy.
posted Mar 28, 2010 at 2:00PM
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Can only see the color red; falls for Jane and things change.