By now, you may have gathered that this novel is a bit of a departure for Fforde. There is so much going on that it's hard to take it all in, and virtually impossible to summarize. While undeniably funny, the humor is darker and a bit less overt. Shades of Grey is more challenging, sophisticated, and substantive than anything we've seen previously from Mr. Fforde. In a word, it's brilliant! The cleverness he has always displayed in his Thursday Next novels is dialed up several notches here, as he points his satirical eye at a world so strange and outlandish that comparisons to our own are inescapable. I'm not convinced that all of the Fforde Ffanatics will embrace this latest work, but I suspect most will. And I, for one, will be looking forward with great enthusiasm to Shades of Grey 2: Painting by Numbers and Shades of Grey 3: The Gordini Protocols.
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