The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau


The Story:

“There is so much darkness in Ember, Lina. It’s not just outside, it’s inside us, too. Everyone has some darkness inside. It’s like a hungry creature. It wants and wants and wants with a terrible power. And the more you give it, the bigger and hungrier it gets.”

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?

My Thoughts: 

★★★  2.5/5 stars.

Whenever I had this book out with me, people would constantly tell me how much they loved this book. I knew this book had a bit of a cult following, yet I was pretty disappointed in it.

The writing left a lot to be desired. I could rant about this, but just because a book is written for children, does NOT mean the writing has to be childish. Plenty of books avoid this issue, but I saw it numerous time. Each time my skin crawled when it said something like “it was a bad thing.”

The characters felt lacking, as well. They were one-dimensional with zero complexity. The antagonist was just “evil” in the sense that there was nothing more to him/her. The only character who showed maybe a two-dimension quality was Lizzie, but even then, her character one appeared in a couple of scenes.

The world had minuscule world-building. I wanted more, but I was left feeling unsatisfied. What did the city look as a whole? How did the “sky” look? How did most things look?

The plot holes and suspension of belief were the biggest issues for me. Seriously, no one questioned anything for 250+ years? Impossible. Also, how could it end in that way? It was too much of a coincidence, and it seemed forced in a way.

I promise I am finished with my ranting. Besides the above points that I make, the moral of the story is worth the read for children. Question everything, and not every authority figure morally selfless or in the right. I think if I would have read this as I child, I would have appreciated ten times more. However, here we are, and I still cannot excuse its exposes.

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