Imagine if you lived in a city where the only light came from an underground electric generator, and all around you was the dark unknown. And now imagine that the generator was slowly dying, and your city was running out of supplies. That’s exactly the situation that the citizens of the City of Ember from Jeanne DuPrau’s novel find themselves in. That’s when two teens – Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow – discover a clue that might be the key to saving their home. It’s a fast-paced, puzzle solving, dystopian, escape story set in the fascinating dark world of Ember.
I picked this book off the shelf when I went book hunting a few weeks ago. I’d heard of The City of Ember before, but I had confused it with another book and thought it was a supernatural romance novel. After reading the summary on the inside of the front cover, I realized my mistake. I added it to my stack, and brought it home with me. I ended up loving the story way more than I thought I would.
I was completely taken in by the unique setting of The City of Ember in a way that I wasn’t expecting. The darkness around the safe, light-filled city added an air of mystery to the novel, leaving the reader wondering why the earth was so dark and what happened to the sunlight.
Just like the setting, the characters in this novel were interesting and unique. The main protagonist, Lina, was sympathetic and mature. I liked the way she took care of her little sister Poppy and her grandmother. I thought Lina had a personality all her own, and was an original character. The other protagonist, Doon, also felt very round and real. He was different from Lina, willing to take more risks, such as standing up to the mayor at the beginning of the novel. Doon was also like Lina in the fact that he wasn’t a whiny kid, but was mature enough to want to fix Ember’s generator and help save the city.
I also really liked the way Ms. DuPrau designed “The Instructions.” Doon and Lina had to first piece together “The Instructions” and then follow them, both of which were very believable. I liked that at first, they guessed wrong about the word at the top, reinforcing the idea that they were just normal kids. I can’t say any more because I don’t want to give it all away!
All in all, I loved The City of Ember. I’m glad I was wrong about it being a supernatural romance novel, and that I was able to read it! I’m especially glad that there’s a whole series of books about Ember to enjoy. I can’t wait to find out what happens to Lina, Doon, and Poppy! If you’re looking for a unique take on a dystopian story, I’d definitely recommend this novel.