Shades of grey was a bit more difficult to be pulled into than Fforde's other novels I've enjoyed (I've read both the Thursday Next series and the Nursery Crimes books). The dry wit and "clever" conversation between father and son in much of the beginning of the book was tiring. I also had trouble following some of the basic plot points FForde was trying to lay out for readers as his characters discussed the finer points of a caste system determined by the colors one can perceive. Things picked up midway through the novel though, and once they got interesting, they never fell back down. As soon as I was invested in the characters I wanted answers. Why can people only see part of the color spectrum? What happened to take society from pre color caste to post? Fforde takes readers to a cliffhanger ending and now I sit, waiting impatiently for the next novel in what I hope is a long series.
Whenever Martin Wallace designs a new game, I am all over it. This is because I absolutely love Brass Birmingham (another MW designed game); in fact Brass Birmingham is my #1 board game of all time. Over the years, his other games I've tried have been pretty good, but not necessarily amazing must-buys. Still, I keep trying each new release of his, searching for that next star performer. That's why I'm excited to report that Anno 1800 is, in fact, a star performer, and an amazing must-buy board game. Anno 1800 was adapted by the publisher (Kosmos) from a Ubisoft video game of the same name. In the board game, players take on the role of industrialists, charged with developing their island economies and exploring other islands. Each player begins the game with a personal industry board with trade & exploration ships, a shipyard, and industrial goods tiles printed on the board. A starting collection of workers (wooden cubes) of various types to produce the goods is a