Friday, May 1, 2009

Review: The City of Ember

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

4 stars

Reasons for reading: it's next month's pick for our kids' book club

Description: "The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever!"

First line: "When the city of Ember was just built and not yet inhabited, the chief builder and the assistant builder, both of them weary, sat down to speak of the future."

My thoughts: I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would! I read it for book club and had heard it was a good book, but didn't think it would be my style. But now I can't wait to read the second book in the series and find out how the heck these people ended up in Ember and what they're going to do now!

The novel is very atmospheric - Ember is very dim and claustrophobic. The constant threat of the lights going out forever weighs heavily on the people and while I think the reader guesses the secret of Ember long before Lina and Doon figure it out, you spend a lot of the novel wondering what on earth is happening to this strange place.

Lina and Doon are very brave in the face of a corrupt government and a populace that doesn't understand how much danger they're in. I was definitely rooting for them, sometimes with bated breath, and I can't wait to see how they'll handle the next chapter in their suddenly completely changed lives.


Ady Grafovna said...

What grade level does this best suit?

tinylittlelibrarian said...

I would say grades 5-7. The kids in our book club are 10-12 and our library just added it to our grade six recommended reads booklist.

Nely said...

I recently started reading this series myself and have gotten all the way through the third (which sadly, I didn't like very much). I still want to read the fourth one though. Great review.

♥ Nely

tinylittlelibrarian said...

Thanks! Oh no, I'm sorry to hear the third didn't float your boat, that doesn't bode well. But I do find that with series sometimes - it's sometimes hard to keep the reader's interest after the intial couple of books.