The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

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Title: The City of Ember (Book of Ember, #1)

Author: Jeanne DuPrau

Published By: Yearling (2004)

Synopsis: Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked…but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all—the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness…

But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them? (Taken from Goodreads)


While the reading level was probably for a bit younger age, I found it not to be a hindrance at all to my enjoyment of this thrilling tale. The characters were well developed, and the writing extremely compelling. I read it in nearly one sitting, I couldn’t wait to see what came next!

On the downside, I found the plot very predictable and everything happened just right for the characters to get where they needed to go, do what they needed to do, etc. Every single time I wondered, “How’re they gonna do that?” something “magically” showed up to help them—though, to be fair, if it hadn’t, I would have felt disappointed, for of course I’m rooting for the characters to succeed! I just thought there might have been a better way to give the characters what they needed than having it just appear right at the right time.

Otherwise, the story was, like I’ve said, extremely compelling and full of mystery.  Some people have been comparing this to The Giver—one of my favorites of all time—and saying it copied some of the elements, and I can agree with that, but on a different level. While a lot of the concepts also were in the Giver—a society away from other life to be “safe”; assignments given at age 12; and their escape to the true world—the plotline varied so differently from the Giver that it was hard, at least for me, to notice.

Negative Content:



The City of Ember was done beautifully. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a quality dystopian story.

Rating: 5.0

Recommended to: Ages 8 and up


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