The Fog Diver - Joel Ross

Review for…

The Fog Diver (The Fog Diver #1) by Joel Ross

A deadly white mist has cloaked the earth for hundreds of years. Humanity clings to the highest mountain peaks, where the wealthy Five Families rule over the teeming lower slopes and rambling junkyards. As the ruthless Lord Kodoc patrols the skies to enforce order, thirteen-year-old Chess and his crew scavenge in the Fog-shrouded ruins for anything they can sell to survive.

Hazel is the captain of their salvage raft: bold and daring. Swedish is the pilot: suspicious and strong. Bea is the mechanic: cheerful and brilliant. And Chess is the tetherboy: quiet and quick…and tougher than he looks. But Chess has a secret, one he’s kept hidden his whole life. One that Lord Kodoc is desperate to exploit for his own evil plans. And even as Chess unearths the crew’s biggest treasure ever, they are running out of time...

I liked how the plot was very clearly presented from the beginning, find a way to get the ailing Mrs. E to the cure, and each chapter was like an obstacle to be overcome, instead of jerking the kids from one unknown to the next. Everything was something they could actually handle, but there was also a real sense of danger with the cliffs surrounding the city they live in and the ramshackle slum that are hanging by a thread and the omnipresent fear of the fog. What great world building! It seemed magical and mysterious at first, but it’s actually a clever way to think about the future! Of course it is almost like the robots rising up trope, but an interesting and timely take on it.

Cover art by Matt Rockefeller

Chess, our protagonist, is born unique and nearly invincible in a post-apocalyptic world ruined for most by the very technology that was meant to save humanity. He’s a little hard to read into aside from his devotion to Mrs. E, the woman who raised him from squalor to earn a living with his friends. The team they’re apart of, salvaging odd bits value from a ruined civilization, worked so well together and were lead by a very capable, if young, leader named Hazel. (I think Chess might have a crush on her, but I don’t like pushing suspicions around. It might be subtext, it might be nothing.)

Man, I love that cover art. Click the image to read some about it on Matt Rockefeller's blog.

I feel like I learned something valuable about middle-grade fiction with this book. This was an adventure with a rip-roaring pace, it seldom felt like we had a moment to catch up before something else was being built onto what we already knew. It meant that as I got close to the ending, I didn’t want to put it down. There wasn’t time to get bogged down in detail. It was also really funny.

I can’t wait to read the sequel in this duology. So much more world to look forward to.

Pages: 332
Year: 26 May 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins

Read: 18 September 2017 to 23 September 2017
Stars: 4 (really liked it)