Jasper Fforde's writing is well-known, thanks to his popular "Thursday Next" series. In Shades of Grey his abilities reach a whole new level. While the Thursday Next books are entertaining, Shades of Grey is brilliant. The world he creates is unique and fully-realized, if not always fully explained, and it's a much darker and more dangerous place than the settings of his previous novels.
Fforde drops the reader into an unfamiliar landscape with no ramp-up; we are aware from the outset that this is a futuristic world markedly different from our own. The book's first paragraph is typical of the style and tone evident throughout the novel:
"It began with my father not wanting to see the Last Rabbit and ended up with my being eaten by a carnivorous plant. It wasn't really what I'd planned for myself - I'd hoped to marry into the Oxbloods and join their dynastic string empire. ...
Watch the promotional film for Shades of Grey made by Fluent for Hodder and Stoughton (Fforde's UK publisher):
Next in Series
No sign of a publication date for the next volume in the Shades of Grey series, but Fforde has just published a sixth volume in his Thursday Next series, One of Our Thursdays is Missing, and looks to be publishing Practical Magic later this year, the second volume in his Last Dragonslayer series for children.
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