The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

July 13, 2011
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“‘They must not leave the city for at least two-hundred years,’ said the chief builder. ‘And when the time comes,’ said the assistant, ‘how will they know what to do?’ ‘We’ll provide them with instructions, of course,’ the chief builder replied. ‘We’ll put them in a box with a timed lock, set to open on the proper date.’ The box ended up in the back of a closet, shoved behind some old bags and bundles. There it sat, unnoticed, year after year, until its time arrived, and the lock quietly clicked open.”

The citizens of Ember know that their beloved city was established by the builders long ago, although they have no idea how, or why. They live in complete darkness, except for the streetlights and lamps in their homes that are powered by an underground generator. After discovering what seems like important instructions for something, Lina Mayfleet and her friend Doon Harrow find themselves in the middle of an adventure that will test their loyalty and friendship, while uncovering the secrets that the parched old document holds.
The City of Ember is an intriguing, fast-paced, suspenseful novel that gives the reader a clear sense of the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and positions. Although close in genre and length to Jeanne DuPrau’s other Ember novels, The City of Ember is more attention-grabbing, in that it is the primary book in the Ember series, and the reader is only being first acquainted with the characters and the theme. It keeps the reader’s attention and their desire to keep going, plus the fact that everything is explained very thoroughly, and it is easy for the reader to understand what the character is going through.
Jeanne DuPrau describes the city of Ember so that a mental picture is trapped in the mind’s eye and will not let go. “In the city of Ember, the sky was always dark. The only light came from the great flood lamps mounted on the buildings and at the top of poles.” She writes in an enthralling and dynamic way, so that even the dialogue is intriguing. “’It wasn’t there.’ she said sadly. ‘What wasn’t?’ [asked Lina.] ‘It was lost a long time ago,’ said Granny. ‘My Father told me about it.’”
The author forces you to feel the way the character is feeling, and experience what they are experiencing. “It wasn’t the unfairness [Lina] was thinking of. It was that just two people were getting things that everyone would’ve wanted. She couldn’t think of how it should be done. You couldn’t divide a can of applesauce among all the people in the city. Still, something was wrong with grabbing the good things because you could. [Lina] remembered the hunger she’d felt when Looper showed her the colored pencils. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. She didn’t want to want things that way.”
I would recommend this book to anyone, especially those who enjoy feeling like the science fiction they are reading is authentic. Both boys and girls will be absorbed in Jeanne DuPrau’s style of writing, and love every word.





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Noni3280 said...
Dec. 22, 2011 at 4:38 am
I loved the movie so much, i bet the book is heaps better. Love this review! It's perfect!
 
LifeWrite This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm
Thanks so much - I appreciate your comment! :D
 
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