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Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

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Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

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Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

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Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

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The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
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REVIEW | Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (Viking)

Shades of Grey Glossary: The Colourtocracy. A system of hierarchy based on the colour you can see. Purple at the top, Reds at the bottom. (Greys don't really count)
Jasper Fforde has stepped away from his beloved Thursday Next characters to create an entirely new, hilarious, beautiful, and incredibly realized world with Shades of Grey, which is much closer to Science Fiction than anything he has done prior. If you are already a fan of his than go out and get a copy, but if you need to be coerced a bit more read on.
Shades of Grey Glossary: Eddie Russett: A happily unambitious drone of the collective 'til he travels to East Carmine and meets Jane Grey.
Narrator Eddie Russett is likable character who is to take his Ishihara shortly. He has some wonderful dialogue and his inquisitive nature is infectious to the reader as he delves into the mysteries of his world. Eddie has grown up following the rules and trying to help keep the status quo of society. An errant joke lands him the inane task of chair census in an outer town where his father has been sent to replace a recently departed Swatchman, which is kind of like a doctor with paint chips. Shades of Grey is a very colorful and downright silly future where classes are divided depending on what color they can see. Everyone is colorblind with most seeing only one color strongly while others that can only see grey are the lowest class and are treated like pack mules performing the most arduous tasks. The citizens have a last name that somehow coincides with their color perception such as Granny Crimson, Roger Maroon, and Bunty McMustard, which has to be the funniest name I've heard in a while.
Shades of Grey Glossary: The Ishihara. A Colour perception test taken at age 20 that determines one's social standing and career
Color is the most important thing to this society. That is besides their spoons, which are a hot commodity as no one has been allowed to make new ones for hundreds of years. Sounds a bit silly doesn't it?  Well that is because it is as is almost every rule this society lives by. Eddie, a strong red, upon entering East Carmine falls in love with Jane who is a grey and also the most notoriously unlikeable citizen in town. The cast of characters is as colorful as you'll likely find with its backstabbing friends, conniving leaders, and power hungry people everywhere. A lot of foreshadowing goes on as Fforde loves to hint at things including the death of one of the main characters right out of the gate. Step into a world that is regressing on purpose and where people can read barcodes and people can be healed or drugged by the use of color.
 Shades of Grey Glossary: The ‘Something That Happened’: Dramatic event that occurred in the distant and unknowable past. Followed shortly by the ‘Epiphany’ and the beginning of the New Order.
Placed hundreds of years after "Something That Happened" this is a society in stasis that likes it that way. The world of Shades of Grey is all about misdirection, but you don't feel confused with the telling, especially when the pieces start falling together in the end. Eddie Russett is every bit as lovable as Thursday Next, but he is a man all his own with an inquisitive streak that could change the world. What is amazing is the book takes place over less than a week or so of time and it is so packed to the brim that it feels like a month given everything covered. Yet the pacing is slower than that of the Thursday Next series. Shades of Grey is some of the most pleasing Fiction you'll likely find in 2010. Fforde hits all the marks of romance, adventure, thriller, and satire perfectly.
Shades of Grey Glossary: The Yateveo. A carnivorous tree able to snatch prey at great speed. Victims are digested alive. Not pleasant.
Sufficed to say I did not want this book to end.  Shades of Grey is without a doubt the best dystopian novel I've read since Brave New World and it will be re-read many times. Fforde has challenged himself to create something entirely new and different which he more than succeeded at. I give Shades of Grey 9.5 out of 10 Hats. A truly can't miss original book. In some ways it reminds me of a satirical version of Ken Scholes's Psalms of Isaak series with its intricate plotting and highly realized characters along with the dystopian long view. There are layers and layers of intrigue with smartly written characters along with a few intentionally stupid ones. Fforde has laid the groundwork for a series that'll keep me coming back for each fresh coat of paint. And the biggest mystery is never answered. What is up with the swans and why is everyone so terrified by them? At this point I still like the Thursday Next series better, but that could change as Fforde plays more with this world as there are at least 2 more books planned. Fforde has created a site for the series with a wealth of information about this new world.

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Miss Eliza said...

I think wealth of information acutally underplays HOW much stuff he puts on his website :P

Mad Hatter Review said...

I know exactly what you mean. He goes all out. It is almost like a deranged extended directors cut.

Miss Eliza said...