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… (Goodreads)
The Fog Diver was a fun, middle-grade, dystopian novel. I think I first saw it on Book Outlet and was intrigued by the cover and title so I placed it on my TBR. When I saw it on display at my library, I checked it out and was hooked on the story as soon as I started reading. I mean, there was no way I could turn away from a story that begins with this —
“My name is Chess, and I was born inside a cage.”
— and tumbles into crazy adventures that have the characters diving into thick fog with no idea where they’ll end up (an open field or smashed into a building) and trying to outrun mutineers and escape government officials.
I had a lot of fun reading this one and actually chuckled a couple times at the jokes. Since the story is set in the future, there were lots of funny moments where the characters would misunderstand how a word was used, like spelling bee, or how a certain activity was done in the past (our present); for example golf, which they reasoned as a game played with a cudgel and egg while milling grain. Lol! It sounds weird here, and it is weird in the book too, but it’s so funny.
Basically, they don’t know much about the past (our present) and must instead rely on a scrapbook that Chess’s father created that’s not very accurate. Chess is our protagonist and the story is told from his perspective. Whenever I read about him diving through the fog, it made me think of skydiving, daring and fun!
I liked the characters and loved that the cast is diverse and that the captain, Hazel, is a Black girl who loves pretty things and dressing up but is also a great leader. Swedish, the pilot, is a worrywart and adds some humor to the stort as well. The only thing that irked me about the characters is that they sometimes use the youngest member of their crew, Bea (she’s so sweet!), as an excuse not to do certain things. I understand that this shows them as being considerate of each other and regarding their crew members as family, but Bea is mentioned as being the special one so much that I became annoyed by it. Even Bea became annoyed because she once told them not to use her as an excuse.
The story is quite fast-paced, making it a quick read, which I appreciated because the characters are chased for the majority of the story so the pace matches that. And the world building is quite interesting. I’d like to learn more about the fog, its origin was mentioned in this book, and see illustrations of the junkyards on the mountains since the junkyards float.
Another thing I loved was the airship battle at the end, which was pretty amazing in my mind. I usually don’t like dystopian novels, but I really enjoyed this one and I think part of the reason why is because it strikes me as steampunk though it’s set in the future. I think it’s because of how the main character’s airship is described. It doesn’t seem very advanced, though that makes sense since they got it from a junkyard.
It was a quick and fun and I highly recommend it especially to those who enjoy Rick Riordan’s books because the humor and emphasis on friendship and teamwork in this book reminds me of his Heroes of Olympus books but with better jokes. I’m surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did and I look forward to seeing what happens in the second novel, The Lost Compass.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
Though I’d buy it as a present for a kid.