Shades of Grey

Shades of Grey - Jasper Fforde This is the first book I read by this author, so I didn't know what to expect, but now I can say I was delighted. However, I would recommend to handle this story, especially its first half, with a fair amount of focus: the author hands out information about his world bits by bits, and one needs to be quite careful in order to understand how it functions. On the other hand, this means no, or very little info-dumps, which is something I always appreciate.

I really liked the illogical and somewhat humorous aspects of this book. In a way, it reminded me of the movie "Brazil" (which I loved). The society Eddie Russet evolves in is of the "dead-tech" quality, with regular "leapbacks" outlawing some machines, means of transportation and other implements, making things go backwards little by little; a lot of its regulations make no sense, but people comply just because those are the Rules, and after so many centuries of abiding by the latter, they just don't know what else to live by.

The idea of a world based on colour perception is also something I found pretty interesting, not to mention that it raises questions: why are people able to see some colours and not others? Or not to see at night at all? Evolutionary speaking, it makes no sense—and here's where the genius lies, and what makes me hope that an answer will be given in the upcoming sequel(s): who or what designed people to evolve that way? The whole lack of logics behind that actually has got a place in the bigger picture, and fits the nonsense aspect of Fforde's world here.

Mixing dystopia with humour isn't such an easy job, but I think the author did well here. Moreover, to me it may even be more efficient than "100% serious" dystopias, in that it better highlights the really dark aspects of such a society.