Title: City of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Publisher: Yearling Books
Lina is twelve years old and eagerly looking forward to her assignment. When she picks Pipeworks, she’s dismayed. The last thing she wants is to be stuck underground all day, fixing pipes. She’s even more disheartened when Doon, a classmate, picks Messenger, the best job, and throws a fit… until he offers to trade. Now Lina has the job of her dreams, running around the city of Ember and delivering messages all day. Sure, time are rough; there shortages of everything from food to clothes and the power goes off all the time, leaving the entire city in total darkness. But the mayor will know what to do, right?
Then, Lina discovers a box in her apartment that contains a message. It’s been ruined, but she can tell it’s important. Together, she and Doon work to decipher the message and find a way to save the city of Ember for good.
This was an interesting book with a fascinating concept. It’s a children’s book, so there are things that were very obvious to me that may be a surprise to a kid. I think I was also spoiled for part of it by my mother, who recommended the book for me, too, but that didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book.
I liked the character of Lina. She’s twelve years old and she reads like a twelve year old. A lot of time, it seems like young characters read a lot older, but she was believably her age. I like that she wanted nothing more than to run around all day, delivering messages. I also liked her love of drawing. Doon read as slightly older to me, with his concern with the city and how it was failing and his seriousness. However, there are children who are serious and concerned about the world, so it wasn’t unbelievable.
I thought the plot was solid. Lian finds a message left by the Builders, but her baby sister chews on it so all that’s left are parts of words. I liked how Lian and Doon worked together to decipher the messaged, recognizing words parts and connecting them to the world.
The book ends on something of a cliffhanger, and it was intriguing enough for me to want to read the next book. I’m interested in seeing how the story unfolds.