Fforde’s Greyest book yet?

I waited with bated breath for this to arrive from Amazon in the US and even though they told me that this would be six weeks!!! it actually arrived very early and I have just finished it. My first thoughts were that it was very different to anything else he has written, which of course is a good achievement, but in this case, I did find the writing less exciting than that of the fabulous Thursday Next series.
Maybe it was because the world that he was trying to render was very complex and difficult to portray, or maybe it was just that the lead character was not as compelling as Thursday, but I did not find myself wanting to drop everything to finish it as I had with the other series.
Edward Russett lives in a world where people are classed according to colour perception. The strict heirarchy comes with numerous and complex rules about how people should live and communicate with one another. Communal life is severely proscribed and it is almost impossible to veer off the beaten path. The book could be described as a dystopian fiction, a genre which I usually love, but in this case, the darkest aspects of dystopian worlds simply seem mildly annoying. I don’t want to criticise it for something it is not however, and it is clearly not meant to be dark or political.
Edward discovers that things are not as they seem when he is sent to the outer fringes after a minor indiscretion. The people he meets there, show us glimpses of life under the colourtocracy and it does take a little while to actually understand the world that Edward inhabits. He meets Jane, a rebellious Grey, who eventually opens his eyes to the deceptions in his world and he joins with her to fight them. The twist at the end is mildly annoying and the novel ends with the typical generic cliffhanger so that we will follow Edward’s adventures in the next installment.
Edward as a character is faintly annoying, he’s weak and vaguely stupid, and, while I realise that is the point, he did not really enamour me. Jane was interesting, she was more feisty, but we did not learn enough about her unti much later in the novel. Edward’s ‘friends’ are odious and he reacts to them mildly when they betray him.
While Fforde has built a complex and interesting world here, and you can never argue that he is not original and clever, I just don’t think that there was enough here to be really good fiction. I ended up feeling slightly disappointed that the book did not live up to my expectations. Maybe that says more about Fforde’s previous work than his current work, or maybe my expectations were too high.