The School Library Journal's Top 100 Children's Novels #77
Title: The City of Ember (Books of Ember #1)
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Genre: Children's Fiction (ages 10 and up); Fantasy; Futuristic
The Recipe: (from Goodreads) 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.
The Frosting and Sprinkles: Overall, I enjoyed reading The City of Ember. Despite some flaws, it is a good story and I found it intriguing and exciting. It didn't take me long to read it because I wanted to know how it ends.
The book focuses on two middle schoolers, Lina and Doon-they are very unique from each other, but both likeable characters. They are courageous children, but their flaws are also evident, making them relateable and interesting.
DuPrau addresses the ideas/themes of dystopia, the dangers of group-think, and political and human corruption on a middle grade age-appropriate level.
The ending was open-ended and not quite resolved, but filled with hope. I still enjoyed it and then found out there are actually 3 more books, so I look forward to reading those at some point int he future.
The Hair That Fell Into the Batter: The City of Ember has a few flaws, but they did not hinder my enjoyment of the story. There are some loose ends that leave the reader having to suspend their belief a little more than fantasy and futuristic novels usually require-mostly because they are questions of logic.
For example, why is no one trained in how to fix the generator? If the Builders of the city were so smart, why did they not train people on specifics instead of giving them vague directions to blindly follow? I mean, what if the generator just broke before their planned 200 years of it working? Also, why did they leave the biggest key to survival of the human race in the hands of politicians? They were escaping an Apocalypse-they certainly would've have known politicians can't be trusted! And, finally, it's hard to believe that not one of the people chosen to go down to the city and raise babies ever told "their children" about their lives before Ember. It's the nature of humans-we can't keep our mouths shut.
Despite these examples, I still enjoyed the story and was able to ignore them for the time.
3 Out of 5 Cupcakes!
(I liked it)