The Literary Horizon: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity, Shades of Grey

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I’ve run out of recently published books to post about- between NaNoWriMo and school, I haven’t had time to catch up with Publishers Weekly. My apologies! This week’s Literary Horizon, then, focuses on fantastical titles that will come to us later this winter.

Unwritten, Volume One: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

Tom Taylor’s life was screwed from go. His father created the Tommy Taylor fantasy series, boy-wizard novels with popularity on par with Harry Potter. The problem is Dad modeled the fictional epic so closely to Tom’s real life that fans are constantly comparing him to his counterpart, turning him into the lamest variety of Z-level celebrity. In the final novel, it’s even implied that the fictional Tommy will crossover into the real world, giving delusional fans more excuses to harass Tom.

When an enormous scandal reveals that Tom might really be a boy-wizard made flesh, Tom comes into contact with a very mysterious, very deadly group that’s secretly kept tabs on him all his life. Now, to protect his own life and discover the truth behind his origins, Tom will travel the world, eventually finding himself at locations all featured on a very special map — one kept by the deadly group that charts places throughout world history where fictions have impacted and tangibly shaped reality, those stories ranging from famous literary works to folktales to pop culture. And in the process of figuring out what it all means, Tom will find himself having to figure out a huge conspiracy mystery that spans the entirety of the history of fiction.

via Amazon

This will probably be the only book featured on The Literary Horizon that I will recommend heartily. For people who don’t read comics, this paperback is the perfect way to read The Unwritten, a seriously amazing comic book series. I mean, just look at the premise–the power of fiction? What reader wouldn’t want to immerse themselves in that? It’s a wonderful comic book series, with twists, turns, and absolutely gorgeous art.

You can read my love for this series in this Sunday Salon. But if you need a second opinion, this glowing review from the Comic Book Resource ought to pique your interest. It’s truly a wonderful and amazing series. For people who don’t buy comics, the trade paperbacks will definitely be up your alley. This volume collects the first five issues, including the extended first issue.

Unwritten, Volume One: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity will be released January 12.

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds. In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level House of Red and can see his own color—but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all just shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means.

Eddie’s world wasn’t always like this. There’s evidence of a never-discussed disaster and now, many years later, technology is poor, news sporadic, the notion of change abhorrent, and nighttime is terrifying: no one can see in the dark. Everyone abides by a bizarre regime of rules and regulations, a system of merits and demerits, where punishment can result in permanent expulsion.

Eddie, who works for the Color Control Agency, might well have lived out his rose-tinted life without a hitch. But that changes when he becomes smitten with Jane, a Grey Nightseer from the dark, unlit side of the village. She shows Eddie that all is not well with the world he thinks is just and good. Together, they engage in dangerous revolutionary talk.

Stunningly imaginative, very funny, tightly plotted, and with sly satirical digs at our own society, this novel is for those who loved Thursday Next but want to be transported somewhere equally wild, only darker; a world where the black and white of moral standpoints have been reduced to shades of grey.

via Amazon

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Thursday Next novels, although I have a hard time reviewing sequels when read too close to the first book in a series. (If I ever do manage to review the other Thursday Next novels, you’ll notice I’ll skip the second.) Jasper Fforde’s wit is a rare gift. To have it turned on such a dark world ought to be fascinating. I’ll admit, the involvement of the perception of color gives me warm flashbacks to The Giver, the first book where I realized alternate interpretation was a wonderful thing. The whole color scheme makes me think this novel is a bit like a fable, but I hope I’m wrong.

While I’d be sold by Jasper Fforde’s writing alone, this glowing review from BlogCritics reassured me it was classic Fforde. It’s the only review I could find, but I feel my high hopes for Shades of Grey will not be disappointed.

Shades of Grey will be released on December 29.

6 thoughts on “The Literary Horizon: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity, Shades of Grey

  1. So I love the cover of that comic so much I do not have the words to describe my love. How cool, how cool; I would absolutely have read this even if every review I read said it was terrible. But it’s great that you also liked it a lot!

    • It’s amazing. While it took me a while to get used to the shortness of comic books, it’s really just a wonderful story for anyone who reads. The collection even ends on a one-shot story about Rudyard Kipling that really impressed me. Definitely pick it up!

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