22nd February 2024
After fourteen years’ wait, the sequel to Shades of Grey has finally arrived. I absolutely loved the first book and have read it more times than any other over the intervening years. And so I’m excited and trepidatious to re-enter the world.
The action picks up just a few weeks at most after the first story, and we rejoin the familiar characters as they deal with the various repercussions of the events and learnings from book one, before discovering more and more about the world in which they live.
Fforde carries out an impressive job of world-building - expanding upon what he set out originally and feeling like we are all taking a giant step backwards together, enabling us to see more (but still not all) of the same picture. And this is broadly the theme of the whole novel.
I really enjoyed revisiting this world and finding myself in a sequel that properly feels like it’s continuing and building upon the first. It doesn’t have that weird middle novel feel that you sometimes get with a second book - and properly stands alone as well with the job it’s doing.
A book that is somehow exactly as good as its predecessor. I don’t feel in any way let down by this, and it slots really nearly into my head as a continuation. I can only hope for more in maybe another 14 years.