Monday, February 3, 2020

15. The City of Ember

The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1) Jeanne DuPrau. 2003. 270 pages. [Source: Library] [futuristic; dystopia; mystery; series book]

First sentence: In the city of Ember, the sky was always dark.

Premise/plot: Lina and Doon have come of age—along with their classmates—and are ready to receive their work assignments. It’s a big day: the mayor himself is there to witness. Doon longs to draw a great assignment like electrician, to perhaps work on the big generator himself. Lina, well, she wouldn’t mind being a messenger and running around the city every day. Could there be a more important job for a kid than helping to keep Ember’s residents in touch with each other?! Doon gets the job messenger; Lina gets a job in the Pipeworks. Eew! Fortunately these two are friendly and eager to trade jobs. If Ember wasn’t a dying city perhaps they’d have little contact with each other. But. Ember is dying. Doon is observant, not gullible, and doesn’t believe the propaganda put out by the mayor. Lina comes to believe Don’s instinct is right. She happens to find a typed official looking document that might be of great importance. The problem? It’s a little chewed up thanks to Poppy—Lina’s baby sister. But she has salvaged some of it and is prepared to solve the puzzle. Could this document be the salvation the community needs? Or will it cost her her freedom or even her life? Doon and Lina will have to work together to solve the mystery before Ember loses its power forever.

My thoughts: I love and adore this book. It’s one of my absolute favorites to reread. I love the alternating narratives. I love both Doon and Lina. I love the glimpses of life in Ember. We are given hints here and there, but not a huge info dump. We learn about this world as we experience it, not a big history lesson. I do wonder what it would have been like to live in Ember when it was new and thriving. I actually think it would be a great video game, to play out a generation or two in Ember...before playing the events of the book. This world fascinates me.

© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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