Review of THE DIAMOND OF DARKHOLD by JEANNE DUPRAU
(fourth BOOK OF EMBER)
The first two BOOKS OF EMBER followed Lina and Doon and then the third backtracked, serving as a prequel with a new cast. For the fourth book, we return to familiar characters. The two towns decided to work together at the end of THE PEOPLE OF SPARKS. Now, in THE DIAMOND OF DARKHOLD, Doon has reason to believe they missed an essential mystery on their way out of Ember, so he and Lina head back towards their abandoned cave city.
I've enjoyed all the books in this series, but none held my attention like the first. There's that "putdownable" quality. (A word that only exists among avid readers.) I found myself happily returning to the latter three books, but only THE CITY OF EMBER kept calling me back from other tasks.
Some characters in DIAMOND feel a little caricature, but Lina and Doon (among others) always stand out as believable people and keep me invested. Mostly, I'm thinking of the Troggs right now. An imaginative reader can fill in convincing backstories, mindsets, motivations, etc., but from what appears in the book they didn't satisfy me.
While the whole story's entertaining, I particularly loved the ending. DuPrau not only resolves the mystery of the diamond, but concludes this series with the perfect note and tone.