City of Ember - review

The City of Ember - Jeanne DuPrau

“Father," said Doon as they hurried along, "the mayor is a fool, don't you think?"

For a moment his father didn't answer. Then he said, "He's in a tough spot, son. What would you have him do?"

"Not lie, at least," Doon said. "If he really has a solution, he should have told us. He shouldn't pretend he has solutions when he doesn't."

Doon's father smiled. "That would be a good start," he agreed.”

-from the book


Lina & Doon are in the same class at school. When the students turn 12, they pick a job out of a hat. When Lina draws Pipeworks laborer, she is very upset. She does not want to be underground all day. Doon draws messenger and asks Lina to trade. He wants to work with the generator to try to figure out how to fix things. See, the only light in Ember comes from the streetlights, the generator is failing and the city of Ember is running low on supplies. When the Builders built Ember, they left instructions in a locked box, with a timer, designed to open at the right time. But, over the years, the box has been misplaced. When Lina's little sister, Poppy finds the Instructions, she chews on the paper and by the time Lina gets to it, well, most of the words and letters are missing. Trying to figure out the puzzle leads Lina and Doon on an adventure.


I think I would describe this book as just ok. I definitely didn't love it. The world building was tedious and did not hold my attention at all. It took so long for Lina to discover that there was a puzzle to solve and then to figure something out. It seemed like it took forever for them to find the door. Then I was excited to see them figure out the backstory. Why were they all brought to Ember, many generations ago? Where exactly is Ember? What major event made the Builders decided to build Ember?


Well, when the end came, I have to say it was disappointing. I felt like the author really let me down. If there had been a really cool explanation or backstory, maybe I would have read the next book in the series. But, there wasn't, so I'm done. My 11-year old son wasn't thrilled with the book either. At first he said he liked it, but I think he just didn't want to disappoint me. By the last quarter of the book, even he admitted it was boring.


Recommended to:

I guess if you go into the book knowing that the escape is the end and there is no backstory or big reveal, then you might like it. Or maybe I just missed the whole point?