Double that Lincoln

Shades of Grey by Jasper FfordeShades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
Shades of Grey # 1
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Number of pages: 434
My copy: trade paperback, from Fully Booked

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.

* * *

Jasper Fforde is back with a whole new story and a whole new world with lots of color — or sometimes, a lack of it. From Thursday Next, Jurisfiction and SpecOps to Jack Spratt and the Nursery Crime Department, we meet Eddie Russett from Jade-Under-Lime, who’s heading to East Carmine with his father for some Useful Work because he Needs Humility. Yes, all those are capitalized because in Eddie’s world, these things are proper nouns and are a part of their rules, as written in the Word of Munsell.

Eddie just wanted a simple life — he need to earn as much merits as he can, get a good mark on his Ishihara and marry an Oxblood and maybe even become a prefect. But all this changes on the day he and his father, the new Swatchman for East Carmine, saw a Grey parading as a Purple in a paint shop in Vermillion, and he meets Jane, a spunky Grey that he is quickly smitten with.

A lot more things happen after this, and we get to meet a whole lot of new characters that it was almost kind of dizzying. Eddie’s inquisitiveness gets him into a lot more trouble than he thought it would, and before he knew it, he was way beyond the path that he intended to go for, and there’s a lot more to lose now than ever.

Since this was a Jasper Fforde book, I was expecting a very fun read, and it did not disappoint. I loved the little funny quips, the outrageous characters, and the new world that he built up, the one that exists after Something Happened. It was an awesome read, even if it did make me dizzy for a while, and it made me slow down reading — almost like I was reading a classic. It’s just that the world is so new, so different and sometimes so odd that I couldn’t rush reading through it. Unlike Thursday Next’s and Jack Spratt’s whose worlds were almost normal save for the little quirks, this one seemed to operate in an entirely new level. Colourtocracy? Chromogencia (did I get that right)? Pookas? Perpetulite? Attacking swans? Shortage of spoons? Say what?!

I liked it a lot, but I think there was so much world building that was done that I finished the book with a whole lot of questions in the story. But that’s why it’s a trilogy — I’m guessing more will be written about Eddie and Jane and their plans in the next book. Oh, and don’t get me wrong — the book is funny but it touches a lot of political and social issues, all done in satire. There’s the corrupt and power hungry Prefects, racism by colors, and the lack of choices based on how the people were classified. It’s funny, interesting, but it’s also kind of sad to see that they have to live that way: Greys are workers while Purples are honored so much that it’s almost crazy.

The characters did not disappoint, too. Eddie’s a sweet protagonist who’s somewhat confused at first but has a lot of courage inside him. Jane is an excellent female protagonist, and I can’t wait to read more of her. :) There’s also the scheming Tommo who’d bargain anything for you, the cunning Courtland who is such a bully that I wanted to beat him up, and the Apocryphal Man, who is invisible most of the time but will give you answers in exchange for loganberry jam. You’d also get to learn a whole lot of names for the different colors — some of them I didn’t even know existed! — like Gamboge, Cinnabar, Ochre. :)

I can’t wait to see what happens next, but there’s no news on when that will be out, so it might take a while. ;)

Rating:

 

Teaser Tuesday: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

I just realized that I have had this book since January, got haunted by it, and blogged about getting it, but still haven’t read it. Crazy, huh? I wasn’t saving it for any special occasion, nor was I saving it to be read after I read a particularly boring book (or at least, a book that I don’t feel like reading). I didn’t feel like reading it yet because it’s too big to bring around. It doesn’t fit in any of my bags — and it’s already (trade) paperback!

I know, what a lame reason.

But anyway, I’m reading it now, and it’s my entry for today’s Teaser Tuesday! Presenting Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde!

Shades of Grey by Jasper FfordeIt’s Britain, but not as we know it. Entire cities lie buried beneath moorland. Echoes of lost technology pepper the landscape, and there is evidence of conflict in abundance.

Democracy has been replaced by a Colourtocracy. Visual colour dominates society, from the feed-pipes that keep the municipal park green, to the healing hues you view to cure illness, to a social hierarchy based upon one’s limited colour vision. You are what you can see.

Eddie Russett has no ambition to be anything other than a loyal drone of the collective. With his better-than-average Red perception, he could marry an Oxblood, inherit the Stringworks, maybe even make Prefect.

Life looks colorful. Life looks good.

But then he moves to East Carmine and falls in love with a Grey named Jane who opens his eyes to the painful truth behind his seemingly perfect society.

Where have all the spoons gone?

What happened to all the people who never returned from High Saffron?

And why, when you begin to question the world around you, do black and white certainties reduce themselves to shades of grey?

The blurb alone is exciting, and I’m really psyched to keep on reading it. :P If I could get work out of the way…hmm. Oh, wait, here’s the teaser:

I awoke with a start to find my bedclothes in disarray. I had slept badly, waking at every tiny sound that might, to my fuddled mind, have been a threat. (p. 352)

Exciting, I tell you. Now I better start working so I can free up some time later to read. ;)

Book happy Friday

Just a short post for today since I’m kind of feeling under the weather and I’m planning to continue reading Persuasion before I hit the sack later. Today is Friday, which meant…

SQUEE!

Shades of Grey ♥

Yes friends, that is Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde sitting on my book shelf, all covered in plastic and ready to read. :) Yes, it no longer haunts me, haha. Picked it up earlier today at Fully Booked in Eastwood, and it was on sale too! From Php 699 to Php 559.20! Still more expensive than the other books, but it’s one of my favorite authors, so it’s worth it. :)

Oh, and Fully Booked Eastwood is on sale until Sunday — 20% off on all regular titles. :) Looks like someone won’t be splurging on Mytouch 4g accessories yet.

And to those who are curious, the books above Shades of Grey are my to-be-read copies of Graceling by Kristin Cashore and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami.

Okay, time to go back to Persuasion. The sooner I finish this Austen, the sooner I can get cracking with these books. Have a great weekend everyone!

What to do when a book haunts you

I can’t remember how I found out about it exactly, but the other day I found out that Jasper Fforde’s new novel is out. After almost two years from his last novel, First Among Sequels, Jasper Fforde is finally back with a new novel, Shades of Grey.

Now, I’m pretty much of a blind follower whenever I say that I love this specific author, and even if the book isn’t that stellar, the book will still find its way to my bookshelf because, well, it’s my favorite author. Then again, how can you not be even the tiniest bit curious about this book after you’ve read this blurb?

Shades of Grey by Jasper FfordePart 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.

And would you look at that pretty cover?

Earlier today, I went to Fully Booked in Eastwood to see if they have a copy. The thing with Jasper Fforde’s books (and other books for that matter) is they bring out the hardbound version first and release the paperback a year later. I’m not much of a fan of hardbound books (more to that on another post), so I was ready to wait for the paperback version for this even if it meant reading it a year later.

But, surprise surprise, Fully Booked Eastwood has the paperback copy of the UK edition (pictured above). It costs Php699.00.

Now there goes my dilemma. I have a dangerously low EQ on books, especially on books from my favorite author. Case in point, a few days before Christmas, I was bored, so I went to Fully Booked and found a copy of Fire by Kristin Cashore. It was the trade paperback edition, meaning it’s a bigger copy and it couldn’t fit the normal bag I bring around. But I wanted to get the book so I ended up buying it. I was planning to buy the copy of her other book, Graceling from the same publisher so it would look prettier on my shelf, but when I saw the last copy of the book in National Bookstore in Galleria, I swiped it and now I have that copy.

See? Terribly low EQ on books.

But I digress. My dilemma was this: I wanted the book, but payday isn’t until Friday. Plus, Eastwood is going to be on sale starting Friday so I’m betting there will be a 20% discount from the book, bringing the price down to Php 550+.

But I really, really want the book. :( And Friday is so far away. :(

I was thisclose to buying it earlier (and influenced my teammate to want the book too) because I was afraid that someone else would buy the book before we do. But my wallet was screaming at me for even thinking about buying a book now that money is short, and I can’t just ignore its screams you know?

But the book was really haunting me! :(

So my teammate and I decided to ask if we can reserve the book there and get it on Friday. We talked to the Fully Booked people and normally, they only reserve for three days, but since we’re sure to get the book on Friday, they decided to hold it for us until Friday.

OMG YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Book haunting has stopped! It’s almost as good as owning the book! And my wallet is happy! :)

And I totally, totally love Fully Booked (even more than the most effective diet pills) now. ♥

Now if only I can find a copy of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

This is a whole new reason to look forward to this Friday, yes?