Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Joel N. Ross
In this version of the future, a deadly white mist covers the earth except for the highest mountain peaks. Wealthy families rule the liveable parts of the world, while others like Chess and his friends struggle to make ends meet by diving into the fog and finding things to sell. Chess has an unusual ability to see through the fog, but soon he learns that his ability has a dark secret and Lord Kodoc, one of the rulers of the sky they float through on airships, will do anything to get Chess in his possession. To save the people he cares about, Chess uses his ability to find a treasure that will help them get to a place with a brighter future and to fight off their enemies.
The world building in this book is fantastic. Part futuristic and park steampunk, the book has great mentions about their ideas of what our technology and pop culture might be remembered as, and the explanation of how the fog takes over fits with something that could be a logical future of the earth. In this world, the kids believe that Hello Kitties are real animals that are supposed to be extinct and Burger King was once a religious icon, adding some humor to the futuristic setting. The friendships between the characters and the strengths of the individuals makes the book even stronger. This book’s setting is a wonderful addition and change from the usual post-apocalyptic books and sets up a wonderful adventure for middle grade readers.