Jasper Fforde is the only author who has the honor of being the first author whose entire literary output I've read. Shades of Grey is a post-apocalyptic novel set in a world where people are designated by colors they can precieve. Eddie Russet, is the swatch man's son (swatch man are doctors in the world). The worst off are the greys. They can't see any colors and are the lowest "caste".
One's goal is to marry up to someone with a higher color rating. Ed is to marry Constance, whom he doesn't love, and become a string heir. This world is weird. There is an obsession with and shortage of spoons, There aren't any legal disabled people (although 16 to 26 are hidden away in the "gray zone" The disability rights activist wonders if all the disabled people were gray before they became disabled).
Ed falls in love with Jane, a grey. His father is not happy, the annoying Violet who he is supposed to be married to (a purple young lady who needs Ed's red to sure about her purple status), and the secrets of his world are too numerous to discover. As he joins the small resistance, he makes some decisions he's not pleased by including betraying his friends Dorian and Imogine (I'm not sure of spelling- a mixed hue couple who trying to married in spite of social mores and sacrificing his love of Jane (who he forbidden to marry because she's diagnosed a green- his complementary color) to marry violet and become an insider in the Chromatacia. He might even work for "National Color", the government.
I was so sad when this book ended. I'm mourning Dorian and Imogine (who have been sent to reboot, which is really a death sense). I'm rooting for Ed and Jane to get together somewhere in the the later books, which the hopeless romantic in me was glad that there was.
I'd rate this book an 8 out of 10. Like most Ffordian novels, it takes a bit to get going and to understand. I'm an activist and I am thinking that this book is a great organizing tool, as we seem to be going a long to the same route. Read it. You'll enjoy it and think a little bit if you're a thinker like me.