Dystopia Reading Project

By: Grant Holmes

The Author Joel Ross

He lives in Santa Barbara, California. He has a wife, and a son. He has written other books including White Flag Down.



The exposition of the story starts with Chess and his misfit family (all orphans who have been adopted by Mrs. E, who is now terribly sick) explaining how they search through "the Fog" looking for lost treasures to sell so they can smuggle themselves and Mrs. E off the mountain. Chess and his family live in the slums of a post-apocalyptic world, a world where the Fog has consumed most of Earth so humans are forced to live in the mountains to avoid it. The mountains are controlled by the Five Families, and Chess and his family are forced to live in the slums.

In the rising action Chess discovers their way off the slums and to a place where they can save Mrs. E. He found a diamond, and a big one, big enough to buy a smuggle ship. However, Lord Kadoc, a ruthless member of the Five Families has heard of Chess's ability to dive in the fog and is now searching for them.

In the climax, Chess and his family have gotten off the mountain only to be faced by Lord Kadoc's warship. In a chase to get to the other mountain, Chess gives himself to Kadoc to save his friends, however he has a plan. Standing up to the very man he is most afraid of he kicks Kadoc and jumps off his airship to try to catch a tether to his smuggler ship in mid air.

In the Falling Action, Chess is falling through the Fog towards the tether and harpoons shooting at him, in the chaos he is finally able to get over his fear of Kadoc, he realizes that Kadoc is just a man and that he has no control over him.

In the resolution, Chess catches the tether, and is pulled onto the ship. Kadoc retreats, and Chess and his friends make it to Port Oro.


  • Chess
  • Mrs. E
  • Beatrice
  • Hazel
  • Sweedish
  • Lord Kadoc


Description of Dystopian World
  • Scientists had invented a technology to get rid of the smog on Earth, however it also saw humans as a pollution and has now driven humanity to the mountains.
  • The government is now a tyrannical rule by the Five Families, where through propaganda portrays the image of a perfect world, it's far from it with most of the humans living in the slums, slowly dieing from poisoning from the fog.
Dystopian Controls
  • Technological Control: Lord Kadoc is looking for a way to use the Fog to control society, more than the Five Families already do. If someone is allowed to control the Fog they can make people follow their rule.
Dystopian Protagonist
  • Chess lives in a world where he feels trapped, and he believes that what Lord Kadoc is doing, kidnapping kids to dive and search for a mystical machine that controls the Fog is wrong. He knows that if Lord Kadoc gets that machine he will use it to control society. He makes people notice the slums because the nobility is so self-centered.

Personal Review

I would give this book an 8.5 out of 10. I gave it this because while it was an interesting topic, and mostly well written, the ending felt rushed and a bit out of place.