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Fog & Fireflies


Readability Age Range



Year Published

Book Review

In Ogma’s world, only children can fend off a foul fog that threatens everyone over a certain age. And now this 14-year-old girl must also face an even larger danger: an all-powerful wizard.

Plot Summary

Only children walk the wall.

After a long-ago war between some all-powerful beings, the world has been scarred. Were those combatants wizards? Gods? Demons? No one is completely certain. They only have stories that tell of a horrible yesterday and warn of a dangerous today and tomorrow.

Those dangers are made real by an ever-present, deadly fog that terrifies through unnerving whispers, eerie visions and grasping tendrils in the night. For some reason, though, that swirling shroud can be dispelled with a child’s presence.

So the village kids learn to be fearless. While adults hide, the children protect. They take shifts, from age 5 and up, walking the walls. They ring their bells in the night to stay in touch and they keep the blanketing mist from spilling in.

Ogma, now 14 seasons old, isn’t the strongest or the bravest of those protectors, but she knows her role. And she fulfills it with everything she has.

One fearsome night, though, it isn’t fog that Ogma and the others must face, but shadow-faced men dressed in multicolored cloaks. Those muscular abductors steal over the village walls to snatch up any child they can lay their malevolent hands on.

The young defenders fight. Some prevail. Most do not. For only children walk the wall. Young Ogma isn’t one to back down or quail when faced with the impossible, though. She fights back with every ounce of strength and every bit of cunning she has developed in her 14 short seasons.

When it’s all over, she’s helped some. She even chases the wagons into the fog. But in the end, she is exhausted, battered and lost. She finds that she’s far beyond the village walls that only children walk.

As Ogma worries over how to help her kidnapped friends, two things become quickly clear. The fog is more enchanted than Ogma ever imagined. Not only does the magical murk threaten adults, it moves things. It moves entire villages in a moment.

It even moves … time.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

This is a world of fantasy magic. The adult-deadly fog is never fully explained, but it appears to be the after-effect of some foul enchantment gone awry. Ominous and gruesome creatures appear briefly in the murk before being dispelled. And people both young and old hear creepy whispers that try to entice them.

The Caravanners are a travelling group of not-quite-human performers and tradesmen who show up at the various isolated villages when the fog dissipates for a short period. These beings are also creatures seemingly transformed by this magical world. For example, they craft and use special charms and talismans. One of their number is an enlivened, human-sized porcelain doll; another looks like a mix of a man and an owl: and a pair of undefined, shadowy puppeteers move a wagon in the guise of a large wickerwork horse.

Ogma also meets several god-like characters with great magical power. One is a forgetful wizard who has the power to extinguish the sun, for instance. Another is a huge and powerful headless monster that smells out its victims with nostrils located on its palm. Etc. One of those powerful god-figures wants Ogma to, in a sense, stay and worship her. “Just say you will stay with me. Mine is a good heaven,” she tells the teen.

Someone Ogma knows steals away the name of one of the above-mentioned god-like characters through a magical talisman and uses that entity’s power to create a corrupt army of puppeteers.

Ogma never casts or uses any form of magic, but she is impacted by it, and fights against it, throughout the story.

Authority Roles

Ogma falls in with a group of Caravanners who rescue her from a very perilous situation. And they, in some ways, become parental figures in her life. They don’t ask her outright to join their group, but they do praise her for her efforts, ingenuity and choices. They also go out of their way to protect and aid her. And Ogma, who’s an orphan, is surprised by the feelings that those sometimes-simple responses raise in her.

Ogma’s fellow village kids are a family unit for her as well. They all rally together and sacrifice regularly for one another. And even when Ogma faces trials that would be easier if she were to justifiably turn away from one of that group, she puts her life on the line to save everyone she can.

Profanity & Violence

There’s no foul language in this story. But there is alcohol shared during a village celebration. An adult gets drunk and we’re told that she screams an undefined profanity.

A number of creepy and perilous moments take place throughout the tale. Early on, for example, frightening creatures attempt to materialize out of the fog and attack people:

“Then a greater phantom came, tall as a siege engine. It stretched four great arms, growling from a lion’s head as other bestial faces burst from its neck like tumors.”

We hear of some people dying. One teen is pushed off the high village wall, for instance, and falls to his death below. A young man is impaled by his own spear while trying to fight off a large beast. The story tells us of the doctor stitching up the bloody aftermath. A young girl is hit in the temple by a metal hook and knocked senseless. We hear that her motor functions are impaired by this vicious blow. A giant gnarled monster smashes a wagon and manhandles several people, trying to rip the face off of one. That woman is left with large gashes on her face. Etc.

Sexual Content

There is a light attraction between Ogma and a young, wounded guy named Duncan, whose life she saves.

Discussion Topics

Ogma is a person who repeatedly tries to do right by others. She doesn’t always make the right choice, but she tries to be a leader and fight for others. Have you ever been faced with decisions of that sort? What did you do?

Take a look at Proverbs 24:11. What do you think that verse means? Can it apply to the choices you make in your daily life?

Ogma also went out of her way to help Wheeler, a guy who made some very bad choices. What did you think about her actions at the time? How do you think God would have you react in a similar situation?

What was your favorite part of this story? Did you like the book?

Additional Comments

Fog & Fireflies is an exciting fantasy adventure that’s also nerve-wracking and dark at times. It encourages young readers with the idea of growing beyond their years, reaching out to people they’re uncomfortable with, and making brave choices for the sake of others.

Parents should note, however, that there are also monstrous and powerful beings (wizards?) in this dark-magic tale. And there’s violence and perilous situations to work through.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not necessarily their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Review by Bob Hoose