Monday, November 5, 2012


(first Book of Ember, based on a review copy)

THE CITY OF EMBER opens with an intriguing prologue. The dramatic irony leaves the reader wondering how on earth the characters will ever figure out this mysterious, long lost secret. Prospects don't look good.

DuPrau introduces readers to this world with the immersion approach. No info dumps in these pages. Instead the alternating perspectives of preteens Lina and Doon establish that this world differs from our own - might be futuristic, potentially even post-apocalyptic. For starters, basic words confound Lina and Doon when they stumble across "old stuff." The characters interpret the words "heaven" and "tree," among many others, as nothing more than nonsense. Also their struggling city suffers from slim and rigorously rationed resources and supplies, yet no one ever ventures outside of Ember. Pitch-black, constant darkness coats everything outside. In one amusing, revealing scene, Lina colors the sky blue in a drawing, since she only has a blue pencil, and then muses how funny it would be to have a blue the sky; everyone knows the sky is black.

The crux of the story, though, narrows in on the city's problematic blackouts, increasing in frequency and length. Panic spreads that one time the lights won't come on again and the city will be forever plunged into dense darkness. Doon in particular rages at the apathy of everyone around him. He's determined to find a way to save Ember before it's too late. Lina, though, might possess their first clue.

This book is a fun, fast read with a stellar ending that completely satisfies, but still left me eager to start the next book ASAP.

1 comment:

  1. This whole series was a ton of fun. I liked the direction she takes the books in. Did you see the movie? It was pretty cute, and stayed admirably consistent with the books.